Judges 14 – “Samson Harasses the Philistines”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Samson is engaged to marry a Philistine girl. At his celebratory feast, he poses a riddle to thirty Philistine men. They cajole Samson’s wife into giving them the answer, and Samson kills thirty Philistines in response.

II. Photo
Samson kills the lion: “When he came to the vineyards of Timnah, a full-grown lion came roaring at him. The spirit of the LORD gripped him, and he tore him asunder with his bare hands as one might tear a kid asunder.” (vv 5-6)

III. Important Verses
1-4: Once Samson went down to Timnah; and while in Timnah, he noticed a girl among the Philistine women. On his return, he told his father and mother, “I noticed one of the Philistine women in Timnah; please get her for me as a wife.” His father and mother said to him, “Is there no one among the daughters of your own kinsmen and among all our people, that you must go and take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson answered his father, “Get me that one, for she is the one that pleases me.” His father and mother did not realize that this was the LORD’s doing: He was seeking a pretext against the Philistines, for the Philistines were ruling over Israel at that time.
5b-6: When he came to the vineyards of Timnah [for the first time], a full-grown lion came roaring at him. The spirit of the LORD gripped him, and he tore him asunder with his bare hands as one might tear a kid asunder; but he did not tell his father and mother what he had done.
15-19: On the seventh day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband to provide us with the answer to the riddle; else we shall put you and your father’s household to the fire; have you invited us here in order to impoverish us?” Then Samson’s wife harassed him with tears, and she said, “You really hate me, you don’t love me. You asked my countrymen a riddle, and you didn’t tell me the answer.” He replied, “I haven’t even told my father and mother; shall I tell you?” During the rest of the seven days of the feast she continued to harass him with her tears, and on the seventh day he told her, because she nagged him so. And she explained the riddle to her countrymen. On the seventh day, before the sunset, the townsmen said to him: “What is sweeter than honey, And what is stronger than a lion?” He responded: “Had you not plowed with my heifer, You would not have guessed my riddle!” The spirit of the LORD gripped him. He went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of its men. He stripped them and gave the sets of clothing to those who had answered the riddle. And he left in a rage for his father’s house.

IV. Outline
1-5a. Samson chooses a Philistine for a wife
5b-6. Samson kills the lion
7. Samson meets his wife
8-10. Samson returns to the lion
11-14. Samson gives his riddle to the Philistines
15-18a. The Philistines answer the riddle by using Samson’s wife
18b-19a. Samson kills thirty Philistines to repay his debt
19b. Samson returns home
20. Samson’s wife is given to another man

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Trent C. Butler, “Judges” (Word Biblical Commentary vol. 8; Nashville: Nelson, 2009).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 15 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Photo taken from http://stepmothersmilk.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/lion.jpg