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Samson Marries a Philistine

14 When Samson went to Timnah, he saw a young Philistine woman. He went home and told his father and mother, “I’ve seen a Philistine woman at Timnah. Now get her for me so that I can marry her.”

His father and mother asked him, “Aren’t there any women among our relatives or all our people? Do you have to marry a woman from those godless Philistines?”

But Samson told his father, “Get her for me! She’s the one I want!” His father and mother didn’t know that Yahweh was behind this. Yahweh was looking for an opportunity to do something to the Philistines. (At that time the Philistines were ruling Israel.)

Samson went with his father and mother to Timnah. When they were coming to the vineyards of Timnah, a young roaring lion met Samson. The Ruach Yahweh came over him. With his bare hands, he tore the lion apart as if it were a young goat. He didn’t tell his parents what he had done.

Then he went to talk to the young woman. She was the one he wanted. Later he went back to marry her. On his way he left the road to look at the lion he had killed. He saw a swarm of bees and some honey in the lion’s dead body. He scraped the honey into his hands and ate it as he walked along. When he came to his father and mother, he gave them some of the honey to eat. He didn’t tell them he had scraped it out of the lion’s dead body.

10 After his father went to see the woman, Samson threw a party. (This is what young men used to do.) 11 When her family saw him, they chose 30 of their friends to be with him.

12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me tell you a riddle. If you solve it during the seven days of the party, I’ll give you 30 linen shirts and 30 changes of clothes. 13 But if you can’t solve it, you will give me the same things.”

They responded, “Tell us your riddle! Let’s hear it!”

14 So Samson said to them,

“From the eater
    came something to eat.
From the strong one
    came something sweet.”

For three days they couldn’t solve the riddle. 15 On the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, “Trick your husband into solving the riddle for us. If you don’t, we’ll burn you and your family to death. Did the two of you invite us just to make us poor?”

16 So Samson’s wife cried on his shoulder. She said, “You hate me! You don’t really love me! You gave my friends a riddle and didn’t tell me the answer.”

Samson replied, “I haven’t even told my father and mother, so why should I tell you?”

17 But she cried on his shoulder for the rest of the seven days of the party. Finally, on the seventh day he told her the answer because she made his life miserable. Then she told her friends the answer to the riddle.

18 So before sundown on the seventh day, the men of the city said to him,

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

Samson replied,

“If you hadn’t used my cow to plow,
    you wouldn’t know my riddle now.”

19 When the Ruach Yahweh came over him, he went to Ashkelon and killed 30 men there. He took their clothes and gave them to the men who solved the riddle. He was angry, and he went to his father’s house. 20 Samson’s wife was given to his best man.