The story of Samson and Delilah has been the theme of movies, opera, and music for centuries. The curious question is why such a minor character has created so much buzz in the arts. The Book of Judges, from which the story is taken, covers a time in biblical Israel when tribal leaders ruled ineffectively and chaos reigned more than the rule of law. Samson’s trials and tribulations begin with the usual motif of the childless couple who are blessed with a son who will rise to greatness and then fall, only to be redeemed by his loyalty to God and Israel.
The few lines that are devoted to Delilah form the basis for a new novel that portrays her in a more sympathetic light than previous commentaries and Hollywood spectacles. She is given over to a life in the pagan temple as a young priestess in waiting. We see a court life re-created where women have little control over the choices in their lives and must follow a code of obedience rather than their hearts. Was the story of Samson and Delilah a real love story, or political maneuvering? Edghill gives us the former interpretation, that they did love each other, but the greater forces of politics and violence tore them apart. Delilah is portrayed as repentant and saddened for the part she was to play in the downfall of Samson. Or, did Samson fall victim to his own impetuousness? A re-reading of the Biblical text for some historical background is recommended before taking on the novel.