Judges 14

1 Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 He came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, “I have seen a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines. Now therefore get her for me as my wife.” 3 Then his father and his mother said to him, “Isn’t there a woman amongst your brothers’ daughters, or amongst all my people, that you go to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines?” Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she pleases me well.” 4 But his father and his mother didn’t know that it was of the LORD; for he sought an occasion against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines ruled over Israel. 5 Then went Samson down with his father and his mother to Timnah, and came to the vineyards of Timnah; and behold, a young lion roared against him. 6 the LORD’s Spirit came mightily on him, and he tore him as he would have torn a young goat; and he had nothing in his hand, but he didn’t tell his father or his mother what he had done. 7 He went down, and talked with the woman, and she pleased Samson well. 8 After a while 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. 9 He took it into his hands, and went on, eating as he went. He came to his father and mother, and gave to them, and they ate, but he didn’t tell them that he had taken the honey out of the lion’s body. 10 His father went down to the woman; and Samson made a feast there, for the young men used to do so. 11 When they saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him. 12 Samson said to them, “Let me tell you a riddle now. If you can declare it to me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing; 13 but if you can’t declare it to me, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing.” They said to him, “Tell us your riddle, that we may hear it.” 14 He said to them, “Out of the eater came out food. Out of the strong came out sweetness.” They couldn’t in three days declare the riddle. 15 On the seventh day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband, that he may declare to us the riddle, lest we burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you called us to impoverish us? Isn’t that so?” 16 Samson’s wife wept before him, and said, “You just hate me, and don’t love me. You’ve told a riddle to the children of my people, and haven’t told it to me.” He said to her, “Behold, I haven’t told my father or my mother, so why should I tell you?” 17 She wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted; and on the seventh day, he told her, because she pressed him severely; and she told the riddle to the children of her people. 18 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?” He said to them, “If you hadn’t plowed with my heifer, you wouldn’t have found out my riddle.” 19 the LORD’s Spirit came mightily on him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and struck thirty men of them, and took their plunder, then gave the changes of clothing to those who declared the riddle. His anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house. 20 But Samson’s wife was given to his companion who had been his friend.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–4

As far as Samson’s marriage was a common case, it was weak and foolish of him to set his affections upon a daughter of the Philistines. Shall one, not only an Israelite, but a Nazarite, devoted to the Lord, covet to become one with a worshipper of Dagon? It does not appear that he had any reason to think her wise or virtuous, or any way likely to be a help meet for him; but he saw something in her agreeable to his fancy. He that, in the choice of a wife, is only guided by his eye, and governed by his fancy, must afterwards thank himself if he find a Philistine in his arms. Yet it was well done not to proceed till Samson had made his parents acquainted with the matter. Children ought not to marry, nor to move towards it, without the advice and consent of their parents. Samson’s parents did well to dissuade him from yoking himself unequally with unbelievers. It seems that it pleased God to leave Samson to follow his own inclinations, intending to bring out good from his conduct; and his parents consented, because he was bent upon it. However, his example is not recorded for us to do likewise.

Verses 5–9

By enabling him to kill a lion, God let Samson know what he could do in the strength of the Spirit of the Lord, that he might never be afraid to look the greatest difficulties in the face. He was alone in the vineyards, whither he had rambled. Young people consider not how they exposed themselves to the roaring lion that seeks to devour, when they wander from their prudent, pious parents. Nor do men consider what lions lurk in the vineyards, the vineyards of red wines. Our Lord Jesus having conquered Satan, that roaring lion, believers, like Samson, find honey in the carcass abundant strength and satisfaction, enough for themselves, and for all their friends.

Verses 10–20

Samson’s riddle literally meant no more than that he had got honey, for food and for pleasure, from the lion, which in its strength and fury was ready to devour him. But the victory of Christ over Satan, by means of his humiliation, agonies, and death, and the exaltation that followed to him, with the glory thence to the Father, and spiritual advantages to his people, seem directly alluded to. And even death, that devouring monster, being robbed of his sting, and stripped of his horror, forwards the soul to the realms of bliss. In these and other senses, out of the eater comes forth meat, and out of the strong, sweetness. Samson’s companions obliged his wife to get the explanation from him. A worldly wife, or a worldly friend, is to a godly man as an enemy in the camp, who will watch every opportunity to betray him. No union can be comfortable or lasting, where secrets cannot be intrusted, without danger of being divulged. Satan, in his temptations, could not do us the mischief he does, if he did not plough with the heifer of our corrupt nature. His chief advantage against us arises from his correspondence with our deceitful hearts and inbred lusts. This proved an occasion of weaning Samson from his new relations. It were well for us, if the unkindness we meet with from the world, and our disappointments in it, obliged us by faith and prayer to return to our heavenly Father’s house, and to rest there. See how little confidence is to be put in man. Whatever pretence of friendship may be made, a real Philistine will soon be weary of a true Israelite.

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