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‘Defiance Incarnate’
Samson and Delilah by Joseph Bellofatto


“And Samson, deeming it worse than all his misfortunes to be unable to avenge such insults, asked the boy who led him by the hand to lead him to the columns so he could rest. And when he was brought to the columns he flung his weight upon them, overturning the columns and bringing down the hall on the Lords of the Philistines, with whom he perished.”
Josephus, Jewish Antiquties

Samson was a man of the Dannites, a refugee tribe, probably from Crete or the Aegean, who were cousins to the Philistines, and merged with the ancient Israelites. Long before David came along and felled the giant Philistine Goliath with a sling stone, Samson refused to bow to the Philistine masters of the tribes of Israel. He was the ultimate ‘taboo man’ of the Old Testament, at war with his blood relations, the Philistines, and hated by his adopted nation, Israel. For the men of Israel in his time wished to be enslaved rather than fight the Philistines. He was hated for bringing a test of manhood upon his allies, was betrayed, seduced by the temptress Delilah, and fell into the hands of his enemies, who blinded him.

The story of Samson and Delilah is most likely an allegorical tale about the feminization of settled society. The Dan and the Hebrew tribes that settled Palestine [so named after the Philistines] had been pirates and nomads respectively. After a few generations of settled life these proud tribes fell under the rule of the Philistines like captive women. And, like women, these tribes shrunk with horror from the prospect of fighting for their own liberty. In many ways the tragedy of Samson [the founding father] and Delilah [the submissive inheritor] is the story of America, from Revolution to the Welfare State.

I recalled seeing Joseph’s full-sized painting [it was big] in 2000. When considering a graphic for the cover of my upcoming societal defiance handbook Taboo You, I immediately thought of this atmospheric version. Fortunately, although the painting was sold, Joe still had an electronic copy and is permitting Charles and I to use it as the cover to the conclusion of my series of urban survival books.

Taboo You should be published by the end of 2014.

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