Judges 14

Samson marries a Philistine woman

1 One day Samson went to Timnah. Samson saw a young Philistine woman. 2 When he returned home, he said to his father and mother, ‘I have seen a young Philistine woman in Timnah and I want to marry her. Please get her for me as my wife.’

3 His parents replied, ‘You do not need to go to the Philistines to get a wife. They are not the Lord's people. There is surely someone among our own relatives or other Israelites that you would like to marry.’ But Samson said to his father, ‘You must get her for me. She is the right girl for me to marry.’

4 Samson's parents did not realize that the Lord was causing this to happen. The Lord wanted to prepare a way for the Israelites to attack the Philistines, because the Philistines were ruling over Israel at that time.

5 Samson went to Timnah, and his parents went too. When he reached some vineyards near Timnah, an angry young lion ran out to attack him. 6 The Lord's Spirit gave Samson great strength. He tore the lion into pieces with his hands. He made it seem very easy, as if he was killing a goat. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.

7 Then Samson continued on his journey to Timnah. He spoke with the young woman, and she pleased him very much.

8 Some time later, Samson returned to Timnah to marry the young woman. He turned off the path to look at the lion's body. Inside it, there was a crowd of bees and some honey. 9 He took the honey out with his hands. He ate it as he walked along. Then he went to his parents. He gave some of the honey to them and they ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken it from the body of the dead lion.

10 Then Samson's father went to Timnah for Samson's marriage. Samson prepared a party for the people there. All the young men did this when they married. 11 When the Philistines saw what Samson was doing, they sent 30 young men to be his friends. 12 Samson said to them, ‘Listen to this clever question. Try to give me an answer before my party finishes in seven days. If you answer the question, I will give you 30 linen shirts and 30 sets of clothes. 13 But if you cannot tell me the answer, you will give me 30 linen shirts and 30 sets of clothes.’ The young men said, ‘Tell us your question.’

14:13People often asked clever questions with a hidden answer at a marriage. It was a party game. But, at Samson's marriage, the prize was very big. A good set of clothes cost a lot of money.

14 Samson said to them:

‘Out of the one who eats came something to eat.

Out of the strong one came something sweet.’

After three days, the Philistine men could not find the answer.

15 On the fourth day they said to Samson's wife, ‘Find a way to make your husband tell you the answer. If you do not, we will use fire to destroy your father's house, with you inside it! Did you ask us to come to your marriage party to make us poor?’

16 Then Samson's wife went to him and she wept. She said to him, ‘It seems that you hate me. You do not really love me. You have asked my friends a clever question, but you have not told me the answer.’

Samson said to her, ‘I have not told the answer even to my father or mother. So why should I tell you?’

17 Samson's wife continued to weep like that all the days of the party. Finally, she gave him so much trouble that he told her the answer on the seventh day. Then she told the young men the answer to Samson's question.

18 Before sunset on the seventh day, the men of the town gave their answer to Samson:

‘There is nothing sweeter than honey!

There is nothing stronger than a lion!’

Samson said to them, ‘You have used my young cow to do your work! Without her you would not have found the answer to my question.’

19 The Lord's Spirit took hold of Samson. He went to Ashkelon and he killed 30 Philistine men there. He took all their clothes and he gave them to the 30 men who had answered his question. He was still very angry as he went back to his family's home.

20 Samson's wife became the wife of the man who had been his special friend at the party.