Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother,
They were prevailed upon to go with him, either because they perceived his affections were so strongly set upon a wife, that they thought it advisable to agree to it, lest it should be of bad consequence to him, or because he let them know that the thing was of God, and what was his design in it:
and came to the vineyards of Timnath;
the land of Canaan was a land of vineyards, and particularly that part of it which was inhabited by the Philistines and Phoenicians; and though we nowhere read of the wine of Timnath, yet frequent mention is made in authors of the wine of Ashkelon, Gaza, and Sarepta, inhabited by the above people; these vineyards seem to have lain somewhat out of Samson's way; but hither he turned on some account or another from his parents, perhaps to eat some grapes:
and, behold, a young lion roared against him;
not a whelp, that is expressed by another word, but one more grown, and is afterwards called a lion simply; and, by the Targum, a lion, the son of lions or lionesses; which seeing him in the vineyards, where he was lurking, came out to meet him, and roared at him in a hideous manner, and came up to him to destroy him: these creatures, though now more rare in those parts, were at this time frequent, and in later times: see ( 1 Samuel 17:34 ) ( 1 Kings 13:24 ) ( 20:36 ) and several writers F25 make mention of lions in Mesopotamia and Syria; and Strabo F26, and Pliny F1 speak of a city in Phoenicia near Sidon, called the city of lions, because perhaps it had been much infested with them; and for a like reason it may be some cities in the tribes of Judah and Simeon were called Lebaoth and Bethlebaoth, ( Joshua 15:32 ) ( 19:6 ) .