Judges 14
Benson Commentary
And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.
Jdg 14:1-2. Samson went — After he was come to mature age; to Timnath — A place not far from the sea. Get her for me to wife — Herein he is an example to all children, conformable to the fifth commandment. Children ought not to marry, nor to move toward it, without the advice and consent of their parents. They that do, as Bishop Hall speaks, unchild themselves. Parents have a property in their children, as parts of themselves. In marriage this property is transferred. It is, therefore, not only unkind and ungrateful, but palpably unjust, to alienate this property, without their concurrence. Whoso thus robbeth his father or mother, stealing from them himself, who is nearer and dearer to them than their goods, and yet saith, It is no transgression, the same is the companion of a destroyer, Proverbs 28:24.

And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife.
Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.
Jdg 14:3. To take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines — With whom the Israelites were forbidden to marry. For although the Philistines were not Canaanites in their original, yet they were so in their concurrence with them in wickedness, and therefore were liable to the same judgments with them. Get her for me — This action of Samson’s, though against common rules, seems to be warranted by the direction of God, (mentioned in the following words,) which was known to Samson, but not to his parents. Pleaseth me — Not so much for her beauty, as for the design mentioned in the next verse.

But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.
Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him.
Jdg 14:5-6. And his father and mother — Who accompanied him, either because they were now acquainted with his design, or to order the circumstances of that action which they saw he was set upon. The Spirit of the Lord came mightily — Increased his courage and bodily strength. As he would have rent a kid — As soon and as safely. Told not, &c. — Lest by their means it should be publicly known; for he wisely considered, that it was not yet a fit time to awaken the jealousies and fears of the Philistines concerning him, as this would have done.

And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.
And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well.
And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion.
Jdg 14:8-9. After a time — Hebrew, after days; that is, either after some days, or rather, after a year, as that word often signifies; when the flesh of the lion (which, by its strong smell, is offensive to bees) was wholly consumed, and nothing was left but the bones. Bees — Settling themselves there, as they have sometimes done in a man’s scull, or in a sepulchre. Came to his father and mother — From whom he had turned aside for a season, Jdg 14:8.

And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion.
So his father went down unto the woman: and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do.
And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him.
Jdg 14:11. When they saw him — Or, observed him, his stature, and strength, and countenance, and carriage, which were extraordinary. They brought thirty companions — Partly in compliance with the custom of having bride-men; though they were not so numerous, but principally by way of caution, and as a guard put upon him under a pretence of respect and affection.

And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments:
Jdg 14:12. I will now put forth a riddle unto you — The custom of those times, and which was transmitted to succeeding ages, was to propose some enigmatical questions to the guests, in order to render the feast more agreeable. Within the seven days of the feast — For so long marriage-feasts lasted. Sheets — Vestments of linen, which were worn next the skin, (Mark 14:51,) or fine linen clothes, which were used for divers purposes, Matthew 27:59. Thirty changes of raiment — Suits of clothes, which consisted of an upper and under garment.

But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it.
And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle.
And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson's wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father's house with fire: have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so?
Jdg 14:15. On the seventh day, they said, Entice thy husband — They had doubtless spoken to her before this time, but with some remissness, supposing that they should find it out; but now their time being nigh spent, they put her under a necessity of searching it out. To take that we have — That is, to strip us of our garments.

And Samson's wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee?
And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people.
Jdg 14:17. She wept before him, the seven days — Or rather, the rest of the seven days; that is, either after the third day, (Jdg 14:14,) or all the seventh day, from the time her countrymen came and threatened her till she persuaded Samson to tell her the riddle.

And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down, What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? And he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.
Jdg 14:18-19. If ye had not, &c. — If you had not employed my wife to find it out, as men plough up the ground with a heifer, thereby discovering its hidden parts; he calls her heifer, because she was joined with him in the same yoke. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him — Though he had constant strength and courage, yet that was exceedingly increased upon special occasions, by the extraordinary influences of God’s Spirit. To Ashkelon — Either to the territory, or to the city itself, where he had both strength and courage enough to attempt what follows; and upon the doing hereof they were doubtless struck with such terror, that every one sought only to preserve himself, and none durst pursue him. This action of Samson could neither be commended nor justified, had he not been actuated by a divine impulse, in order to punish the Philistines, according to God’s intention. God made use of him, as the judge does of the executioner, to punish those that merit and are condemned to suffer punishment. And took their spoil — This plainly shows the thirty sheets, and thirty changes of raiment, mentioned Jdg 14:13, mean only thirty suits of apparel, such as men commonly wore. His anger was kindled — For the treachery of his wife and companions; and he went up to his father’s house — Without his wife. It would be well for us, if the unkindnesses we meet with from the world, and our disappointments therein, had this good effect upon us, to oblige us to return by faith and prayer to our heavenly Father’s house.

And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house.
But Samson's wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend.
Jdg 14:20. Samson’s wife was given, by her father, to his companion, &c. — That is, to the chief of the bride-men, to whom he had shown most respect and kindness. This aggravated the insult that was offered to Samson, in proportion as this person had been more familiar with him, and had been treated by him in a more friendly manner than the rest that afforded him their company. This ungenerous friend might possibly be the man distinguished by the appellation of the friend of the bridegroom. See John 3:29.

Benson Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

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