Judges 14

Judges 14

Samson’s Marriage

14 Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. Then he came up and told his father and mother, “I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. Now get her for me as my wife.” But his father and mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.”

His father and mother did not know that it was from the LORD, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel.

Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah, and they came to the vineyards of Timnah. And behold, a young lion came toward him roaring. Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. Then he went down and talked with the woman, and she was right in Samson’s eyes.

After some days he returned to take her. And he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion, and behold, there was a swarm of bees in the body of the lion, and honey. He scraped it out into his hands and went on, eating as he went. And he came to his father and mother and gave some to them, and they ate. But he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey from the carcass of the lion.

His father went down to the woman, and Samson prepared a feast there, for so the young men used to do. As soon as the people saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him. And Samson said to them, “Let me now put a riddle to you. If you can tell me what it is, within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes, but if you cannot tell me what it is, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Put your riddle, that we may hear it.” And he said to them,

  “Out of the eater came something to eat.
  Out of the strong came something sweet.”

And in three days they could not solve the riddle.

On the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband to tell us what the riddle is, lest we burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us here to impoverish us?” And Samson’s wife wept over him and said, “You only hate me; you do not love me. You have put a riddle to my people, and you have not told me what it is.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told my father nor my mother, and shall I tell you?” She wept before him the seven days that their feast lasted, and on the seventh day he told her, because she pressed him hard. Then she told the riddle to her people. And the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,

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

And he said to them,

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

And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and struck down thirty men of the town and took their spoil and gave the garments to those who had told the riddle. In hot anger he went back to his father’s house. And Samson’s wife was given to his companion, who had been his best man.


Judges 14 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Samson’s story is a difficult one to nail down. On one hand, we see him as an impulsive, selfish brute. On the other, it seems that he was used by God to lure in the Philistines.

However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the LORD, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.

Judges 14:4 NASB

It seems as if the Lord was seeking a confrontation with the Philistines, and Samson fit the bill. We are given no indication that Samson or his parents are privy to this knowledge. To them, it is as simple as it sounds. “I want that woman, so get her for me.”

However, God knew Samson’s temperament and character so it would seem that He would use this occasion as an opportunity. Something had to give with the Israelite-Philistine relations, and this would be just the event to do it.

Another interesting theme from this chapter is how the Spirit “rushes” upon Samson. Unlike the other judges which the Spirit “came upon” (Gideon, Jephthah), Samson’s encounter seems much more powerful and dramatic. This description is given twice in this chapter and once in Judges 15. Not only that, but he uses no weapons when he battles the lion. He tears it in two pieces with his bare hands. It’s almost too insane to believe. Once the Spirit rushes him, he turns into some kind of wild beast! It reminds me a little of the story of King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4.

Samson’s parents are becoming marginalized, but Samson himself is harnessed by God. Though his parents were his connection and accountability to the Nazirite vow, he would slowly begin distancing himself from their watchful eye. This lion encounter is the beginning of that marginalization. Somehow, even though they are traveling together, Samson manages to kill this lion when they aren’t around, and, to our knowledge, he never tells them about it.

To me, it is a powerful analogy of God’s sovereignty. He had tagged Samson as the vessel he would use for Israel’s benefit. Yes, there would be consequences for Samson’s choices, but the Lord would continue to steer him for His glory. In many ways, it’s absolutely mind-boggling.

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