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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Judges

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FRAMEWORKS: Judges 14: Samson's Marriage


v.1-4 Samson's desires a Philistine wife

v.5-7 The Spirit gives him strength to kill a lion

v.8-11 Samson eats honey & then goes to the Philistines to marry

v.12-14 Samsons sets a riddle for the Philistines

v.15-18 Samson's new wife is pressurized to find the answer

v.19,20 Samson kills his first Philistines



v.1-4 Samson's desires a Philistine wife


v.1 Samson went down to Timnah [probably in the southern hill country of Judah on the edge of Philistia, east of Ekron and north-east of Gath, two major Philistine towns] and saw there a young Philistine woman.

v.2 When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.”

v.3 His father and mother replied, “Isn't there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?”

But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She's the right one for me.”

v.4 (His parents did not know that this was from the Lord , who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)


[Notes: When Samson grows up, perhaps because the Lord stirred him [see 13:25] and he became interested in the Philistines, and he goes down to a Philistine town and sees a woman who he wants as his wife. [Clearly with no sense of God's calling as part of a holy nation!] He is not put off by his parents' protests. His first disobedience of the Law and Moses' instructions.]



v.5-7 The Spirit gives him strength to kill a lion


v.5 Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him.

v.6  The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him [first time] so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done.

v.7 Then he went down and talked with the woman, and he liked her.


[Notes: The family go down to Timnah and on the way the Lord gives him strength and courage to kill an attacking lion but without his parents knowing. They go on and he meets up with the woman and there are presumably arrangements made for him to marry her.]



v.8-11 Samson eats honey & then goes to the Philistines to marry


v.8 Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion's carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey.

v.9 He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion's carcass.

v.10 Now his father went down to see the woman. And there Samson held a feast, as was customary for young men.

v.11 When the people saw him, they chose thirty men to be his companions.


[Notes: On his way back down for the wedding, he comes across the lion's carcass and sees that bees have made a nest in it with plenty of honey, which he takes and eats – despite the Law forbidding a Nazirite to touch a dead body [Num 6:6], his second disregard for the Law. This will become significant in what follows. They hold a wedding feast.]



v.12-14 Samsons sets a riddle for the Philistines


v.12 “Let me tell you a riddle,” Samson said to them. “If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.

v.13 If you can't tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.”

“Tell us your riddle,” they said. “Let's hear it.”

v.14 He replied,

“Out of the eater, something to eat;
     out of the strong, something sweet.”

For three days they could not give the answer.


[Notes: Samson provokes the Philistine young men with a riddle [based on the dead lion] which they cannot answer.]



v.15-18 Samson's new wife is pressurized to find the answer


v.15 On the fourth day, they said to Samson's wife, “Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father's household to death. Did you invite us here to steal our property?”

v.16 Then Samson's wife threw herself on him, sobbing, “You hate me! You don't really love me. You've given my people a riddle, but you haven't told me the answer.”

“I haven't even explained it to my father or mother,” he replied, “so why should I explain it to you?”

v.17 She cried the whole seven days of the feast. So on the seventh day he finally told her, because she continued to press him. She in turn explained the riddle to her people.

v.18 Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to him,

“What is sweeter than honey?
     What is stronger than a lion?”

Samson said to them,

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
     you would not have solved my riddle.”


[Notes: The Philistines pressurize his new wife, under threat, to get him to tell the answer. The feast lasts for at least seven days, every day of which she cries because he will not tell her. Eventually Samson gives in and tells her and she tells her people.]



v.19,20 Samson kills his first Philistines


v.19 Then the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. [second time] He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of everything and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he returned to his father's home.

v.20  And Samson's wife was given to one of his companions who had attended him at the feast.


[Notes: Intriguingly the Spirit comes on Samson with strength and that, with his anger at her disloyalty to him, results him going to another Philistine city to kill thirty other men to get what was required from losing the riddle. These are the first Philistines he has killed. This has also been the first time his love for a woman has caused him to confront the Philistines.]