Regina Spektor’s contribution to the underrepresented lyrical genre of speculative historical romance suggests, from the perspective of Delilah, that the story could have ended differently:

Samson came to my bed
Told me that my hair was red
Told me I was beautiful and came into my bed
Oh I cut his hair myself one night
A pair of dull scissors in the yellow light
And he told me that I’d done alright
And kissed me ’til the mornin’ light…

Samson went back to bed
Not much hair left on his head
Ate a slice of wonderbread and went right back to bed
Oh, we couldn’t bring the columns down
Yeah we couldn’t destroy a single one
And history books forgot about us
And the bible didn’t mention us, not even once…

I find it entirely plausible that Delilah’s best chance to solve the interpersonal problems in her relationship with Samson lay in eliminating his superhuman strength at a much earlier stage, to make him a character not worth writing about. Would Samson have been personally better off in the long run as an Israelite family man with a Philistine bride and a buzz cut? Possibly so, although it might have been a setback for the strategic objectives of his nation.

There are other figures in the scriptures who could have avoided their place in the story, for good or for ill. We might, for example, know of Cain only as Abel’s brother, with whom he traded several bushels of grain for a few sheep. On the other hand, we might have read in the Old Testament, “And the children of Israel of the tribe of Ephraim that were led away captive to Babylon were Lehi and all his household….” If he had lived to 85 years of age as a prosperous New England farmer, Joseph Smith could have avoided the jails of Liberty and Carthage, but he would not warrant so much as a footnote in local histories today.

When is obscurity the best possible outcome, and when is it a sin of omission?

7 comments for “Samson

  1. sol
    February 22, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Hmm, don’t have an answer to your question, but I do love Regina Spektor. I had put another meaning entirely to that song, but I like yours. Good post.

  2. TMD
    February 22, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    put differently, when is obscurity not selfish?

  3. Ardis Parshall
    February 22, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Well behaved men don’t make history either.

  4. February 23, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Ardis: Or well behaved women for that matter…

    I was wondering about this topic recently as well, I am sure God has a “best case scenario” all planned out for me which would essentially be what He would tell me to do if He were involved in every single decision I ever made. I don’t think it’s necessarily sinful to try and carve my own path with nominal input from Him… but where is the line drawn? At what point (if I am not blatantly commiting sins, of course) does my deviation from his prescribed purposes for my life become a sin?

  5. Ray
    February 24, 2008 at 10:17 am

    #3 – Nice, Ardis.

  6. Ray
    February 24, 2008 at 10:21 am

    1) When anonymity is noble and generous and the right thing. My father comes to mind right away.

    2) When it keeps one from fulfilling the measure of one’s creation.

  7. queuno
    February 26, 2008 at 4:03 am

    At what point (if I am not blatantly commiting sins, of course) does my deviation from his prescribed purposes for my life become a sin?

    I look at the parable of the talents. Is it a sin if we don’t maximize the full potential? And can we really maximize our full potential without a bit of micromanaging from the Lord?

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