Thornton Chase, the First Western Baha'i, in his Study
Copyright © 2010 Baha'i National Archives, Wilmete, Used With Permission

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What is the Meaning of the Biblical Story of the Cutting of Samson's Hair?

What is the meaning of the Biblical story of the cutting of Samson's hair, and that his strength resided in his locks of hair?

In the 16th chapter of the Book of Judges, we read of the great strength of Samson, and how Delilah sought to know the source of his strength.  He reveals to her that his hair is the source of his strength, and if his hair is cut off, he will lose his strength.

One of the wonderful features of the Baha'i Revelation is that it unlocks the meaning of the past Scriptures, and although this particular passage is not cited, there are other passages that speak of hair symbolizing clinging to divine guidance:

O Son of Desire!
How long wilt thou soar in the realms of desire? Wings have I bestowed upon thee, that thou mayest fly to the realms of mystic holiness and not the regions of satanic fancy. The comb, too, have I given thee that thou mayest dress My raven locks, and not lacerate My throat.
(Baha'u'llah, Persian Hidden Words 79)

This passage has been interpreted by the divinely-guided Interpreters in our Faith:

Concerning "wings" and "the comb" mentioned in the Hidden Words this means the Covenant of God. This Covenant was taken so that the believers would remain loyal to 'Abdu'l-Bahá and not lacerate Bahá'u'lláh's blessed throat, meaning His blessed Cause. However, they completely shut their eyes to fairness, committed misdeeds and indulged in grievous injustice.
('Abdu'l-Bahá, from a Tablet, translated from the Persian, Compilation on the Hidden Words)

The expression "tend My raven locks, and not wound My throat" is an allegorical warning by Bahá'u'lláh against the misuse of anything bestowed by Him on the world.
(From a letter dated 6 September 1937 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; from the Compilation on the Hidden Words)

Baha'u'llah revealed several Tablets, known collectively as The Tablets of Hair, which are provisionally translated here.  In one of these verses He makes clear that the "hair" is the Cord of the Covenant; and the Covenant symbolizes following God's guidance:

A lock of My hair is My Cord. He who layeth fast hold on it shall never to all eternity go astray, for therein is his guidance to the splendours of the Light of His beauty.

The Baha'i Writings confirm that the source of our strength is the Covenant, or more correctly, the twin Covenants of Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha, about which you can read more here and here.  The Baha'is are admonished to:

"...ponder deeply over the significance and implications of the Covenants of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, for these form the hub of the Bahá'í wheel, so to speak, the point of unity and strength for all the believers all over the world. Without these Covenants the Divine Protection of God over this new world Faith would not exist. Obedience to these Covenants is the stronghold of all the Bahá'ís, everywhere."  
(From a letter on behalf of Shoghi Effendi dated 20 October 1949, The Light of Divine Guidance, Volume II, p. 87)

1 comment: