Transformation Garden - September 29, 2011


“…and it came to pass on the seventh day, that they (the Philistines) said unto Samson’s wife, ‘Entice thy husband that he may declare unto us the riddle….’’’
Judges 14: 15
King James Version


“The Narcissus and The Nag”

Narcissus: Excessive self-love.

“Interested in himself, he believed himself a subject of interest.”
Gish Jen
Typical American

Nag: To annoy by constant complaining, scolding, or urging.  To torment persistently.

“A nagging wife is as annoying as the constant dripping on a rainy day.  Trying to stop her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or hold something with greased hands.”
Proverbs: 27: 15-16

What specific personal qualities do I bring to the relationships in my life that do not have a positive effect on the people involved?”


“Next to the joy of the egotist is the joy of the detractor.”
Agnes Repplier

Over six years ago, when my niece Aimee and her then boyfriend, Ben, decided they wanted to marry, I can’t begin to tell you how delighted I was to hear that the pastor they chose to marry them, asked all the couples he joined together in holy matrimony, to attend three months of premarital counseling, where basics like communication; family interaction; and decision-making were discussed before the couple said, “I do.”

It’s profoundly sad that in a world where the instantaneous use of “Twitter” and “Blackberrying” have become the norm, somewhere along the way, we think we should be able to choose a lifelong mate with the same speed.  Obviously, as we look at Samson’s life, it seems even long ago, he also thought that a momentary glance and roaring hormones were all that was needed to make the choice of a mate for a lifetime.

However, it wasn’t long before these two people, Samson and his Timnah girlfriend, found out that not only were they unfit marriage partners, they were unfit for a successful relationship. Period.

Having been the center of his parent’s world, with everyone fawning over him, as many Biblical scholars note, Samson was set-up to portray all the characteristics of a narcissist.  As a little reminder, in Greek mythology, “Narcissus” was a young man who pined away in love for his own image in a pool of water and was transformed into the flower that bears his name.  From this tale, today’s psychologists define narcissism or narcisstic behavior by a person’s regression to an almost infantile developmental stage, in which one’s own self becomes the object of all-consuming interest.

To say this is what happened to Samson is an understatement.  As we read the story of his life, his physical appearance and physical abilities became the obsessions that dictated his behavior for there’s nothing that someone who is stuck on themselves likes to hear more than how perfectly wonderful they are!

Our girl in Timnah, the future Mrs. Samson, obviously was appealing to Samson for he didn’t wait anytime at all to order his parents to, “get her for me.”  She became nothing more than an object Samson had to possess.  His selfish desires were on over-drive.  Samson wanted this girl and he’d get her at any cost.

The Bible tells us that the marriage took place in Timnah, and soon Mr. Perfect was united with Mrs. Perfect – at least that’s what Samson thought.  However, on the wedding day, when focused on himself, as usual, Samson told a riddle to his wedding guests who were promised, “30 sheets and 30 changes of garments,” if the riddle were solved during the seven-day wedding feast.

Judges 14: 15 (K.J.V.) says, “and it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson’s wife, ‘Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle.”  Please note the word which keeps rearing its ugly head throughout the Bible, “entice,” or as we have learned from Eve’s encounter with the serpent in Eden, “seduce,” pops up in Samson’s world, as well.

All of a sudden Samson found out that inside the outward allure of Miss Timnah, was the heart of a seductress – a nagging seducer who used every tool in her box of tricks.  She wept.  She wailed.  And she even accused Samson, “Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not” (Judges 14: 16, K.J.V.).  For seven days she nagged and cried, all during the wedding feast.  She ruined everything with her emotional outburst.  All too quickly, the self-centered Samson found out Miss Timnah wasn’t so perfect after all.  In desperation, he revealed the answer to the riddle to his wife of seven days who promptly went to her Philistine relatives and betrayed her Israelite husband.  What a surprise!

But there’s more!  Samson was furious at the men who had put his wife up to her tricks, so he killed 30 Philistines and took their garments and used them to pay off the “riddle debt,” because, as he informed the men of Timnah, “If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle” (Judges 14: 18).

I have to stop here for a moment and remind you that all this murder and “heifer talk” was taking place during a wedding feast – a time that should be filled with the joyous blessing of God.  How far away from the story of God joining Adam and Eve together in heavenly harmony in the Garden of Eden, Samson and his Philistine wife fell.  Rather than be joined together in love, we find that passion fueled the flame of desire between Samson and his bride and within seven days of the marital festivities beginning, the narcissist was referring to his wife as a “heifer” that had been “plowed” by other men, or as the Hebrew so descriptively states, “the nearly grown cow that you have engraved.”

How stunning it is to see the results when we impatiently wander out of God’s will, as did the children of Israel related in Exodus 32, who like Samson, got impatient and demanded that Aaron make them a graven gold cow they could worship.  Like Samson, when we say I have to have this now, we may end up worshipping in front of an engraved heifer and bowing to its demands.

What a sad story when marriage is entered into hastily and without any thought for the spiritual consequences.  Before you know it, we’re worshipping a false god – a graven image created by human demands.

Unfortunately for Samson, by leaving God out of his decision making, his choice of mate, dominated by selfish passion, ended up bringing heartache to his entire family and to himself.

May you and I in our relationships never find ourselves dancing around a golden calf and replacing it for our worship of God, just because we grew too impatient to wait for God’s will to be worked out in our lives.

“A good marriage is not a contract between two persons but a sacred covenant between three.  Too often Christ is never invited to the wedding and finds no room in the home.  Why?  Is it because we have misrepresented Him and forgotten His joyful outlook on life?” - Donald T. Kauffman


“One Road for Walking Together”

“As the sun is held and reflected
In the east window of morning
And in the west window
Of late afternoon,
So hold while reflecting light
Each one of the other.

Take to yourselves
The random fluting of small birds,
The dance of stars on ancient rivers,
And the storming gold of butterflies.

Take to yourselves and carry
Branches of drifting flowers,
Branches of snow.

Let the hearth fire be burning,
The kettle on, the cups and saucers out
For when we stop by.

We want to be with you.

When the fringe of time wears thin
And clouds wrap the dream song of night
Turn to the dawn and walk the road
Under a sun-filled sky.”

Mrs. Annette Penniman

Your friend,

Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Now available wherever books are sold and at and or

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