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Judges 14 Good News Translation (GNT)

Samson and the Woman from Timnah

14 One day Samson went down to Timnah, where he noticed a certain young Philistine woman. He went back home and told his father and mother, “There is a Philistine woman down at Timnah who caught my attention. Get her for me; I want to marry her.”

But his father and mother asked him, “Why do you have to go to those heathen Philistines to get a wife? Can't you find someone in our own clan, among all our people?”

But Samson told his father, “She is the one I want you to get for me. I like her.”

His parents did not know that it was the Lord who was leading Samson to do this, for the Lord was looking for a chance to fight the Philistines. At this time the Philistines were ruling Israel.

So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother. As they were going through the vineyards there, he heard a young lion roaring. Suddenly the power of the Lord made Samson strong, and he tore the lion apart with his bare hands, as if it were a young goat. But he did not tell his parents what he had done.

Then he went and talked to the young woman, and he liked her. A few days later Samson went back to marry her. On the way he left the road to look at the lion he had killed, and he was surprised to find a swarm of bees and some honey inside the dead body. He scraped the honey out into his hands and ate it as he walked along. Then he went to his father and mother and gave them some. They ate it, but Samson did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the dead body of a lion.

10 His father went to the woman's house, and Samson gave a banquet there. This was a custom among the young men. 11 When the Philistines saw him, they sent thirty young men to stay with him. 12-13 Samson said to them, “Let me tell you a riddle. I'll bet each one of you a piece of fine linen and a change of fine clothes that you can't tell me its meaning before the seven days of the wedding feast are over.”

“Tell us your riddle,” they said. “Let's hear it.”

14 He said,

“Out of the eater came something to eat;
Out of the strong came something sweet.”

Three days later they had still not figured out what the riddle meant.

15 On the fourth[a] day they said to Samson's wife, “Trick your husband into telling us what the riddle means. If you don't, we'll set fire to your father's house and burn you with it.[b] You two invited us so that you could rob us, didn't you?”

16 So Samson's wife went to him in tears and said, “You don't love me! You just hate me! You told my friends a riddle and didn't tell me what it means!”

He said, “Look, I haven't even told my father and mother. Why should I tell you?” 17 She cried about it for the whole seven days of the feast. But on the seventh day he told her what the riddle meant, for she nagged him so about it. Then she told the Philistines. 18 So on the seventh day, before Samson went into the bedroom,[c] the men of the city said to him,

“What could be sweeter than honey?
What could be stronger than a lion?”
Samson replied,
“If you hadn't been plowing with my cow,
You wouldn't know the answer now.”

19 Suddenly the power of the Lord made him strong, and he went down to Ashkelon, where he killed thirty men, stripped them, and gave their fine clothes to the men who had solved the riddle. After that, he went back home, furious about what had happened, 20 and his wife was given to the man that had been his best man at the wedding.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 14:15 Some ancient translations fourth; Hebrew seventh.
  2. Judges 14:15 set fire … you with it; or burn you and your family.
  3. Judges 14:18 Probable text bedroom; Hebrew sun.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Judges 14 New International Version (NIV)

Samson’s Marriage

14 Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.”

His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?

But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.” (His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)

Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done. Then he went down and talked with the woman, and he liked her.

Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.

10 Now his father went down to see the woman. And there Samson held a feast, as was customary for young men. 11 When the people saw him, they chose thirty men to be his companions.

12 “Let me tell you a riddle,” Samson said to them. “If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes. 13 If you can’t tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.”

“Tell us your riddle,” they said. “Let’s hear it.”

14 He replied,

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

For three days they could not give the answer.

15 On the fourth[a] day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father’s household to death. Did you invite us here to steal our property?”

16 Then Samson’s wife threw herself on him, sobbing, “You hate me! You don’t really love me. You’ve given my people a riddle, but you haven’t told me the answer.”

“I haven’t even explained it to my father or mother,” he replied, “so why should I explain it to you?” 17 She cried the whole seven days of the feast. So on the seventh day he finally told her, because she continued to press him. She in turn explained the riddle to her people.

18 Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to him,

“What is sweeter than honey?
    What is stronger than a lion?”

Samson said to them,

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
    you would not have solved my riddle.”

19 Then the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of everything and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he returned to his father’s home. 20 And Samson’s wife was given to one of his companions who had attended him at the feast.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 14:15 Some Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac; Hebrew seventh
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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