Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rembrandt: Simson, an der Hochzeitstafel das Rätsel aufgebend

Public Domain Image: Simson, an der Hochzeitstafel das Rätsel aufgebend (a 1638 painting depicting Samson's marriage feast in which he delivers the puzzle), oil on canvas painting by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669), dimensions 126.5 cm x 175.5 cm, located at the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden, Germany.

Dimensions: 2560×1817 pixels, , size: 493 KB

When Samson (also spelled as Shimshon, Simson, Shamshoun or Sampson) grows up to adulthood, he leaves his hills people to see the cities of the Philistines, where he falls in love with a Philistine woman and he decides to marry her. On the way to her house to ask for the woman's hand in marriage, Samson is attacked by a lion but he easily grabs it and rips it apart as he is blessed with divine powers, and reaches the Philistine's house and wins her hand in marriage. On his way to the wedding, Samson notices that bees have nested in the carcass of the lion and have made honey. He drinks some honey and gives some to his parents. At the wedding feast, Samson offers the puzzle, "Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet", to his thirty Philistine groomsmen, and promises them thirty pieces of fine linen and garments, if they can solve it. The puzzle relates to his eating honey, on his second encounter with the lion (carcass). Failed and infuriated, the 30 Philistines tell Samson's wife to discover the answer and tell them, and threatens to burn her and her father's household if she does not do so. On the tearful imploring of his bride, Samson tells her the solution, which she reveals to the thirty groomsmen.

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