Judges and Terrorism

When reading through Judges, please consider especially chapters 13-16 There are several well-known episodes in the book of Judges, but perhaps none has drawn more attention recently than the account of Samson.   Samson’s calling as a Nazarite leader, his strength, his struggle with women, and his eventual death must evoke some level of ambivalence in the post-September 11 biblical reader.  

As Samson dies, he cries out, “O Lord God! Please remember me, and give me strength just this once, O God, to take revenge of the Philistines, if only for one of my two eyes.” The text then valorizes the fact that, in his final act of destruction, more people died than Samson had killed in his entire life.

What is the message this episode is attempting to convey? How does it serve the overarching ideology and theology of Judges?  What is the overall theology and ideology of Judges?

Does living in the post-September 11 era change the way we read the account of Samson? How do we explain Samson’s act in a world where people kill themselves and others in the name of God all the time?

Can we draw comparisons between what Samson does in this scene and modern Jihad warriors?

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About Andrew Battista

Andrew Battista is Librarian for Geospatial Information Systems at New York University
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