Samson’s Marriage. 1 Samson went down to Timnah and he saw a Philistine woman in Timnah. 2 When he returned, he told his father and his mother, “I have seen a woman in Timnah, a Philistine. Arrange for her to be my wife.” 3 His father and his mother answered, “Is there no maiden among your relatives or your countrymen that you would go to take a wife from among the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is the one I want.” 4 (His father and his mother did not know that this was the Lord’s plan. He was seeking an opportunity to oppose the Philistines, for the Philistines were ruling over Israel.)[a]
5 Samson went down to Timnah with his father and his mother. As they were approaching the vineyards of Timnah, a young roaring lion came toward them. 6 The Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and he tore it apart with his bare hands as if he were tearing apart a young goat. He told his father and his mother not to tell anyone what he had done.
7 They went down and talked with the woman, and Samson liked her. 8 Sometime later, when he went down to marry her, he stepped off the road to look at the lion’s carcass. There was a bee’s nest and some honey in the lion’s carcass. 9 He took some of it in his hands, and ate it along the way. When he rejoined his father and his mother, he gave them some to eat, but he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the carcass of the lion.
10 His father went down to see the woman. Samson prepared a feast there, as is the custom among young men. 11 When they met him, they brought in thirty companions to be with him. 12 Samson said to them, “I will give you a riddle. If you can figure it out and solve it for me during these seven days of celebration, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing. 13 If you cannot solve it, then you will have to give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing.” They answered him, “Tell us your riddle. Let’s hear it.” 14 He told them, “From out of the eater came forth something to eat, from out of the strong one came something sweet.” For three days they could not figure out the riddle.
15 On the fourth day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax Samson to explain the riddle for us, or else we will burn you and your father’s house. Did you invite us here to rob us?” 16 Samson’s wife came to him crying and she said, “You hate me. You don’t really love me. You posed a riddle to my people, and you did not explain it to me.” He told her, “I have not even explained it to my father or my mother; why should I explain it to you?”
17 She cried before him for the entire seven days of the celebration. On the seventh day he finally told her, for she had worn him out, and she explained the riddle to her people. 18 On the seventh day, before sunset, the men from the city said to him, “What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?” He said to them, “You would not have figured out my riddle if you had not plowed with my heifer.”[b] 19 Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him. He went down to Ashkelon and he killed thirty men there. He took their belongings and gave a change of clothing to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with rage, he went back to his father’s home. 20 Samson’s wife was given to his friend who had been his best man.
- Judges 14:4 Although Samson is filled with the Spirit (Jdg 13:25) he is a sinful man who marries a heathen woman against God’s will. The spiritual writer indicates that God will use this transgression to defeat the Philistines. This is the good news!
- Judges 14:18 The riddle refers to the incident related in verses 8-9.