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King Ahab/Jezebel and Samson/Delilah

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Charlotte Fater

on 7 October 2015

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Transcript of King Ahab/Jezebel and Samson/Delilah

King Ahab/Jezebel
The story: The Jewish King Ahab ruled over northern Israel, married a Sidonian woman named Jezebel and became involved in worshiping Baal because of her. Ahab built a house to Baal in the capital city of Samaria and made an Asherah pole as a tool of pagan worship. Jezebel convinced her husband to kill many of the prophets. One such prophet was Elijah, who they were unable to kill, and who predicted both their deaths and was eventually proved correct. Elijah predicted Ahab's blood would end up in the same place as Naboth's blood. Naboth was a man who had refused to give his vineyard to Ahab, so Jezebel orchestrated his murder.
How it's used
Allusions to Ahab and Jezebel in literature generally indicate a prediction of destruction or describes a pair of
immoral people.
One such example comes from Moby Dick, where the main character, Captain Ahab is eventually killed by the whale he's been chasing the whole book.
For both Ahabs, the destruction they cause eventually leads to their own destruction.
Samson/Delilah
Samson became infatuated with Delilah, and so the Philistine rulers promised her money if she would find out the secret of his strength. Three nights in a row Delilah asked him, but he didn't tell her the truth until the third night. She told the Philistines, who captured Samson and gouged his eyes out.
How it's used
This allusion generally refers to a treacherous love story, a fallen strongman, or a traitorous woman.
An example of this is in Rufus Wainwright's song, "Hallelujah." The lyric "she broke your throne,/she cut your hair,/and from your lips she drew a hallelujah," is used as an example of how hard love can be.
King Ahab/Jezebel & Samson/Delilah
I'd like to point out...

These stories have some interesting parellels. Both of these women were outside of what was socially acceptable: they stepped up and took control. Delilah sought after her own interests, taking money as a bribe to sell out her lover. When someone wasn't giving her husband what he wanted, Jezebel had him killed. She plotted, she carried out.
ALSO, both these women are considered the downfall of their husband/lover, even though
actually
, both these guys were awful people
before
they met Delilah and Jezebel. Samson is literally introduced in the bible with these words: "[he] went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her." Samson is lustful and lacks self-control. He is not a lovestruck man done in by his heartless lover, he's kind of an idiot. He didn't get Delilah was trying to kill him? Really?Ahab is referred to in the Bible as "more evil than all the kings before him," yet multiple accounts blame his wife for his actions, rather than the fact that he's a tyrant, a liar, and generally just a jerk.

Jezebel and Delilah are both considered the worse half of their respective coupling. We look down on both these women who are, admittedly, awful people, but also stepped outside the cultural norm and took control, as well as, supposedly, using their sensuality against the men? Like the fact that Samson was known for hiring prostitutes and trying to get with every girl he met was irrelevant, and like Ahab hadn't been murdering rebels and taking over other countries for decades before Jezebel got there.
My point in ending like this is when you make references like these in your writing, instead of alluding to the ideas of these stories that society has perpetuated, actually dig in and look at what prejudices may lie behind these tropes and character outlines that society has constructed.
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