Judges 14-15 New English Translation (NET Bible)
Samson’s Unconsummated Marriage
14 Samson went down to Timnah, where a Philistine girl caught his eye.[a] 2 When he got home,[b] he told his father and mother, “A Philistine girl in Timnah has caught my eye.[c] Now get her for my wife.” 3 But his father and mother said to him, “Certainly you can find a wife among your relatives or among all our[d] people! You should not have to go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines.”[e] But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me,[f] because she is the right one for me.”[g] 4 Now his father and mother did not realize this was the Lord’s doing,[h] because he was looking for an opportunity to stir up trouble with the Philistines[i] (for at that time the Philistines were ruling Israel).
5 Samson[j] went down to Timnah. When he approached[k] the vineyards of Timnah, he saw a roaring young lion attacking him.[l] 6 The Lord’s Spirit empowered[m] him, and he tore the lion[n] in two with his bare hands[o] as easily as one would tear a young goat. But he did not tell his father or mother what he had done.
7 Samson continued on down to Timnah[p] and spoke to the girl. In his opinion, she was just the right one.[q] 8 Some time later, when he went back to marry[r] her, he turned aside to see the lion’s remains. He saw[s] a swarm of bees in the lion’s carcass, as well as some honey. 9 He scooped it up with his hands and ate it as he walked along. When he returned[t] to his father and mother, he offered them some and they ate it. But he did not tell them he had scooped the honey out of the lion’s carcass.[u]
10 Then Samson’s father accompanied him to Timnah for the marriage.[v] Samson hosted a party[w] there, for this was customary for bridegrooms[x] to do. 11 When the Philistines saw he had no attendants, they gave him thirty groomsmen who kept him company.[y] 12 Samson said to them, “I will give you a riddle. If you really can solve it during the seven days the party lasts,[z] I will give you thirty linen robes and thirty sets[aa] of clothes. 13 But if you cannot solve it,[ab] you will give me thirty linen robes and thirty sets of clothes.” They said to him, “Let us hear your riddle.”[ac] 14 He said to them,
“Out of the one who eats came something to eat;
They could not solve the riddle for three days.
15 On the fourth[ad] day they said to Samson’s bride, “Trick your husband into giving the solution to the riddle.[ae] If you refuse,[af] we will burn up[ag] you and your father’s family.[ah] Did you invite us here[ai] to make us poor?”[aj] 16 So Samson’s bride cried on his shoulder[ak] and said, “You must[al] hate me; you do not love me! You told the young men[am] a riddle, but you have not told me the solution.” He said to her, “Look, I have not even told my father or mother. Do you really expect me to tell you?”[an] 17 She cried on his shoulder[ao] until the party was almost over.[ap] Finally, on the seventh day, he told her because she had nagged him so much.[aq] Then she told the young men the solution to the riddle.[ar] 18 On the seventh day, before the sun set, the men of the city said to him,
“What is sweeter than honey?
He said to them,
“If you had not plowed with my heifer,[as]
19 The Lord’s Spirit empowered him. He went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty men. He took their clothes[at] and gave them[au] to the men who had solved the riddle. He was furious as he went back home.[av] 20 Samson’s bride was then given to his best man.[aw]
Samson Versus the Philistines
15 Sometime later, during the wheat harvest,[ax] Samson took a young goat as a gift and went to visit his bride.[ay] He said to her father,[az] “I want to sleep with[ba] my bride in her bedroom!”[bb] But her father would not let him enter. 2 Her father said, “I really thought[bc] you absolutely despised[bd] her, so I gave her to your best man. Her younger sister is more attractive than she is. Take her instead!”[be] 3 Samson said to them,[bf] “This time I am justified in doing the Philistines harm!”[bg] 4 Samson went and captured 300 jackals[bh] and got some torches. He tied the jackals in pairs by their tails and then tied a torch to each pair.[bi] 5 He lit the torches[bj] and set the jackals loose in the Philistines’ standing grain. He burned up the grain heaps and the standing grain, as well as the vineyards and olive groves. 6 The Philistines asked,[bk] “Who did this?” They were told,[bl] “Samson, the Timnite’s son-in-law, because the Timnite[bm] took Samson’s[bn] bride and gave her to his best man.” So the Philistines went up and burned her and her father.[bo] 7 Samson said to them, “Because you did this,[bp] I will get revenge against you before I quit fighting.”[bq] 8 He struck them down and defeated them.[br] Then he went down and lived for a time in the cave in the cliff of Etam.
9 The Philistines went up and invaded[bs] Judah. They arrayed themselves for battle[bt] in Lehi. 10 The men of Judah said, “Why are you attacking[bu] us?” The Philistines[bv] said, “We have come up to take Samson prisoner so we can do to him what he has done to us.” 11 So 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cave in the cliff of Etam and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines rule over us? Why have you done this to us?” He said to them, “I have only done to them what they have done to me.” 12 They said to him, “We have come down to take you prisoner so we can hand you over to the Philistines.” Samson said to them, “Promise me[bw] you will not kill[bx] me.” 13 They said to him, “We promise![by] We will only take you prisoner and hand you over to them. We promise not to kill you.” They tied him up with two brand new ropes and led him up from the cliff. 14 When he arrived in Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they approached him. But the Lord’s Spirit empowered[bz] him. The ropes around his arms were like flax dissolving in[ca] fire, and they[cb] melted away from his hands. 15 He happened to see[cc] a solid[cd] jawbone of a donkey. He grabbed it[ce] and struck down[cf] 1,000 men. 16 Samson then said,
“With the jawbone of a donkey
18 He was very thirsty, so he cried out to the Lord and said, “You have given your servant[cj] this great victory. But now must I die of thirst and fall into the hands of these uncircumcised Philistines?”[ck] 19 So God split open the basin[cl] at Lehi and water flowed out from it. When he took a drink, his strength[cm] was restored and he revived. For this reason he named the spring[cn] En Hakkore.[co] It remains in Lehi to this very day. 20 Samson led[cp] Israel for twenty years during the days of Philistine prominence.[cq]