Delilah is introduced in the Book of Judges as a woman ”who dwelt in the valley of Sorec” . The geographical area she lives in is symbolically important for the role she plays as a middle man between the Israelites and the Philistines. Indeed, the valley and district acted as a “borderland” between these two peoples. We are not sure from the descriptions in the Book of Judges what her actual origins were, but some hints make us have fair assumptions in this sense.
Indeed, first of all, Sorec itself may have belonged or, at least, may have been inhabited by the Philistines.Second of all, and this is even more important, we re receiving from the very beginning a certain perspective on her partisanship through her relationship with the princes of the Philistines, who conjure her to find out in what the great strength of Samson resides: ”And the princes of the Philistines came to her, and said: Deceive him, and learn of him wherein his great strength lieth, and how we may be able to overcome him, to bind and afflict him: which if thou shalt do, we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver” .The obvious role of Delilah is easily noticed: she is the deceiver par excellence, the individual who betrays one’s trust in order to obtain and reach her own objectives, in this case, to earn the reward promised by the princes of the Philistines. On the other hand, from the society point of view, she is a classical example of individual wanting and needing to improve her condition in society. Indeed, the story finds her at a harlot level which, in the slavery society characterizing that respective historical times, would have been equivalent to a semi-slavery condition.
The money, the reward she can obtain from the princes will have an extra meaning for her, because they would allow her to escape her slave condition. Thirdly, from the perspective of the story itself, Delilah’s role is to bring down the exceptionally strong hero, to provide a leak in his impregnable armor. In fact, Delilah’s real role in the story is to personify Samson’s weakness, to transform him from an individual with no obvious weak points to a simple human.Despite the obvious negative perception we have on Delilah and her actions, we cannot help but notice that she is eventually the one who humanizes Samson. In my opinion, this is the real role Delilah plays in the story, as the humanizing element.
With Bashiba, often referred to as Bathsheba, her role is quite different from my aspects, although, surprisingly, it is quite similar from some perspectives. We will first detail this last perspective, since it’s easier to cover.In my opinion, just as Delilah, Bathsheba’s role is to highlight the human weaknesses that King David has. Throughout the Bible, David is described as an almost superior figure, because of his strength and wisdom and courage. It is too dangerous from a religious perspective for an individual to be so strong, so elements have to be brought along to show that he is, after all, human. Bathsheba’s presence in the bath makes him lose his royal wisdom and seduce her, despite the fact that she is the wife of his loyal ally, the Hittite King.
He commits adultery exactly because of his own weaknesses in dealing with this situation. On the other hand, Bashiba is, similarly to Delilah’s situation, an element of deceit, in the sense that David’s character has always been above all doubt before her appearance, so it only seems natural to correlate his sin with the fact that she was naked and that she, somehow, has induced this onto him. On one hand, she shows that she can be weak, on the other, she even induces this along.Nevertheless, Bathsheba’s positive role is probably mostly associated with the fact that she is the mother of King Solomon, who is one of the most important and emphasized presences of the Old Testament, a huge character through his wisdom and wit and historical influence . As her bearer, her role is already closely associated to his creation, almost as a bearer of good tidings and hope.
As the bearer of Solomon, her role is also to induce God’s forgiveness onto his servant David, who had sinned.We can see her on a linear movement: at first, she brings God’s wrath upon David, but only to become the instrument of God’s forgiveness, in the end, through her connection with Solomon and the continuance of David’s heritage line of wise kings. This is something we do not see in Delilah’s role, her role seems to stop at a certain point without having enough strength to go on further and become a positive transformation for things to come in the future. However, both roles are roles that impact the evolution of the main hero in his life.