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One of the things that the modern reader of the Church Fathers might encounter while reading contemporary commentaries on their writings is the accusation of anti-semitism. In the wake of the holocaust, we tend to be very sensitive about anything that even has the appearance of saying something against the Jews. For example, St. Ambrose continues to elaborate on the story of Samson and the lion in the Introduction of the second book of his treatise On the Holy Spirit:

There are, however, who think on the other hand that the wedlock could not have been established unless the lion of the tribe of Judah had been slain; and so in His body, that is, the Church, bees were found who store up the honey of wisdom, because after the Passion of the Lord the apostles believed more fully. This lion, then, Samson as a Jew slew, but in it he found honey, as in the figure of the heritage which was to be redeemed, that the remnant might be saved according to the election of grace (Rom. 9:5).

We must be careful not to read statements like these anachronistically, but rather in context of when they were written. St. Ambrose is equating the lion to Christ. Thus, the killing of the lion is equated to the crucifixion and the honey to His resurrection.

Another factor to keep in mind is the expectation the Jews had for the Messiah. Reading John 6:15, we see that there was a widespread belief that the Messiah would be a political figure — a King of the line of David. In order to accept the reality of Jesus Christ — the crucified King of Glory — one must let go of this political Messiah and pick up the Cross. The killing of the lion of Judah can be understood to be the destruction of this political expectation in favor of the sweetness of the fruits of the Cross — where Christ leads us into the land of promise, a land of milk and honey.

Finally, note how St. Ambrose characterizes the function of the Church — the redemption of the heritage of the Jews. In other words, he is not characterizing the Jewish people as a group deserving our hatred or violence. Rather, we are the inheritors of their rich heritage — a heritage which bore the fruit of the Cross.