1721.) Judges 14

Rembrandt’s “Samson Posing a Riddle at the Wedding Feast,” 1638 (Gemaldegalerie, Dresden). Note the untrustworthy bride in the center, her long-haired husband to her left.

Judges 14 (New International Version)

Samson’s Marriage

1 Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. 2 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.”

In demanding a Philistine wife, Samson showed a sinful disregard for his parents and for God’s will (Deuteronomy 7:3-4).

–David Guzik

3 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.” 4 (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.) 5 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. 6 The Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power

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.

7 Then he went down and talked with the woman, and he liked her.

8 Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass. In it was a swarm of bees and some honey, 9 which he scooped out with his hands and ate as he went along.

When Samson gathered honey from the dead carcass of a lion, he expressly violated his Nazirite vow, which stipulated that a Nazirite should never touch a dead body or carcass (Numbers 6:6-7).

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.

Product of India.

Product of India. A sweetener made from dates.

10 Now his father went down to see the woman. And Samson made a feast there, as was customary for bridegrooms. 11 When he appeared, he was given thirty companions.

Samson’s bachelor party.

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.”

The riddling Sphinx — on a ancient Greek red-figure vase (Museum of Fine Art, Boston)

The most famous riddle of ancient times belonged to the Sphinx.  She asked people:

“Which creature in the morning goes on four legs, at mid-day on two, and in the evening upon three?”

Oedipus solved the riddle by answering:

“Man—who crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and then walks with a cane in old age.”

For three days they could not give the answer.

15 On the fourth 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 rob us?”

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.”

“Oh, snap!”

My sons used to say that when they meant, “Bad for you, Dude. You just got told. You are not as smart as you think.” Samson scores with this reply to his pretend friends who are really his enemies.  And even though Samson often seems to be weak-brained (as we will see all this week) — I am impressed that he responds with a METAPHOR! See all the different kinds of power the Holy Spirit can bring!

19 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power.

He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of their belongings and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he went up to his father’s house. 20 And Samson’s wife was given to the friend who had attended him at his wedding.

“Samson himself is a riddle. He was not only a riddle-maker; but he was himself an enigma very difficult to explain.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

_________________________

Music:

Samson’s mother surely taught him better than this!  HERE  is Three Dog Night and one of their #1 hits, “Mama Told Me (Not to Come).” That ain’t the way to have fun, son!

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Rembrandt.    http://www.backtoclassics.com/gallery/rembrandtvanrijn/the_wedding_of_samson/
Samson kills the lion.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/samsonvslion.gif
Lion honey.    http://www.cartonwheels.com/image/cache/data/honey/LION%20HONEY%20100GM-500×500.jpg
Sphinx.    http://personal.bgsu.edu/~jmpfund/Sphinx-Boston.jpg
oh, snap.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/ohsnap.jpg
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