September 11, 2014

Riddlemasters (Judges 14)

Category: Bible - OT - Judges :: Permalink

In Judges 14 and again in Judges 15, we’re told that the Philistines were “ruling” over Israel.

Given the riddle contest in Judges 14, it’s interesting that the root of the word for “ruling” here (MShL) has a homophone — the exact same spelling, the exact same sound — that appears in other places and means “riddle, parable.”

Is there, perhaps, a play on words here? As Jeremy Schipper (“Narrative Obscurity of Samson’s [HiYDaH] in Judges 14.14 and 18,” JSOT 27.3 [2003] 339-353) points out, you could even render the lines in Judges 14 and 15 as “the Philistines were posing riddles over Israel.” But in Judges 14, it’s Samson who proves to be the true riddlemaster, with dominion over the Philistines.

Posted by John Barach @ 12:26 pm | Discuss (0)

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