Is This Coin Samson’s?

Does this coin found near Jerusalem prove that Samson lived… and that he  did fight the lion?

PUBLISHED:               11:58 GMT, 31 July 2012      | UPDATED:              11:59 GMT, 1  August 2012

Clue: Scholars say the scene shown on the artifact recalls the story in Judges of Samson fighting a lion

Clue: Scholars say the scene shown on the artifact  recalls the story in Judges of Samson fighting a lion

A tiny seal has been uncovered that could be the first archaeological evidence of Samson, the Biblical slayer of Philistines.

Archaeologists discovered the ancient  artifact while excavating the tell of Beit Shemesh in the Judaean Hills near  Jerusalem, Israel.

It appears to depict the Old Testament story  of Samson, whose might was undone by his  lust for the temptress Delilah, and his  fight with a lion.

The seal, which measures less than an inch in  diameter, shows a large animal with a feline tail attacking a human  figure.

The seal was discovered at a level of  excavation that dates it to roughly the 11th century BC, when Israelite tribes  had moved into the area after Joshua’s conquest of Canaan.

It was a time when the Jews were led by ad  hoc leaders known as judges, one of whom was Samson.

The location of the find was close to the  River Sorek that marked the boundary between the Israelites and their Philistine  foes, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The location also indicates that the figure  on the seal could represent Samson, according to Israeli archaeologists  Professor Shlomo Bunimovitz and Dr Zvi Lederman.

Beit Shemesh is regularly mentioned in the  Old Testament, most notably in chapter 6 of the book of Samuel I – the ruler of  Israel immediately after Samson – as being the first city encountered by the ark  of the covenant on its way back from Philistia after having been captured by the  Philistines in battle.

Find: The ruins of the ancient biblical city in the tell of Beit Shemesh, located near the modern city

Find: The ruins of the ancient biblical city in the tell  of Beit Shemesh, located near the modern city

Samson and the lion

The Israelite hero Samson, having been betrayed by Delilah and taken prisoner and blinded by the Philistines, regains his strength and brings the Temple of Dagon

Bible stories: Samson discovered his strength by  fighting a lion (left). Having been betrayed by Delilah and taken prisoner and  blinded by the Philistines, he regains his strength and brings down the Temple  of Dagon (right)

Alternatively, it suggests that tales of a  hero strong enough to fight a lion circulated at the time of the judges, one  that then morphed into the story of Samson.

One of the most compelling characters in the  Old Testament, Samson was said to have been given supernatural strength by God  to allow him to overcome his enemies

He discovered his strength when he was  accosted by a lion on his way to propose to a Philistine woman, killing it with  his bare hands.

More…

SAMSON IN POPULAR  CULTURE

Handel wrote his oratorio Samson in  1743.

Camille Saint-Saëns wrote an opera, Samson et  Dalila between 1868 and 1877.

John Milton wrote the play Samson Agonistes,  which contains the famous line ‘Eyeless in Gaze, at the mill with slaves’, in  reference to his time in captivity.

British rock band Procol Harum wrote a song  called As Strong as Samson.

Bob Marley’s song Rastaman Live Up contains  the line ‘Samson slew the Philistines with a donkey  jawbone’.

At the wedding, Samson infuriates the  Philistines by telling them a riddle. They threaten his new wife for the answer,  which she gives them. At this Samson flew into a rage and killed 30  Philistines.

He then goes on the run, and after being  chased to a cave in the rock of Etam he kills 1,000 more of the Philistines who  had come to capture him, using the jawbone of an ass.

He then falls in love with a woman, Delilah,  at the Brook of Sorek.

The Philistines approach Delilah and induce  her (with 1100 silver coins each) to try to find the secret of Samson’s  strength.

Samson, not wanting to reveal the secret,  teases her, telling her that he will lose his strength should he be bound with  fresh bowstrings.

She does so while he sleeps, but when he  wakes up he snaps the strings. She persists, and he tells her he can be bound  with new ropes.

She ties him up with new ropes while he  sleeps, and he snaps them, too.

She asks again, and he says he can be bound  if his locks are woven together.She weaves them together, but he undoes them  when he wakes.

Eventually Samson tells Delilah that he will  lose his strength with the loss of his hair.

Delilah calls for a servant to shave Samson’s  locks and he is captured by the Philistines,who blind him, taken to Gaza,  imprisoned, and put to work grinding grain.

He won redemption only in death when he  regained his strength one final time to bring the Temple of Dagon down on his  tormentors.

The ancient city of Beit Shemesh is regularly mentioned in the Bible. Its ruins lie near the modern city of the same name

The ancient city of Beit Shemesh is regularly mentioned  in the Bible. Its ruins lie near the modern city of the same name

Discovery: The coin was found by Professor Shlomo Bunimovitz (right) and Dr Zvi Lederman (left)

Discovery: The coin was found by Professor Shlomo  Bunimovitz (right) and Dr Zvi Lederman (left)

….

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2181404/Israeli-scholars-claim-uncovered-archaeological-evidence-Samson.html#ixzz2qzheJ7rj Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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