When CXXII was given the opportunity to do a Collab shirt with Chase Tafoya he allowed us to do a shirt based on the acrylic painting "Out of the Eater, Something to Eat; Out of the Strong, Something Sweet."
Some of you may not know story of Sampson and the riddle that is the title of the painting so I wanted to just create this blog post so you understand the meaning and some back story of this design.
If you would like to read the full version it is in Judge 14.
Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him.
*Note...Sampson was with his family but became separated and was alone.... (this is important for later)
6 The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done. 7 Then he went down and talked with the woman, and he liked her. 8 Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. 9 He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along.
A little background on Samson. He had made a vow or commitment to God to be a Nazarite, which was a commitment to not cut your hair, drink alcohol, or touch anything dead.
The Bible says that Samson “saw” the Lion’s carcass… But though he “fought” the lion when it attacked him last time, this time, he knows it’s dead and a violation of his moral code, commitments to God, and promise to stay pure… BUT… a swarm of bees and Honey were in the carcass. So, he is tempted. He is drawn in. He is desirous of the taste of honey…. SO he reaches into the lion’s carcass, and pulls out the honey. Not only does he taste it he feeds it to his family.
When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.
10 Now his father went down to see the woman. And there Samson held a feast, as was customary for young men. 11 When the people saw him, they chose thirty men to be his companions.
12 “Let me tell you a riddle,” Samson said to them. “If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes. 13 If you can’t tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.”
“Tell us your riddle,” they said. “Let’s hear it.”
14 He replied,
“Out of the eater, something to eat;
out of the strong, something sweet.”
For three days they could not give the answer.
15 On the fourth[a] day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father’s household to death. Did you invite us here to steal our property?”
This is important because the "companions" that Sampson had for the most part threaten and took advantage of Sampson's wife just to get what they wanted... which you will see was not their best decision.
16 Then Samson’s wife threw herself on him, sobbing, “You hate me! You don’t really love me. You’ve given my people a riddle, but you haven’t told me the answer.”
“I haven’t even explained it to my father or mother,” he replied, “so why should I explain it to you?” 17 She cried the whole seven days of the feast. So on the seventh day he finally told her, because she continued to press him. She in turn explained the riddle to her people.
She Pretty much was blackmailed by Sampson's companions and then fussed and wined for 7 days till Sampson gave in.
18 Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to him,
“What is sweeter than honey?
What is stronger than a lion?”
Samson said to them,
“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
you would not have solved my riddle."
Which pretty much means... the only other person who knew was my wife and you took advantage of her.
19 Then the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of everything and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he returned to his father’s home. 20 And Samson’s wife was given to one of his companions who had attended him at the feast.
There is honestly a lot going on within this story...the main point that I wanted to share was that led to everything that happened was 1. At the beginning Samson was alone when the Lion came at him and he killed the lion and didn't tell anyone. (not even his parents). Which ultimately leads to problem #2... He returned to the lion later, again ALONE... no one was around and Sampson was tempted by the fact that there was a rotting carcass but was filled with Honey. Sampson was not to touch or handle anything dead. How often are we tempted by things that can be "dead' to us even if we know there is a rotting carcass right in front of us there might be that sweet temptation waiting for us.
What is the HONEY... in your life?