Regina Spektor’s contribution to the underrepresented lyrical genre of speculative historical romance suggests, from the perspective of Delilah, that the story could have ended differently:
Samson came to my bed
Told me that my hair was red
Told me I was beautiful and came into my bed
Oh I cut his hair myself one night
A pair of dull scissors in the yellow light
And he told me that I’d done alright
And kissed me ’til the mornin’ light…
Samson went back to bed
Not much hair left on his head
Ate a slice of wonderbread and went right back to bed
Oh, we couldn’t bring the columns down
Yeah we couldn’t destroy a single one
And history books forgot about us
And the bible didn’t mention us, not even once…
I find it entirely plausible that Delilah’s best chance to solve the interpersonal problems in her relationship with Samson lay in eliminating his superhuman strength at a much earlier stage, to make him a character not worth writing about. Would Samson have been personally better off in the long run as an Israelite family man with a Philistine bride and a buzz cut? Possibly so, although it might have been a setback for the strategic objectives of his nation.
There are other figures in the scriptures who could have avoided their place in the story, for good or for ill. We might, for example, know of Cain only as Abel’s brother, with whom he traded several bushels of grain for a few sheep. On the other hand, we might have read in the Old Testament, “And the children of Israel of the tribe of Ephraim that were led away captive to Babylon were Lehi and all his household….” If he had lived to 85 years of age as a prosperous New England farmer, Joseph Smith could have avoided the jails of Liberty and Carthage, but he would not warrant so much as a footnote in local histories today.
When is obscurity the best possible outcome, and when is it a sin of omission?