Milton's Joban Phoenix in Samson Agonistes

Sanford Budick
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Budick, Sanford. "Milton's Joban Phoenix in Samson Agonistes". Early Modern Literary Studies 11.2 (September, 2005) 5.1-15 <URL:>.

  1. In these pages I present a previously unnoticed referent for Milton's phoenix simile in Samson Agonistes: namely, Job 29:18 and the line of interpretation of that verse which emerged most vividly in Juan de Pineda's two volume Commentariorum in Iob, first published in 1598-1602 in Seville and very frequently reprinted in the first third of the seventeenth century.[1] It is surprising that this referent has not been identified before by Milton's editors since Joban parallelisms have a prominent role in Samson Agonistes and since well into the eighteenth century the Joban phoenix -- located in Job 29:18 -- was still being presented as a Christological center of attention in the symbolism of the book of Job as a whole. In fact, right from the beginning of the seventeenth century Pineda's Commentariorum in Iob made the Joban phoenix unforgettable with a striking hermeneutic illustration.[2] I suggest that without awareness of this topos and its illustration we miss an integral, even powerfully integrating, representational element of Samson Agonistes. Indeed, by missing Milton's Joban reference in the phoenix simile, and by assuming that his intended resonance here is largely pagan and/or secular, we have left the door open to considerable distortion of some of the play's largest meanings.

  2. I begin with some contextualization of what is at stake here for Milton criticism. To a great extent the last thirty years of interpretation of Samson Agonistes have been polarized between the views represented, on the one hand, by Mary Ann Radzinowicz, who sees the Samson of this work as Milton's representation of growth toward the highest ideals of humanity, and, on the other hand, by Joseph Wittreich, who sees Samson as a figure whose moral and spiritual stature Milton systematically subverts.[3] In Wittreich's view a prime example of such subversion is the phoenix simile, which, if it is subversive, must indeed be devastatingly "compromising of Samson's heroism," since without doubt the simile marks the rhetorical climax of the entire play. A large, perhaps even central part of Wittreich's claim for Milton's subversive intention in the phoenix simile is the negative historical claim that "except where there is textual corruption" (i.e., where David is mistakenly thought to invoke the phoenix, when he meant a palm tree) the phoenix "has no place in the Bible" -- by which Wittreich must mean that in the views of respected commentators the phoenix was never thought to have a place in the Bible. Building on the assumption that the phoenix was thought of as "something which does not exist, which has no reality to figure forth," he reasons (among other things) that "the irony inherent in the phoenix symbol" is that it is "a fable, a fiction, not an embodiment of reality or truth, neither an oracle of personal redemption nor of cultural renewal." What is left of truth in the phoenix image, he says, is a "regression … from phoenix back again to worm-serpent with wings … the noxious worm in the path of Jesus [in Paradise Regained] when his temptations commence."[4]

  3. Negative historical claims -- that is, about what did not exist or cannot be found -- are necessarily perilous. The evidence presented below shows positively that the phoenix was by one respected tradition of interpretation, and especially by one of the most authoritative and most frequently reprinted seventeenth-century commentators on Job, believed to have a revered place (that was certainly not a matter of textual corruption) in the Bible itself. Rather, by these interpreters the Joban phoenix was specifically represented both as a symbol of personal redemption and as an embodiment of cultural renewal. Wittreich has recently suggested that "Samson Agonistes is the major site of contestation within Milton studies, as well as a scene of instruction from which a new Milton criticism, once born, may take direction."[5] If that turns out to be the case it is unlikely that it will occur on the site of the phoenix of Samson Agonistes. Instead, we can begin to revive on that topos some of the older views once confidently held about Milton's affirmations of Samson's spiritual growth and redemption.

  4.  Wittreich's view of the phoenix of Samson Agonistes is summed up in the following statement: "This bird of paradise is here, not to mark the recovery of paradise but yet another loss of it; not to elide Samson and Christ but, instead, to sort the slayer of men and their savior into two very different traditions."[6] This view represents, or promotes, a splitting apart of the hybridization of Christian tradition with the revival of deep appreciation -- based on solid learning -- of other traditions. This hybridization of current with revived traditions, of course, is what gave the Renaissance its name, hence the Christian Humanism that rediscovered Greco-Roman learning and the Christian Hebraism that rediscovered Hebraic learning. Milton's poetry, to say the least, has usually been thought to be inspired by these revivals and these hybridizations, which, indeed, have been regarded by many as a primary source of the intellectual creativity of the Renaissance in general.[7] I recall these perspectives here to keep them available for reflection when evidence is presented, but I do not require prior assent to any of them in order to demonstrate the particular manifestation of cultural hybridization that is my present subject. The Joban phoenix, both in its interpretive tradition and in Milton's use of it, itself concretely represents the vitality of this cultural hybridization.

  5. I propose that Milton's climactic emplacement of the Joban phoenix in Samson Agonistes both reenforces and derives strength from the Joban patterns and Joban ideals that Radzinowicz has highlighted in the Christian-Hebraic-Greek fabric of Milton's tragedy. Radzinowicz writes,
     Job's … question, "What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment," is the question of the first choral stasimon in Samson Agonistes; his conclusion is likewise their conclusion. … Milton was thinking profoundly about the meaning of the Book of Job … after the Restoration. His consideration of that book issued into the double ethical insights of Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes. … The stories of Job and of Samson … lead toward full moral awareness; their acts scarcely change. … Job and Samson … are types of the man of faith. … Milton defined the relationship between freedom and obedience, or liberty and service, and showed that Samson learns like Job to obey the God whom he has learned to understand. … Samson's behavior at the close of the play is unconstrained and free because it arises from his most rational inner prompting.[8]     
     Here is the extended phoenix simile in Samson Agonistes:

    Semichorus. But he though blind of sight,
    Despis'd and thought extinguish't quite,
    With inward eyes illuminated
    His fiery virtue rous'd
    From under ashes into sudden flame,
    And as an ev'ning Dragon came,
    Assailant on the perched roosts,
    And nests in order rang'd
    Of tame villatic Fowl; but as an Eagle
    His cloudless thunder bolted on thir heads.
    So virtue giv'n for lost,
    Deprest, and overthrown, as seem'd,
    Like that self-begott'n bird
    In the Arabian woods embost,
    That no second knows nor third,
    And lay erewhile a Holocaust,
    From out her ashy womb now teem'd,
    Revives, reflourishes, then vigorous most
    When most unactive deem'd,
    And though her body die, her fame survives,
    A secular bird ages of lives. (ll. 1687-1707)[9]  

  6. In the second half of the twentieth century a number of generations of Milton's readers grew up on the image of the phoenix from Joachim Camerarius's Symbolorum ac Emblematum. Politicorum Centuriae Quatuor (Mainz, 1697; first published 1596) that Merritt Y. Hughes prefixed to Samson Agonistes in his edition of Milton's poetry and prose.[10] While Camerarius does mention Christological similitudes in the phoenix, he does, indeed, present it mainly as a pagan, not a biblical image.[11]

  7. Far more closely relevant to Milton's play is the flourishing of Christian Hebraist interpretations of Job 29:18 that brought the Joban phoenix to life for Christian readers of the seventeenth century.[12] At the heart of these interpretations is the proliferation of richly complementary meanings that turn upon three translations of the word chol -- as phoenix, palm tree, or sand -- in Job 29:18. The Hebrew verse

    is rendered in the AV as
    Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand [chol]      
    and in the Douay-Rheims as
    And I said: I shall die in my nest, and as a palm tree [chol] shall multiply my days.
    The Jewish commentator, Rashi (well known by Christian commentators and himself working from a long line of Jewish interpretation), had identified the chol as the phoenix: “This is a bird whose name is chol, upon which the punishment of death was not decreed because it did not taste of the Tree of Knowledge. At the end of a thousand years it renews itself and returns to its youth."[13]

  8. For interpretation of Job 29:18 in Milton's time what was most important, in addition to the identification of Hebrew chol with the phoenix, were the translations of the Hebrew word in the Septuagint and the Vulgate. Jerome rendered the Septuagint phoinikos -- which, in turn, could be taken to mean either phoenix or palm tree -- as palma:

    dicebamque in nidulo meo moriar et sicut palma [chol] multiplicabo dies.
    The Christian Hebraist commentators realized that the translations sand as well as palm tree were by themselves clearly inadequate not only to the preceding phrase "in my nest" in verse 29:18 itself but also to 19:25-26 which strongly imply something like the reborn phoenix:

    Job 19:25
    For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth [literally dust]:

    Job 19:26

     AV (where the words in italics were added to indicate interpolations)
     And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.

  9. By reviving Rashi's interpretation of chol as phoenix and, correlatively, by recalling the reading of the Septuagint phoinikos as phoenix, which Jerome had neglected, the Christian Hebraists generated the possibilities of a multiple and interactive interpretation of the verse. I would emphasize that what characterizes the high points of Christian Hebraist interpretation is precisely the avoidance of insistence on any one interpretation and the compounding, instead, of different interpretive traditions, thus opening up multiplex significations. As an exemplary instance of such hermeneutics, the multi-layered and deeply multi-cultural interpretation of the Joban phoenix is itself a manifold emblem of the rebirth that Milton represents in the Christian-Hebraic-Greek Samson Agonistes as a whole.

  10. Perspective on the prominence of the Joban phoenix in Milton's era is conveniently provided by the most respected Job commentary of the early eighteenth century, Albrecht Schultens's Liber Jobi (Leiden, 1737). As authority for finding the phoenix in the word chol of Job 29:18, Schultens draws upon a large number of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Christian Hebraists -- including  Drusius, Grotius, Pineda, and Vatablus -- who, as Schultens notes, directly or indirectly revived the commentary of "Salomon" (=Rabbi Shlomo/Solomon Yitzhaki=Rashi). In addition Schultens spectacularly foregrounds the centrality of this topos by presenting an identical illustration of it on the title pages of both volumes of his commentary. Here is the title page of volume two, together with an enlargement of the illustration which contains, in its inscription, the references to the biblical verses upon which the Joban phoenix revives -- and dies and is reborn: "Job. 29 18.19 / goali chai [= my redeemer liveth, Job 19:25] / Job. 19:25":

    Figure 1

    Figure 2

    In this interpretation the phoenix is necessarily contiguous with, or the counterpart of, the diuturnal palm tree because of Job 29:19, a verse which Schultens's inscription also specifies:
    My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch.
    Both the phoenix and the palm tree have years as innumerable as the sand. The phoenix and palm represented here are Job's hope for personal redemption. Like the living Redeemer, who is reborn and brings the promise of redemption, the phoenix dies but is eternally reborn.[14]

  11. For us it is of particular interest that the Joban phoenix emerged brilliantly in Milton's own time. With Schultens's magisterial perspective on the interpretations of two centuries of his predecessors he was certainly not proposing something eccentric in placing the Joban phoenix on his title pages. He could count on knowledgeable readers to recognize that he was only repeating the foregrounding of the Joban phoenix in the extraordinarily vivid crystallization of this interpretation, with its illustration, in what was after all one of the best known Job commentaries of the early seventeenth century, Pineda's Commentariorum in Iob. Schultens directly reproduces the emphasis on personal redemption that characterizes Pineda's approach.[15] In expressing that emphasis, Pineda's Commentariorum includes a full page illustration highlighting the Joban phoenix and the palm tree on either side of a Joban monument. Here is that illustration from the 1612 edition, together with an enlargement of the top half of the page:[16]

    Figure 3

    Figure 4

  12. In this illustration, which concludes Pineda's entire Commentariorum, we see how his interpretation of Job 29:18 leaps up, exactly and exactingly, as hybridization: the Hebraic phoenix ("post R. Salomonem … quod sequuntur Tygurina et Caietanus … de quo diximus supra cap. 19. vers. 25") rises from the nest of the Vulgate Latin "in nidulo meo" while facing the palm tree of the Septuagint Greek "
    These things are obvious to those who do what the monument itself directs: "HOSPES ASTA, ET PELLEGE" -- "FRIEND STAND NEAR, AND READ CAREFULLY."[17] The phoinikos as bird and as palm tree are thus represented as complementary elements of the same diuturnal spirit which is as much that of Christ the redeemer as of the Job who (in the language of the monument) is both "patient" and "triumphant."

  13. It seems possible that Milton is following other details of this illustration, or its tradition, when he has Manoa say,
               there will I build him
    A Monument and plant it round with shade
    Of Laurel ever green, and branching Palm,
    With all his Trophies hung, and Acts enroll'd
    In copious Legend.[18] (1733-37)  
    In this context of describing the monument, "Legend" may be Milton's term not principally for the many stories concerning Samson (the OED gives the sense of stories for Milton's usage in this verse) but rather, more technically and precisely, for the inscription on the monument itself; here "copious" would then mean plentiful in language (for this sense the OED instances Marvell in 1672). In the illustration of the Joban monument in Pineda's Commentariorum the legend is indeed densely copious in just this way.[19] In fact, this heavily inscribed stone monument is a fulfillment of Job's wish (cried out just before he says, "For I know that my redeemer liveth"): "Oh that my words were now written! … that they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!" (Job 19:23-24). The resemblance between the monuments in the Commentariorum illustration and in Milton's verses may extend, as well, to the "Laurel ever green, and branching Palm," which Manoa says he will plant around the monument of Samson. The illustration in Pineda shows (beside the monument of Job) the branching palm together with shrubs of evergreen laurel growing at the base of the palm.[20]

  14. On the unnumbered page accompanying the illustration, Pineda explains the relation of the Joban monument to the Joban phoenix and palm. He describes the Joban pyramid as a "Monumentum vero non solum ad viri sanctissimi, sed ad Resurrectionis cum Redemptore memoriam … vt qui olim resurrecturus esset cum Ipso Christo Iesu resurgente, vt diximus cap 19.vers. 25.26." He concludes with the remark that the monument is therefore appropriately joined to the representation, based on 29:18, of the "duobus Symbolis, tum Resurrectionis, tum vitae foelicissimae, ac diuturnae… videlicet Phoenicis Arabicae, ex se ipsa reuiuiscentit; & Palmae Syriacae, suo trunco annos innumeros numerantis, quae nos accurate exposuimus, super id versicul.18." Pineda's placement of his account of this illustration as the conclusion of his entire commentary is thus his ultimate identification of the Joban phoenix specifically as a symbol of Christian, personal redemption. This was the redemption that he, and his tradition of interpretation, saw coming back to life within the compound figurations of Job 29:18.   

  15. Placed within its line of interpretation, Pineda's intellectually rich, visually spectacular, and widely available representation of the Joban phoenix suggests that Milton would have expected his readers to understand the placement of the phoenix simile as the climax of Samson's personal redemption in Samson Agonistes. This is to say that Milton's Joban phoenix is his logical continuation and crowning of the parallelism between Job and Samson, as well as between Christ and Samson, not only in Samson Agonistes but in the 1671 volume as a whole.


[1]  I presented the core of these materials in May 2005 at the Ben-Gurion University conference on "Religious Cultures in the Early Modern Period" organized by Chanita Goodblatt. I am grateful to Lawrence Besserman, Noam Flinker, Assa Gibouri, William Kolbrenner, Albert Labriola, and Jason Rosenblatt for their comments on that occasion. The research for this article was supported by a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

[2]  Besides the 1598-1602 Seville edition of Pineda's Commentariorum in Iob there were (at least) editions of one or both volumes in 1600 (Cologne), 1602-04 (Venice), 1603-1605 (Cologne), 1608 (Venice), 1612 (Antwerp), 1613-14 (Cologne), and three separate editions in 1631 (all in Paris, by three different printers), in addition to editions at the end of the century. For help in locating these editions of Pineda's Commentariorum, and/or obtaining illustrations from them, I wish to thank Anna Agostini of the Biblioteca Capitolare Fabroniana, Pistoia, Massimo Bernabò of the University of Siena, Sabine Volk-Birke, Dieter Lasske, and Melinda Palmer of the University of Halle, Jan Martin of Trinity College, Oxford, Jodie Lister of the Bodleian Library, Oxford, Renana Shvil-Tobi of the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, Father Pawel Trzopek of the Bibliothèque Dominicains St. Etienne de l'Ecole Biblique, Jerusalem, and Christian Hogrefe of the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel. Figure 2 below, from Pineda's Commentariorum in Iob, is reproduced by permission of the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel. In all the editions that I have seen, the illustration, though drawn by many different artists, adheres strictly to the same details, down to minutiae.

[3]  The books in which their views are principally presented are Radzinowicz's Toward Samson Agonistes: The Growth of Milton's Mind (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978) and Wittreich's Interpreting Samson Agonistes (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986). Wittreich's interpretation of the phoenix simile appears in his Shifting Contexts: Reinterpreting Samson Agonistes (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 2002), pp. 261-68, 278-82.

[4]  Wittreich, Shifting Contexts, pp. 261-67. In fairness to Wittreich one should note that, as he repeatedly says (e.g., pp. 278, 280-81), he is following New Historicist and Deconstructionist models in deconstructing the image of the phoenix and the figure of Samson in Samson Agonistes. Yet Wittreich does not deconstruct (from the same volume of 1671) the image of Christ in Paradise Regained. The theoretical basis for selective deconstruction is mysterious. In passing it is worth commenting on a related matter: Wittreich, Shifting Contexts, p. 265 and n., asserts that the phoenix simile is built on "traditions and connotations" that are "secular, not sacred" and fixes the outer limit of possible biblical authority for the phoenix in The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, which is indeed of marginal significance for the tradition of phoenix interpretation. Yet we should note that Clement, too, offers a connection between the phoenix and Job, though only by analogy and not in relation to Job 29:18. See The Two Epistles to the Corinthians, trans. by J. B. Lightfoot (London: Macmillan, 1869), xxv-xxvi.

[5]  Altering Eyes: New Perspectives on Samson Agonistes, ed. Mark R. Kelley and Joseph Wittreich (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2002), p. 11.

[6]  Wittreich, Shifting Contexts, p. 263.

[7]  We can restore appreciation of Renaissance hybridization by viewing it from the perspective of recent theoretical discourses such as Lisa Lowe's account of hybridization as an antidote to cultural hegemony in her "Heterogeneity, Hybridity, Multiplicity: Marking Asian-American Differences," in Diaspora, 1 (1991): 24-44.

[8]  Radzinowicz, Toward Samson Agonsites, pp. 254-62; see also pp. 231-35, where Radzinowicz refers to the Joban framework that Barbara Lewalski demonstrated in Paradise Regained in Milton's Brief Epic (Providence: Brown University Press, 1966), especially pp. 10-36.

[9]  I cite Milton's verse from The Complete Poems and Major Prose of John Milton, ed. Merritt Y. Hughes (New York: Odyssey Press, 1957), p. 548. In the context of the present discussion it is perhaps worth pointing out that, of course, the word secular in line 1707 does not have its modern sense of that which is in opposition with sacred, but rather -- and here even to the contrary -- "living or lasting for an age or ages" (OED 6, for which Milton's usage here is cited), that is, miraculously enduring "ages of lives."

[10]  Complete Poems and Major Prose of John Milton, ed. Hughes, p. 548. For the principal sources of Milton's phoenix simile in Samson Agonistes that have been noted heretofore, see John Milton, Complete Shorter Poems, ed. John Carey, second edition (London: Longman, 1997) and Anthony Low, "The Phoenix and the Sun in Samson Agonistes." Milton Studies, 14 (1980), pp. 219-31.

[11]  Joachim Camerarius, Symbola et Emblemata (Nürnberg 1590 bis 1604), facsimile reprint ed. Wolfgang Harms and Ulla-Britta Kuechen (Graz, Austria: Akademische Druck- u.Verlagsanstalt, 1986). Camerarius surveys the Christological interpretations of the phoenix (without any mention of Job) on page 101vo of Centuria III (1596).

[12]  George Sajo, "Phoenix on the Top of the Palm Tree: Multiple Interpretations of Job 29:18," Silva 3, February 8, 2005 (; no page or paragraph numbers) has sketched various aspects of these interpretations but he does not describe the way in which -- most significantly, in my view -- diverse elements were frequently brought together, and left merely contiguous, to remarkable effect. Correlative to this omission, with regard to Pineda's Commentariorum in Job Sajo strangely enough takes no notice of the phoenix-palm-pyramid illustration of the seventeenth-century editions and instead instances the title page illustration of the 1733 edition which in fact does not show a phoenix but rather (in accordance with the printer's caption, "Sub signo Gryphi") a gryphon, in other words a creature half eagle and half lion. To Sajo's canvassing of influential continental commentaries that discuss the Joban phoenix we should add that in Milton's place and time there certainly was explicit awareness of these commentaries, as we see in Sir Thomas Browne's sanctioning of the phoenix reading of Job 29:18 in Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1646; 6th ed., London, 1672), III:xii, pp. 144-149 and Joseph Caryl's insistence (despite those commentaries) on the AV translation of chol as sand, in An Exposition with Practicall Observations continued upon the twenty-seventh, the twenty-eighth, and twenty-ninth chapters of the Booke of Job (London, 1657), pp. 567-568.

[13]  As both Pineda and Schultens indicate, Rashi's commentaries on individual verses were cited, or drawn upon, with great frequency. A Latin translation of his commentary on Job is contained in R. Salomonis Jarchi, Rashi dicti, commentarius Hebraicus, in Prophetas maiores et minores, ut et Hiobum et Psalmos, Latine versus, cum duobus vetustissimis codicibus mstis membranaceis collatus, trans. and ed. Johann Friedrich Breithaupt (Gotha, 1713). I have here translated literally from the Hebrew.

[14]  Copies of Schultens's Liber Jobi are still widely available in libraries throughout Europe. Figure 1, from this commentary, is reproduced by courtesy of The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary, New York.

[15]  In Pineda's "Paraphrasis" of 29:18 his way (part of which Sajo cites) of associating the phoenix even with an intimately personal redemption is worth citing at some length: "Haec vero tanta mei populi pax, atque felicitas, non solum aliis vitam efficiebat iucundissimam, sed mihi etiam, cui cuncti bene, ac feliciter precabantur, felicem pollicebatur senectutem, tranquillam denique, nec non iucundissimam mortem; et, quod raro evincere solet, sperabam fore, ut sine ulla felicitatis vicissitudine, omnes longissimae vitae partes, aetatesque percurrerem: tandemque nulla vitae difficultate impedirer, sed leniter, nullo aegritudinis, dolorisve sensu prae senio deficirem, et liberis meis stipatus, domi meae, in lecto meo, in illo ipso arcis praecelso loco, tamquam in sublimi nido, extremum spiritum edens, e vivis evolarem. * [et sicut palma multiplicabo dies.] Firma quoque spe sustentabar fore, ut non minus diuturnam vitam ducerem, quam phoenix, cuius est vita longissima; aut quam palma, in cuius trunco multi anni ex decidentibus annuatim ramis numerari possunt." "Indeed this so very great peace and happiness of my people rendered not only the lives of other people most pleasant, but also gave me, for whom everyone prayed for well being and happiness, the promise of a happy and quiet old age and also of a pleasant death; and, a thing that rarely happens, I hoped that I shall pass through all parts and ages of a very long life without vicissitudes: and finally I shall not be hindered by hardship, but softly, without ill-health or pain, I shall depart before senility, and breathe my last and fly away from among the living surrounded by my children [disciples, students], in my home, in my bed, in this very lofty citadel, as if in a nest high up. [and as the palm I shall multiply my days] And I shall also be sustained by the hope, that I shall not pass a life less long than that of the phoenix, whose life is the longest; or the palm-tree, on whose trunk it is possible to count the many years by the annually dropping branches" (from a translation by Joseph Geiger).

[16]  The numbering of pages in the seventeenth-century editions of the Commentariorum in Iob varies, depending on whether it is continuous between volumes one and two. In the 1612 edition the illustration appears, without page number, after page 1206.

[17] Directly or indirectly this recalls the famous ancient epitaph on a woman named Claudia. See "Epitaph of Claudia" (anonymous (150 B.C. [?])  in The Oxford Book of Latin Verse, ed. Heathcote William Garrod (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1912).

[18]  The "or sweet Lyric Song" which completes line 1737 presumably does not belong to the description of the monument itself but is imagined as being performed beside the monument, as on the "feastful days" when the young will "visit his Tomb" (1741-42).

[19]  Given his emphasis on a personal trajectory of suffering (and of God's initial turning away from the sufferer) that leads to personal redemption, it is not surprising that Pineda identified at least part of Samson's story with Job's. Pineda glosses Job 18:7 with Judges 16:20-21.

[20]  Here the evergreen laurel is specifically part of the Joban symbolism of rebirth: mentioned in verse 42:14 and inscribed on the monument, "Cassia," Job's second, new-born daughter, is named for the kezia / cassia laurel (sometimes identified as the cassia cinnamon).

Works Cited

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