SAMSON'S HÎDÂ

in Vetus Testamentum
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Abstract

This article proposes a new interpretation of Judges xiv, the episode commonly referred to as Samson's riddle to the Philistines. I briefly demostrate that the traditional understanding of the exchange between Samson and the Philistines as a riddle is untenable. The correct interpretation is, I submit, that the exchange is a Greek skolion or "capping song" that are quite well-attested at wedding (and other) symposia. Building, in part, on a series of articles by O. Margalith in VT, I demostrate that the Greek cultural context is also key to understanding the wedding narrative as a whole, and leads to important conclusions concerning the redaction of the narrative, the literary figure of Samson and the semantic range of the term Hîdâ.

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