Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning
Page: 53Towards the end of his career, Samson's eyes are put out. Even here, the Hebrew writes with a singular fidelity to the old mythical speech. The tender light of evening is blotted out by the dark vapors; the light of the Sun is quenched in gloom. Samson's eyes are put out.
Œdipus, whose history resembles that of Samson and Hercules in many respects, tears out his eyes, towards the end of his career. In other words, the Sun has blinded himself. Clouds and darkness have closed in about him, and the clear light is blotted out of the heaven.[72:5]
The final act, Samson's death, reminds us clearly and decisively of the Phenician Hercules, as Sun-god, who died at the Winter Solstice in the furthest West, where his two pillars are set up to mark the end of his wanderings.
Samson also died at the two pillars, but in his case they are not the Pillars of the World, but are only set up in the middle of a great banqueting-hall. A feast was being held in honor of [Pg 73]Dagon, the Fish-god; the Sun was in the sign of the Waterman, Samson, the Sun-god, died.[73:1]
The ethnology of the name of Samson, as well as his adventures, are very closely connected with the Solar Hercules. "Samson" was the name of the Sun.[73:2] In Arabic, "Shams-on" means the Sun.[73:3] Samson had seven locks of hair, the number of the planetary bodies.[73:4]
The author of "The Religion of Israel," speaking of Samson, says:
"The story of Samson and his deeds originated in a Solar myth, which was afterwards transformed by the narrator into a saga about a mighty hero and deliverer of Israel. The very name 'Samson,' is derived from the Hebrew word, and means 'Sun.' The hero's flowing locks were originally the rays of the sun, and other traces of the old myth have been preserved."[73:5]
Prof. Oort says:
"The story of Samson is simply a solar myth. In some of the features of the story the original meaning may be traced quite clearly, but in others the myth can no longer be recognized. The exploits of some Danite hero, such as Shamgar, who 'slew six hundred Philistines with an ox-goad' (Judges iii. 31), have been woven into it; the whole has been remodeled after the ideas of the prophets of later ages, and finally, it has been fitted into the framework of the period of the Judges, as conceived by the writer of the book called after them."[73:6]
Again he says:
"The myth that lies at the foundation of this story is a description of the sun's course during the six winter months. The god is gradually encompassed by his enemies, mist and darkness. At first he easily maintains his freedom, and gives glorious proofs of his strength; but the fetters grow stronger and stronger, until at last he is robbed of his crown of rays, and loses all his power and glory. Such is the Sun in Winter. But he has not lost his splendor forever. Gradually his strength returns, at last he reappears; and though he still seems to allow himself to be mocked, yet the power of avenging himself has returned, and in the end he triumphs over his enemies once more."[73:7]
Other nations beside the Hebrews and Greeks had their "mighty men" and lion-killers. The Hindoos had their Samson. His name was Bala-Rama, the "Strong Rama." He was considered by some an incarnation of Vishnu.[73:8]
Captain Wilford says, in "Asiatic Researches:"
"The Indian Hercules, according to Cicero, was called Belus. He is the same as Bala, the brother of Crishna, and both are conjointly worshiped at Mutra; indeed, they are considered as one Avatar or Incarnation of Vishnou. Bala is represented as a stout man, with a club in his hand. He is also called Bala-rama."[74:1]
There is a Hindoo legend which relates that Sevah had an encounter with a tiger, "whose mouth expanded like a cave, and whose voice resembled thunder." He slew the monster, and, like Hercules, covered himself with the skin.[74:2]
The Assyrians and Lydians, both Semitic nations, worshiped a Sun-god named Sandan or Sandon. He also was believed to be a lion-killer, and frequently figured struggling with the lion, or standing upon the slain lion.[74:3]
Ninevah, too, had her mighty hero and king, who slew a lion and other monsters. Layard, in his excavations, discovered a bas-relief representation of this hero triumphing over the lion and wild bull.[74:4]
The Ancient Babylonians had a hero lion-slayer, Izdubar by name. The destruction of the lion, and other monsters, by Izdubar, is often depicted on the cylinders and engraved gems belonging to the early Babylonian monarchy.[74:5]