Judges 14

Samson gets a wife

1 In Timnah, Samson saw a young Philistine woman. 2 When he got home, he spoke to his father and mother, ‘I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah. Please get her for me as my wife’.

3 His parents replied, ‘Why go to the Philistines for a wife? There are many nice girls in our own family and in Israel. Why go to the Philistines for a wife? They do not obey the Lord’.

But Samson said to his father, ‘Get her for me. She is the right girl for me’. 4 His parents did not know that this was what the Lord wanted. God wanted a reason to attack the Philistines. They were ruling Israel at that time. 5 Samson went down to Timnah, with his mother and father. Near the fields of Timnah, an angry young lion ran towards them. 6 The Lord's Spirit gave Samson great power. He tore the lion into pieces with his hands. The lion seemed as weak as a young goat. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. 7 Then he went to talk with the young woman. He liked her very much.

8 Later, Samson returned to marry the girl. He turned off the path to look at the lion's body. There was a big group of bees and some honey inside it. 9 He took the honey out with his hands and ate it as he walked. When he returned to his parents he gave some to them. They ate the honey. But he did not tell them where it came from.

10 Samson's father went to see the young woman. Samson prepared a party meal there. All the men did this when they married. 11 30 young men came to him when he was ready.

12 Samson said to them, ‘Let me ask you a difficult question. Give me an answer in the seven days of my party. Then I will give you 30 valuable coats and 30 sets of clothes. 13 If you cannot tell me the answer, you will give me 30 valuable coats and 30 sets of clothes’. The young men said, ‘Let us hear your question. Do tell us’.

14 Samson replied, ‘Out of the eater, something to eat. Out of the strong, something sweet’. They could not find the answer in three days.

15 On the fourth day they spoke to Samson's wife. ‘Get your husband to tell you the answer for us. If you do not, we will burn you and all in your father's house. You will die. Did you want to take our money when you asked us to your marriage?’

16 Then Samson's wife started to cry. She threw herself at Samson. She shouted, ‘You hate me. You do not really love me. You have asked my people a difficult question. But you have not told me the answer’.

‘I have not told even my father or mother,’ he replied. ‘So why should I tell you?’

17 His wife cried all the seven days of the party. So Samson told her the answer on the seventh day. She had made him very tired. Then she told her people the answer to his question.

18 Then the people of the town went to Samson. It was before sunset of the seventh day. They said, ‘What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?’

Samson said, ‘You would not have found the answer on your own. You made my wife ask me’.

19 The Lord's Spirit took hold of Samson. It sent him to Ashkelon. The Spirit gave him great power. He killed 30 Philistines there, and took all their things. He gave their clothes to the men who had answered his question. He was so angry that he seemed to burn inside. He returned to his father's house. 20 And his wife's father gave her to the friend who had stood by him at his marriage.

14:20People often asked questions with a hidden answer at a marriage. It was a party game. But, at Samson's marriage, the cost was very big. A good set of clothes cost a lot of money. Perhaps Samson was trying to show that he was clever. The writer of this story had another idea. He believed that God was using Samson. God wanted to help the Israelites to push the Philistines out of their land. He was making the Philistines hate Samson. God's Spirit gave Samson the power to kill many Philistines.