Judges Chapter 15
Fast forward again and it's harvest time throughout the Middle East. Samson, having been off to who knows where, comes around again to Timnah town and wants to see his wife. He is still unaware of that domestic situation. Her father says: “Um, thought ya hated 'er. Gave 'er away to one of yer 'companions'. But hey! Such a deal! Take her no-name younger sister, she's even prettier. And give her that goat ya brought!”
That does it. Samson is off into another tirade threatening Philistines every which way. He captures 300 foxes, couples them up and ties a torch to each pair of tails. All this must have taken some time, not to mention the dumb cruelty to animals. That is, if the story were literally true.
Viewed esoterically, however, 300 is a tenfold increase of 30. Hebrew letter shin (ש) holds numeral value 300. The gematria of 300 is most direct. The 'Spirit of God', רוח אלהים, Ruach Elohim, similarly translated as 'Breath of the Mighty Ones' sums to 300, as does the temurah of יהוה, 'Jehovah'. Those who have taken the time and effort to familiarize themselves with the symbolism behind letter Shin, its assignation with the Tarot Key Judgement, the astrological planet Pluto, and the alchemical element fire, may surmise that it is the Plutonian, super-conscious influence deep within us that works to perfect the spiritual body of the new Phoenix. The Hebrew verb יצר, yatzar, 'to create, shape, form, generate, produce', also summing to 300, let's us know exactly who is in charge through all the stages of our enlightenment. This is Samson's next stage of unfoldment. And it will be ours. The story of the Samson character is the hidden story of us, whether male or female. We all unfold the same way, from within.
Letter Shin occupies the 31st path on the Tree of Life. It connects the 8th sphere Hod to the 10th sphere Malkuth, or, the influences of Mercury to the arena of the Elements, the field of intellect to that of sensation. Its name in the Thirty-two Paths of Wisdom is שכל תמידי, Saykel Temidiy, the 'Perpetual Intelligence'. The adjective is derived from תמיד, tamiyd, signifying 'always, constantly, forever, continuance, indefinite extension', and referring most often in ancient Hebrew to 'perpetual time' according to Qabalists. Our growing intellectual perception and understanding, originally rooted from super-conscious levels, working downward and outward into our conscious apprehension, has a profound physical effect. It eventually changes our molecular structure. Our very cells become infused with ever increasing pure light essence. We feel it as it manifests in profound faith and physical strength. This is what is unfolding within Samson through the allegory of Chapter 15, a tenfold increase in his faith and strength.
But back to the mundane drama. Samson sparks up the tail torches and lets loose 150 little chariots-of-fire foxes rampaging in all directions goaded by sheer terror. These ignite the shocks and standing grain, vineyards, olive groves, et al in a conflagration of, um, biblical proportions! And this sets the Philistines jumpin' up n' down, yelping: “Who did this?!”
“Samson,” blusters a nameless extra, “the Timnite's son-in-law over the give-away-a-wife thing!” The Philistines react with knee-jerk retaliation by doing the only thing knuckle-walkers know and vowed to do in the first place. They burn Samson’s ex-wife, his ex-father-in-law, and the whole ex-household.
Enraged anew Samson bellows out, “Vengeance!” (translations differ) turns about, smites the Philistines responsible "hip and thigh (whatever that means) with a great slaughter" as the rest scatter. Afterward Samson again retreats into brooding בסעיף סלע עיטם, siyf sela Etam, 'in a cave (cleft, fissure) of the rock of Etam'. The cavern in Etam may or may not be a real place-name. Some biblical archaeologists claim to have located it, but the surrounding mountainous area is pock-marked with cliffs and caves. Regardless, whenever “caves, hollows, valleys, meadows” etc., are brought up in esoteric writings, they very well may imply inner consciousness, a meditative state, the sub-conscious. Which, if one were to retreat into solitude, meditation would be the natural inclination generally. And this is hinted within the temurah of סלע, sela, 'rock'. By temurah the word חכה, chakah, appears with the interchange of letters meaning 'fish hook, fishing rod' as a noun, and chikah, meaning 'to await' as a verb. A Qabalist would understand that 'fish hook' is the meaning behind the Hebrew letter-name Tzaddi (צ), which is attached to The Star Tarot Key and associated with ideas of revelation and meditation. Moreover, by transposing the letters in the phrase סלע עיטם, sela etam, 'rock of Etam', the temurah of the new letters total 138. Some ideas from the gematria of equal value are: חמץ, chmetz, 'vinegar', the term used in classical alchemical literature for meditation which 'leavens, ferments' the Phoenix Rising. From the Latin Cabala Simplex and summing to 138 comes corpus pineale, 'the pineal body' which is directly stimulated through meditation. Lillium et Rosa, 'the Lily and Rose' are the electro-magnetic nerve currents (Ida and Pingala of eastern traditions) goaded into activity through meditation to stimulate and maturate the pineal gland. And, finally, perseverantia, 'perseverance', the key behind all successful meditations.
Now on the hunt, a gang of Philistines meets up with some men of Judah who fear being attacked. A bargain is struck if the Judeans hand over Samson to the Philistines. The men of Judah, 3000 strong1, then approach Samson, declaring that they will bind his hands, not kill him themselves, but will turn him over to the Philistines. To this Samson agrees.
This next episode is one of the most popular and iconic scenes of our hero. Samson is brought before the Philistines where he breaks his wrist bindings, picks up the infamous jawbone and bashes the brains out of a thousand bad guys. After the slaughter he soliloquizes his silly poem and tosses the jawbone aside where the place is thereafter named רמת לחי, Ramath Lehi, 'the hill of the jawbone'. Ramath literally means 'a raised area, plateau', and Lehi is 'jaw, or various objects resembling a jaw'. Again, some archaeologists claim they know its exact spot, whereas actually the truth behind that claim cannot be verified.
Thumping a thousand uppity numb-skulls can work up a mighty thirst, so our hero calls out to the Lord for a hearty quaffing. God then opened up המכתש, makh'tesh, 'the hollow place', from whence water flowed. The gematria of makh'tesh sums to 765, that of שכל הקדוש, Sakel Kadosh, 'the Sanctifying Intelligence'. This is the name given the 3rd path on the Tree of Life to which is attributed the sphere Binah, Understanding. The third sphere, according to Qabalists, is the seat of the Divine Soul Neshamah, also termed the collective 'Soul of the World.' Number 3, in our story here, is the root of the progression to 30, 300, and now 3,000. Of this 3rd path Arthur Edward Waite declares in The 32 Paths of Wisdom: “It is the foundation of Primordial Wisdom, termed the Creation of Faith. Its roots are אמכ, AMK.2 It is the Mother of Faith, which indeed emanates therefrom.”
And this, like the fountain from "the hollow place" itself, opens up a whole new flood gate of Qabalah rarely seen and little understood, AIQ BKR, or...
The Qabalah of Nine Chambers
The Qabalah of Nine Chambers requires considerable explanation for those totally unfamiliar with it. Initial technicalities can be found on the Internet where the 27 Hebrew letters (this includes the 5 final forms) are separated into groups of 3 to form 9 sections or chambers. The alternate name, AIQ BKR, is derived from the first two chambers which include those letters that can be reduced to the same single digit, e.g., letters א Aleph (1), י Yod (10), and ק Qoph (100) next to each other can all be reduced to 1. Translated they form AIQ in the first chamber. The second chamber includes letters ב Beth (2), כ Kaph (20), and ר Resh (200), all of which can be reduced to 2, and translated form BKR, etc., through 7 more chambers. The purpose for all this is not adequately explained on the Net save for some references to some obscure form, now obsolete, of coded writings that were used occasionally with works in Practical Qabalah.
The Samson story is the only place I have found thus far in the Bible which used this ancient method to convey a very esoteric teaching. Herein it all revolves around the 3rd chamber which includes those letters that resolve to single digit 3 by Theosophic Reduction, and which are made up of the Hebrew letters ג Gimel (3), ל Lamed (30), and ש Shin (300) translated to G, L, and Sh. There is, however, a 4th letter to each chamber that is rarely mentioned. When a digit in the thousands was called for it was written with the same Hebrew letters albeit larger than the letters before and after; so a larger Aleph א inferred 1,000, a larger Beth ב for 2,000, and a larger Gimel ג for 3,000, and so on through the rest of the alphabet. It must be remembered that when the very earliest Hebrew was scribed there were no separate glyphs for numbers in the Mid-East. Counting was facilitated by letter glyphs. Number glyphs came later and from further East.3
Early into Chapter 14 we came upon numeral 3, which suggests letter Gimel (ג), in the guise of Samson, his father, and his mother, on the road to Timnah town. Notice that after Samson kills the lion he tells neither of his parents what just happened. Now I ask, how does a roaring lion jump out from nowhere on the road, wrestle up a commotion with a human and make neither noise nor spectacle in front of the other two travelers? Unless, but for the sake of the outward story vehicle, there were no parents (an implied secret); no actual lion either, for that matter. I surmise the three, in Qabalah-speak, are Father Chokmah, Mother Binah, and the Son (Sun) Tiphareth, all personified in the single character of Samson, whose very letter-name was investigated earlier. Hebrew letter Gimel, the first letter in chamber 3, was the implied intent with the trio trundling down the road. The name of Samson's father means 'quiet, rest'. His no-name mother, translated as 'woman, wife, she', is from a Hebrew word form for 'fire'. Samson (with analyzing his name in Hebrew) is personified as incarnate Tiphareth, or the Christ Consciousness, and the true Son within all mankind (or 'Israel' for those uncomfortable with the name 'Christ' appearing in the Old Testament). Samson comes out from the “Scintillating Silence” of Chokmah and Binah, these both evolve simultaneously out of Kether. Samson, or Tiphareth, is already united with Kether, implied by letter Gimel, and number 3, attached to the 13th Path on the Tree of Life. This path is named שכל מנהיג חאחדות, Saykel Manehig Ha-Echudoth, 'the Conductive Intelligence of Unity' or 'the Uniting Intelligence'. Two brief commentaries on this path follow the entry in The 32 Paths of Wisdom. One from Arthur E. Waite: “It is the substance of glory, and it manifests truth to every spirit.” The second from William W. Westcott: “It is the consummation of the truth of individual things.”
There is yet another, anonymous commentary that follows the two above: “No magical work can be accomplished without communication with this path. It is the equilibrating power and the directing force. The Conductive Intelligence is always accompanied by Responsibility. These two ideas stand in direct proportion to each other.”
Moreover, this name for the 13th path, Manehig Ha-Echudoth also translates as 'driver or leader of the unities'. The path is akin to one aspect of sub-consciousness bearing 'truth' through intuition and correctly assigned the High Priestess Tarot Key. She (intuition, the connective with the Universal Substance, Akasha) is the transmitter of truth hinted in both quotations, and of the third quotation it is mentioned she is the “equilibrating power and the directing force.” She brings Truth down from the Infinite into the collective Grand Ego (Tiphareth , the Son) and transmits it back and upwards. If we do not hold Truth in all our words and actions the Magic from the One Life is not forthcoming. This is Samson's (and our) chief lesson, his and our responsibility. The center of the word Ha-Echudoth is achad, 'unity'. It's gematria is 13, that of the path of Gimel on the Tree of Life. And Gimel, spelled out as גמל, sums to 73, the numeration of חכמה, Chokmah, 'Wisdom', the second sphere, personified as Samson's 'father' in this story. 'Thy Father', אביכם, abikem, from Isaiah 51:2 also sums to 73.
The next Hebrew letter in chamber 3 of the Nine Chambers to follow Gimel is letter Lamed (ל), which is also 30 as a numeral. This has been sufficiently investigated previously when Samson was given the 30 'companions' at his wedding banquet. It could be added here that if letter Lamed, meaning 'ox-goad', is spelled out as למד, the letters total 74, that of דיין, dayan, 'judge (religious), chief, leader'.
The third Hebrew letter in chamber 3 is followed by letter Shin (ש), which in early counting represented numeral 300. This number also was investigated when Samson allegedly caught those 300 foxes (they're still running, by the way, until their little hearts burst). Here it could be added that when letter Shin is spelled out as שין, the letters total 360. One of the first thoughts that might surface with a Literal Qabalist is that 360º represents a full circle, a complete cycle of involution and evolution, or of 'going out' and 'returning'. And, that the idea of 'involution' was initially hinted by the next numeral in the series, 3,000. It was first brought to our attention when “three thousand men of Judah”4 came looking for Samson in his first withdrawal around the rock of Etam. Why would it take three thousand friends to approach another friend? Why, exactly, three thousand? Why a number at all? Why not just say “a group of Jews?” I mean, if it is just a story? But there we have it, a strange yet purposeful sequence in the guise of 3 people, 30 companions, 300 foxes, and 3,000 men of Judah.
I surmise this very intricate Qabalah. By Theosophical Reduction numeral 3,000 reverts back to number 3 and letter Gimel (ג), a full circle; the cycle of 360º hinted by the number from the spelling out of letter Shin. Only now, by the initial appearance of 3,000, it is hinting the involution stage of that cycle. We will come to the evolution side of the cycle at the end of the Samson drama.
However, presently we must come back to the Samson episode we left, from before the AIQ BKR commercial.
Samson is ebullient with faith in the Almighty. From the 3rd sphere, Binah, the flood from the Divine Soul rushes forth as described by Arthur E. Waite earlier: “...Its roots are AMK. It is the mother of Faith, which indeed emanates therefrom.” The Voice of Intuition (Gimel and number 3) waxes in strength through work and action implied by the number 30, then bursting with the fires of Chokmah implied by number 300, and expands ten-fold suggested by the number 3,000 into Samson's very Vital Soul as the Waters from the Universal Limitless Ocean of Living Light, אין סוף אור, Ain Soph Aur, the Third Veil of the Absolute. The waters Samson received from the “hollow place” is not drinking water for a physical body. The temurah of המכתש, makh'tesh, 'the hollow place', does not form another intelligible word, but the new number tallied after the interchange of letters sums to 133. To this we compare the gematria of other words, and the first to appear is מופז, mofaz, 'gleaming, glittering, shining', then יסודאבן, yesod aben, the 'Foundation Stone'. From the Latin Cabala Simplex appears Aqua Coelestis, the 'Heavenly Water'. These suggestions implied from the related gematria are all descriptions given Ain Soph Aur from various sources in Alchemical and Rosicrucian writings. Those who have seen it will not disagree. For those who have not there are no further explanations or descriptions that could possibly help to convince. Everything we can perceive by any method whatever comes from nowhere, the 'hollow place' of Ain, the First Veil of the Absolute. It fills the Boundless space, Ain Soph, the Second Veil of the Absolute, expanding outward in all directions, simultaneously, never ending. The Boundless is then filled with Its own essence, a “shimmering, glittering,” invisible ocean of a liquid Light Substance: Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent. A Triune God. It is a black light to all the senses from the physical side of our 'reality'. On the other side, prior any manifestation, it is brilliant as burning magnesium.
Samson calls out to the Almighty and (as translated into English versions) “water came out of it.” The Hebrew for this phrase is ויצאו ממנו מים, yatza mimenu mim. However, the middle Hebrew word, ממנו, mimenu, commonly translated as 'of it' is actually written 'from him'. Since this might have made no sense to the literal translators of modern languages completely unaware of Qabalah and its methods, it was accepted as 'of it'. All other translations into English towed the line. The gematria of mimenu sums to 136. The Rosicrucians and genuine Alchemists of their period had no problem mining the truth. Dei Gloria Intacta, the 'Untouchable Glory of God', and Deus Trinus, the 'Triune God' (Kether, Chokmah, and Binah) were phrases written by both groups in their instructive manuscripts. Each phrase sums to 136 by Latin Cabala Simplex.
Also in the phrase is, מים, mim, 'waters' (in the plural) which sums to 90. To this we can add Aqua Regis, 'Water of the King', and porta caeli, 'gate of heaven'. Each sums to 90. From the Hebrew comes מן, manna. This is the very Manna the Israelites received in the Sinai Dessert recorded in Exodus. Then there is דומם, domem, 'still, silent', summing to 90, as does finally, נולד, nolad, 'to be born'. A vision of the Inner Light given from the Almighty (out of the same “scintillating silence” suggested from Samson's parents) is the blessing of rebirth. This is the True Baptism of Water that reunites us with Christ, the King within. Ain Soph Aur, the inner ocean of Living Light has been identified by thousands of different terms through the centuries. However, the most common name given by all the sages and saints from time beyond memory has been simply, 'water'. The baptisms performed by various religious sects today are ridiculous shams compared to the genuine experience and actual meaning. The 'chosen' under the Christ Consciousness may be from all the ethnicity, faiths, races, and creeds under the Sun. Religion does not even enter into it. In fact, very many religions with their controlling dogma have the overall effect of retarding the experience.
So, for a Literal Qabalist, the actual translation and meaning would be “and the waters came out from him.” Seasoned Qabalists know exactly, as they have always known, from whence the Living Waters come. And these are the very waters for which Samson had earnestly beseeched and received out from the Almighty. His strength was returned and he was revived.
1 Three thousand comes up again at the end of Chapter 16 where it will be fully investigated.
2 AMK, 'thy Mother' sums to 61, that of אין, ain, 'not, no-thing', another way for Qabalists to say that 'mother substance and father wisdom' come from out of nothing and nowhere. Ain is the First Veil of the Absolute.
3 Counting also evolved in Hebrew. Later copies of the Old Testament spelled out the number. In Judges 15:15 where Samson killed a 1,000 men, the number is represented by spelling out א, as אלף איש, aleph aish, '1,000 men'.
4 Again, in very early Hebrew/Aramaic script this would be represented by a single, larger letter ג. In newer Bible versions consulted for this article, however, it is written out entirely as שלשת אלפים איש, sh'loshah alpayim aish, 'three thousand men'.