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Samson Takes a Philistine as His Wife

14 Then Samson went down to Timnah and saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines. So he came back up and told his father and [a]mother, “I saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines; so now, take her for me as a wife.” But his father and his mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your [b](A)relatives, or among all [c]our people, that you go to (B)take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Take her for me, for she is right in my eyes.” However, his father and mother did not know that (C)it was of Yahweh, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.

Then Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and they came as far as the vineyards of Timnah; and behold, a young lion came roaring toward him. (D)And the Spirit of Yahweh [d]came upon him mightily, so that (E)he tore it as one tears a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done. So he went down and spoke to the woman; and she was right in the eyes of Samson. Then he returned later to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion; and behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the body of the lion. So he scraped [e]the honey into his [f]hands and went on, eating as he went. Then he went to his father and mother, and he gave some to them, and they ate it; but he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey out of the body of the lion.

10 Then his father went down to the woman; and Samson made a feast there, for the young men customarily did this. 11 Now it happened that when they saw him, they took thirty companions to be with him. 12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me now (F)propound a riddle to you; if you will indeed tell it to me within the seven days of the feast and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty (G)changes of clothes. 13 But if you are unable to tell me, then you shall give me thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Propound your riddle, that we may hear it.” 14 So he said to them,

“Out of the eater came something to eat,
And out of the strong came something sweet.”

But they could not tell the riddle in three days.

15 Then it happened on the [g]fourth day that they said to Samson’s wife, “(H)Entice your husband, so that he will tell us the riddle, (I)or we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us? Is this not so?” 16 So Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “(J)You only hate me, and you do not love me; you have propounded a riddle to the sons of my people and have not told it to me.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told it to my father or mother; so should I tell you?” 17 However she wept before him seven days while their feast lasted. And on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard. She then told the riddle to the sons of her people. 18 So the men of the city said to 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 to them,

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
You would not have found out my riddle.”

19 Then (K)the Spirit of Yahweh [h]came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and struck down thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house. 20 But Samson’s wife was (L)given to his companion who had been his [i]friend.


  1. Judges 14:2 Lit mother, saying,
  2. Judges 14:3 Lit brothers
  3. Judges 14:3 Lit my
  4. Judges 14:6 Lit succeeded, rushed upon
  5. Judges 14:9 Lit it
  6. Judges 14:9 Lit palms
  7. Judges 14:15 As in some ancient versions; M.T. seventh
  8. Judges 14:19 Lit succeeded, rushed upon
  9. Judges 14:20 Or best man