Samson’s Ancient World Problems

Modern suburban life is full of annoyances.  Getting up early during the week to commute to work.  Getting up early on the weekend because your neighbor hired landscapers for the early shift.  Staying up too late on a Wednesday because someone in your neighborhood decided it was time for fireworks even though it’s not a Hallmark-recognized holiday.  Constant notifications from your phone that you have a new email.  Having to spend time deleting the majority of your emails because they’re spam that made it through the filter.  Recycling the majority of your regular mail because its junk.  Wondering if you put recyclables into the wrong bins.  Paying more for gas and groceries because of inflation.

Such annoyances are sometimes jokingly called “first world problems” or they might even get cringeworthy hashtags like #1stworldproblems.  When I recently read Judges 14:6 I was reminded of such problems.  It says:

 “Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon [Samson], and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.” (emphasis mine)

The writer of Judges wanted everyone to know how easy it was for Samson, in God’s power, to kill a lion, so he compared it to how “one tears a young goat.”  Not how “one clicks the trash can icon to delete an email,” or how “one sets an alarm clock to get up early,” or how “one pumps gas in their car so they can travel in minutes what once might have taken days.”  No, Samson killed a lion “as one tears a young goat.”

My handy study Bible has no statistics on how often individuals killed young goats with their bare hands in Samson’s times, but for it to work as a metaphor to the original audience of Judges, it must have been quite easy and common.  Maybe more common than fireworks on non-holidays, or easier than pumping expensive gas after a quick tap of a credit card.

First world problems indeed.  At least we probably won’t need to kill a goat today, or especially not a lion.  May God grant us the patience and strength to deal with whatever comes our way today.

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