Thursday, September 22, 2011
DESIRED: The Story of Samson & Delilah releases in a couple of weeks. It’s my favorite novel I’ve written, but because the women of the story reveal so much heartache and hope. Samson’s mother, who is never named in the Bible, opens the book. We begin to understand what it’s like to raise the world’s most notorious prodigal son, and what it takes to believe God is good when the reality seems to be that our faith in God has only led us to disappointment. I was tickled to read the novel described as “jaw-droppingly honest.” I think faith grows best when people can air everything they feel and fear. There are times when we are tempted to believe all is lost, and God is not who we hoped. And while we all probably know what the end of Samson’s story is (which is like Hair-Meets-Titanic) I hope you find surprising revelations, courage and strength in the ending of the mother’s story. I know that I did.
Here are a few oddball facts I discovered while researching the book:
We’d like to think of Samson as a Fabio look-alike. He was probably more like a rogue member of ZZ Top with hair that dragged the ground. He would have been a strange sight. Stranger, too, to think this wild man was God’s choice for deliverance.
Delilah was no seductress. She is never accused, even by the biblical writers, of being one. She is, however, a nag. Seriously. Read the biblical account. She learns Samson’s secret by nagging him. She wears him down by pestering him. Perhaps this is why, when storytellers deviate from the biblical account, they paint her as an aloof temptress. It’s a shock to think the world’s strongest man was no match for a persistent woman. But then, most women already suspect that.
And finally, Samson killed dozens and dozens of men at a time. By hand. Or with crude implements. It would have been a full day’s work on some occasions, at least eight hours. Samson was scarier than we imagined, not sexier.
The real heroine in the story is the one woman who is never given a name. His mother. But I loved Delilah, too, because she was broken enough to betray the man who truly loved her.
So look for the book to hit your local bookstore or online retailer. I will be emailing updates of my signing schedule this fall, but I will be busy wrapping up the Jezebel novel, so I won’t be on the road as much as I’d like.
Until we meet,
Hi, Ginger –
I am currently reading your newest book and so far am enjoying it more than any of your previous ones. I will post a review when I’m finished, but wandered over here out of curiosity, and just wanted to make a couple of comments to your post about Samson.
As you mentioned, you depict Samson as having floor-length dreadlocks. Aside from the fact that this seems pretty gross , I highly doubt that it is accurate. It is almost unheard of for anyone’s hair to grow all the way to the floor, even if they’ve never cut it their entire life. Most people’s anagen phase stops hair growth at mid-back, or perhaps at the waist. In rare cases, hair may reach to mid-calf. Anything longer than that is so rare as to be almost unheard of, even freakish. It is most likely that Samson’s hair reached no farther than his waist (which would still have been freakishly long for a man in his culture).
Secondly, every artist and writer depicts Samson as a muscle-bound hunk. However, I think there are some clues in Scripture that indicate otherwise — he was probably just a slightly-more-muscular-than-average guy, not a Mr. Universe-on-steroids. For one thing, the Philistines and Delilah wanted to know the source of his great strenth. If he had had these huge muscles they wouldn’t have asked, they would have known — the source of his strength was his huge muscles. Second, when his hair was cut his strenth was instantly gone. So if he had these huge muscles, what happened to them — did they just instantly atrophy? But most important, the source of his strength was the spirit of God — not his physical build. The fact that he was a normal-sized guy who could do such amazing feats when the spirit of God was on him was what made him so amazing to everyone.
Of course, we don’t really know, but those are just my two cents’ worth.
Thanks for your two cents worth, Michele!
We don’t know the size of his muscles or the length of his hair. I didn’t feel obligated to create an accurate portrait of him physically, because no such thing exists. (Although I didn’t create him to be Mr. Universe on steriods, but just a well-built guy.) We can guess at what he looked like, and look at photos from men who never cut their hair, etc. That was enough for me, because I don’t think the heart of his story is in his appearance, beyond that it was a strange one to be sure. I’m convinced he was a sort of “Christ figure” in the story, an example of why strength alone can’t save anyone.
Isn’t the cover gorgeous, btw? I love all the red….
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