We all remember, don’t we, that Sampson fell in love with Delilah, who was bribed by Sampson’s enemies to find his weakness. Wary of her questions, he said first that if he were bound with bowstrings he would lose his supernatural strength. (Had you forgotten than he was into bondage?) So Delilah, clever girl that she is, waits for him to fall asleep and ties him up. He wakens and breaks the bindings. She asks again – uh, Sampson, think anything’s going on here? – and he says new ropes will do the trick. Again, she waits until he slumbers and practices a bit of bondage, and again he wakes, and breaks the ropes. Ever persistent, patient, and greedy for those thousand pieces of silver promised her by the Philistines, Delilah once again asks the question. Sampson, by now, weakened by his own love and lust for the Delilah, moves closer to the truth – that he will lose his strength if his hair, which truly is the source of his strength, is woven together. As he sleeps that night, she gives him a hair weave and ties him up, and the next morning, he awakes and unbraids his hair.
Not to be dissuaded from her potentially profitable enterprise, Delilah yet again asks Sampson the source of his strength. And poor, simple Sampson (he’s male, after all, and clearly had forgotten the story of Eve and the serpent), says that if his hair is shorn he will lose his strength. Sure enough, Delilah waits until he is asleep, and then with his head resting in her lap, she has a servant cut off his hair. His strength removed, Sampson is captured by the Philistines, turned into a slave, and, after his hair has grown back, brings down their temple and kills all those inside.
That Sampson. That Delilah. No photographers were there at the time to record the events and post them to Twitter, so artists – mostly men, of course – used their imaginations. But for the visually inclined, there are a couple of points of interest.
Point 1: Delilah is usually, though not always, shown clothed and Sampson unclothed, an early example of the CFNM (clothed female, naked man, for the fetistically illiterate) kink. (During the presumably suppressed Victorian period, women, too, were shown topless.)
Point 2: Sampson is slumbering, presumably in a post-coital state, which leads one to ask exactly when it was that Delilah cajoled his secret out of him. Just before she manipulated his secretions out, one might reasonably expect. Those among us who are moral know well that information divulged and promises made at the height of edgy arousal (promises erectus, in Latin) are less solid than the member of the person making the disclosures or vows. But some people – Delilah, you go, girl! – are a bit less moral.
Point 3: Sampson often has his head in Delilah’s lap. Let me think, where does one often see a sleeping male with his head in a woman’s lap? Why, at any event that goes on too long where a mother has brought her son! Interesting that artists associate this tender, maternal moment, normally associated with protection and comfort, with the story of a venal femme fatale, no?
Point 4: Sampson felt pretty silly when he woke up with his new hairdo. But Delilah thought it was just adorable!
Moral, for women: in his weakness there is our strength.
Moral, for men: never get an erection.