Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

The "Spirit of Yhwh" and Samson's martial rage: a Leitmotif of the biblical warrior tradition

Johnson, Dylan 2021. The "Spirit of Yhwh" and Samson's martial rage: a Leitmotif of the biblical warrior tradition. Vetus Testamentum 72 (2) , pp. 214-236. 10.1163/15685330-bja10060

[thumbnail of Johnson-The Spirit of Yahweh and Samson's Martial Rage.pdf]
PDF - Accepted Post-Print Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (419kB) | Preview


In Judg 14–15, the source of Samson’s strength is not his uncut hair, but the רוח־יהוה. A Leitmotif of the biblical warrior tradition, the רוח־יהוה is a corporealized metaphor of fiery anger that envelops Samson and grants him great power. This motif was adapted from early biblical poetry, in which Yhwh’s wrath erupted as a fiery breath (רוח) against his cosmic foes. This study explores how the historical context of Judg 14–15 informs the use of this motif, comparing the רוח־יהוה with similar concepts of martial anger in Near Eastern and Greek warrior traditions. Like Mesopotamian melammu and Greek μηνις, the רוח־יהוה was part of a corporeal code that enabled ancient minds to think about the relations between mortals and divine beings in the context of battle.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers
ISSN: 0042-4935
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 October 2022
Date of Acceptance: 17 December 2020
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 18:19

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics