Judges 14

Listen to Judges 14

Samson's Marriage

1 1Samson went down to 2Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines.
2 Then he came up and told his father and mother, "I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. 3Now get her for me as my wife."
3 But his father and mother said to him, "Is there not a woman among the daughters 4of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the 5uncircumcised Philistines?" But Samson said to his father, "Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes."
4 His father and mother did not know that it was 6from the LORD, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. 7At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel.
5 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.
6 8Then 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.
7 Then he went down and talked with the woman, and she was right in Samson's eyes.
8 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.
9 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.
10 His father went down to the woman, and Samson prepared a feast there, for so the young men used to do.
11 As soon as the people saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him.
12 And Samson said to them, 9"Let me now put a riddle to you. If you can tell me what it is, within 10the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty 11changes of clothes,
13 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."
14 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.
15 On the fourth[a] day they said to Samson's wife, 12"Entice your husband to tell us what the riddle is, 13lest we burn you and your father's house with fire. Have you invited us here to impoverish us?"
16 And Samson's wife wept over him and said, 14"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?"
17 She wept before him the seven days that their feast lasted, and on the seventh day he told her, because 15she pressed him hard. Then she told the riddle to her people.
18 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."
19 16And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and he went down to 17Ashkelon 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.
20 And Samson's wife was given to 18his companion, 19who had been his best man.

Judges 14 Commentary

Chapter 14

Samson desires a wife of the Philistines. (1-4) Samson kills a lion. (5-9) Samson's riddle. (10-20)

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.

Cross References 19

  • 1. Hebrews 11:32
  • 2. Genesis 38:12, 13; Joshua 15:10; Joshua 19:43
  • 3. [Genesis 34:4]
  • 4. [Genesis 24:3, 4; Genesis 28:1, 2]
  • 5. Judges 15:18; 1 Samuel 14:6; 1 Samuel 17:26, 36; 1 Samuel 31:4; 2 Samuel 1:20
  • 6. Joshua 11:20
  • 7. Judges 13:1; Judges 15:11
  • 8. ver. 19; Judges 15:14; 1 Samuel 11:6; [Judges 3:10]
  • 9. Ezekiel 17:2; [1 Kings 10:1; Psalms 78:2; Proverbs 1:6]
  • 10. Genesis 29:27
  • 11. Genesis 45:22; 2 Kgs. 5:5, 22, 23
  • 12. Judges 16:5
  • 13. Judges 15:6
  • 14. [Judges 16:15]
  • 15. [Judges 16:16]
  • 16. See ver. 6
  • 17. Judges 1:18
  • 18. Judges 15:2, 6
  • 19. John 3:29

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Septuagint, Syriac; Hebrew seventh

Chapter Summary


This chapter treats of Samson's courtship, and marriage of a Philistine woman, Jud 14:1-5 of his meeting with a young lion as he went courting, and of his slaying it, and afterwards finding honey in it, Jud 14:6-9, of a riddle which be framed out of this incident, and put to his companions at his marriage to solve, giving them seven days to do it in, with a promise of a reward, Jud 14:10-14 and of their solving it by means of his wife, who got the secret from him, Jud 14:15-18, which led him to slay thirty Philistines, to make good his promise of thirty sheets and changes of raiment, and to leave his newly married wife, who was given to his companion, Jud 14:19,20.

Judges 14 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.