The First Commentary on Mark: An Annotated Translation

By Michael Cahill | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 15

They hand the bound Jesus over to Pilate (cf. Mark 15:1). Here is Samson bound by Delilah. Samson means "their sun," since for them the sun went down at noon. Delilah means "a bucket," which stands for the synagogue, which like a bucket does not keep liquid pure but collects all kinds of unclean rubbish.1 Our Samson, with the jawbone of his word, strikes down innumerable crowds of Jews and demons here.2 For us who thirst, who are his body, he opens the fountain of eternal life.3

____________________
1
Jerome Nom p. 101 23; p. 157 14-15; p. 99 6. The Jews betray Jesus and hand him over to his enemies in a manner comparable to Delilah's treatment of Samson in Judges 16:18-21. The meaning given for the name Samson allows for an anti-Jewish statement. It is remarkable that in two successive sentences the same OT character has contrary meanings imposed on him. The demands of the author's purpose can sometimes force allegory into this jolting type of maneuver. The name Delilah is also used to attack the Jews (cf. Num 19:15).
2
Judges 15:15-17 recounts how Samson slew the Philistines with the jawbone of the ass. The Turin Gloss ( Thes. Pal., p. 492, l.20) says Samson used the jawbone of a camel. This may be due to confusion with the story, found in the Irish tradition, of Abel being murdered with the jawbone of a camel (e.g., "Adam and His Descendants" [5:11], in Máire Herbert and Martin McNamara, Irish Biblical Apocrypha [pp. 18, 167]). "Our Samson" uses his word as a weapon. The use of allegory becomes quite bizarre in this instance, where the image of a Jewish hero killing enemies is used to portray the killing (albeit not literally) of Jews.
3
The transition to a thought close to that of John 4:14 is sudden. Maybe it is intended as a contrast to the bucket of liquid just mentioned.

-115-

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The First Commentary on Mark: An Annotated Translation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Note: xiv
  • Introduction 3
  • Prologue 19
  • Chapter I 25
  • Chapter 2 41
  • Chapter 3 43
  • Chapter 4 49
  • Chapter 5 55
  • Chapter 6 59
  • Chapter 7 63
  • Chapter 8 69
  • Chapter 9 73
  • Chapter 10 79
  • Chapter 11 83
  • Chapter 12 89
  • Chapter 13 95
  • Chapter 14 99
  • Chapter 15 115
  • Chapter 16 127
  • Epilogue 133
  • Appendix an Interpolated Homily 135
  • Bibliography 139
  • Index of Biblical Texts 147
  • Select Index to Annotations 153
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