A team of archaeologists has discovered an ancient artefact that some believe may lend credence to the existence of the Biblical figure Samson.
Israeli excavation directors Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz and Dr. Zvi Lederman of Tel Aviv University found a small, circular seal just outside Jerusalem in the Beit Shemesh tell in the Judaean Hills, which supports Samson’s powerful story.
The seal depicts a feline figure attacking a human, who sports what appears to be long hair, a newspaper reported.
The piece was excavated in a layer of earth, which dates to the 11th century, when the Jews were ruled by Judges, including Samson.
Samson, as the Bible has it, maintained superhuman strength given to him by God in his long tresses. He discovered this power after killing a lion with his bare hands.
Samson also battled the Philistines.
According to the Telegraph, tellingly this seal was discovered near the ancient border between the territory of the Israelites and the Philistines.
In the Bible, Samson’s strength is captured by the seductive Delilah, who ultimately cuts the man’s long hair and facilitates his imprisonment by the Philistines.
Despite these circumstances, Bunimovitz and Lederman do not claim that the figure on the seal is necessarily “the” Samson.
Rather, they use the object to argue that the people living in the area where it was discovered had a story about a man strong enough to fight a lion.
According to Israeli’s daily newspaper Haaretz, this story, they posit, eventually wound its way into the Bible.