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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 14

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1Samson went down to Timnah, and there a woman, one of the Philistines, caught his notice. 2On his return he told his father and mother that he had seen this Philistine woman in Timnah and asked them to get her for him as his wife. 3His parents protested, ‘Is there no woman among your cousins or in all our own people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to find a wife?’ But Samson said to his father, ‘Get her for me, because she pleases me.’ 4Neither his father nor his mother knew that the LORD was at work in this, seeking an opportunity against the Philistines, who at that time held Israel in subjection.

5Samson a 14:5 Samson: prob. rdg; Heb. adds and his father and mother. went down to Timnah and, when he reached b he reached: so Gk; Heb. they reached. the vineyards there, a young lion came at him growling. 6The spirit of the LORD suddenly seized him and, without any weapon in his hand, Samson tore the lion to pieces as if it were a kid. He did not tell his parents what he had done. 7Then he went down and spoke to the woman, and she pleased him.

8When, after a time, he went down again to make her his wife, he turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion, and saw there was a swarm of bees in it, and honey. 9He scraped the honey into his hands and went on, eating as he went. When he came to his father and mother, he gave them some and they ate it; but he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey out of the lion's carcass.

10His father went down to see the woman, and Samson gave a feast there as the custom of young men was. 11When the people saw him, they picked thirty companions to escort him. 12Samson said to them, ‘Let me ask you a riddle. If you can solve it during the seven days of the feast, I shall give you thirty lengths of linen and thirty changes of clothing; 13but if you cannot guess the answer, then you will give me thirty lengths of linen and thirty changes of clothing.’ ‘Tell us your riddle,’ they said; ‘let us hear it.’ 14So he said to them:

‘Out of the eater came something to eat; out of the strong came something sweet.’

At the end of three days they had failed to guess the answer. 15On the fourth c 14:15 fourth: so Gk; Heb. seventh. day they said to Samson's wife, ‘Coax your husband and make him explain the riddle to you, or we shall burn you and your father's house. Did you invite us d here: so some MSS; others or not. here to beggar us?’ 16So Samson's wife wept on his shoulder and said, ‘You only hate me, you do not love me. You have asked my kinsfolk a riddle and you have not told it to me.’ He said to her, ‘I have not told it even to my father and mother; and am I to tell it to you?’ 17But she wept on his shoulder every day until the seven feast days were ended, and on the seventh day, because she pestered him so, he told her, and she told the riddle to her kinsfolk. 18So on the seventh day the men of the city said to Samson just before he entered the bridal chamber e 14:18 he entered…chamber: prob. rdg; Heb. the sun went down. :

‘What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?’

He replied, ‘If you had not ploughed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle.’ 19Then the spirit of the LORD suddenly seized him, and he went down to Ashkelon, where he killed thirty men, took their belts, and gave their clothes to the men who had answered his riddle; then in a furious temper he went off to his father's house. 20Samson's wife was given in marriage to the one who had been his groomsman.

Notes:

a 14:5 Samson: prob. rdg; Heb. adds and his father and mother.

b he reached: so Gk; Heb. they reached.

c 14:15 fourth: so Gk; Heb. seventh.

d here: so some MSS; others or not.

e 14:18 he entered…chamber: prob. rdg; Heb. the sun went down.

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