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Judges 14

Samson’s Marriage

1 One day Samson went down to Timnah, where he saw a young Philistine woman. 2 So he returned and told his father and mother, “I have seen a daughter of the Philistines in Timnah. Now get her for me as a wife.”

3 But his father and mother replied, “Can’t you find a young woman among your relatives or among any of our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?”

But Samson told his father, “Get her for me, for she is pleasing to my eyes.” 4 (Now his father and mother did not know this was from the LORD, who was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines; for at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.)

5 Then Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother and came to the vineyards of Timnah. Suddenly a young lion came roaring at him, 6 and the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon him, and he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as one would tear a young goat. But he did not tell his father or mother what he had done. 7 Then Samson continued on his way down and spoke to the woman, because she was pleasing to his eyes.

Samson’s Riddle

8 When Samson returned later to take her, he left the road to see the lion’s carcass, and in it was a swarm of bees, along with their honey. 9 So he scooped some honey into his hands and ate it as he went along. And when he returned to his father and mother, he gave some to them and they ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.

10 Then his father went to visit the woman, and Samson prepared a feast there, as was customary for the bridegroom. 11 And when the Philistines saw him, a they selected thirty men to accompany him.

12 “Let me tell you a riddle,” Samson said to them. “If you can solve it for me within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes. 13 But if you cannot solve it, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.”

“Tell us your riddle,” they replied. “Let us hear it.”

14 So he said to them:

“Out of the eater came something to eat,

and out of the strong came something sweet.”

For three days they were unable to explain the riddle. 15 So on the fourth b day they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband to explain the riddle to us, or we will burn you and your father’s household to death. Did you invite us here to rob us?”

16 Then Samson’s wife came to him, weeping, and said, “You hate me! You do not really love me! You have posed to my people a riddle, but have not explained it to me.”

“Look,” he said, “I have not even explained it to my father or mother, so why should I explain it to you?”

17 She wept the whole seven days of the feast, and finally on the seventh day, because she had pressed him so much, he told her the answer. And in turn she explained the riddle to her people.

18 Before sunset on the seventh day, the men of the city said to Samson:

“What is sweeter than honey?

And what is stronger than a lion?”

So he said to them:

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,

you would not have solved my riddle!”

19 Then the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, killed thirty of their men, took their apparel, and gave their clothes to those who had solved the riddle. And burning with anger, Samson returned to his father’s house, 20 and his wife was given to one of the men who had accompanied him.



11 a Or when the bride’s parents saw him ; literally when they saw him
15 b LXX and Syriac; Hebrew seventh

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