Posted by: Barbara Wilbur for ElysJoy Church | October 20, 2014

Samson God’s Plan Triumps: A Wife and a Riddle

Samson God Triumps A wife and a riddleIn our chapter by chapter walk through the book of Judges, we kick off chapter 14 with Samson, a man beginning to be stirred  by the Spirit of the Lord.  He heads down to Timnah and finds a Philistine women he likes the looks of.  He comes back and tells his parents he wants them to go get her.   In shock, they plead with Samson to find a local girl, of his own people that he can marry.   Samson says nope…I want her!  The NASB Bible translates his words to his parents in Judges 14:3 as :“Get her for me, for she  looks good to me.”..

If we follow Samson through his life, we can’t help but notice he has a problem with his eyes.  He wants what he sees.   He saw the woman and he wanted her.  So Samson and his parent head for Timnah where he found the Philistine women he had his mind set on becoming his wife.

Although his parents didn’t know it, this trip was “of the Lord”. (see Judges 14:4) Samson had been conceived to begin to deliver the Hebrew people from the Philistines.   Samson was a judge of Israel (a man that basically ruled the country) and he was set up in that position by God.  God was going to use Samson, all of Samson, including his eye problem to accomplish his purpose.

A Lion and Some Honey

On the way to Timnah, he gets to the vineyards of Timnah and a young lion comes roaring towards him.   The Spirit of the Lord takes over Samson mightily and he tears the young lion apart with his bare hands.  He didn’t tell his Mom and Dad about this little occurrence but he proceeded on to the task at hand, getting a wife!  Because Samson had taken a Nazarite vow, he should have gone back to the priests and been cleansed properly because he had touched something dead.   His Mom and Dad would have made him do that so he kept the killing and then handling of a dead carcass a secret.

They do what they must to procure the wife for him and then go home.   Samson and his parents comes back later to Timnah for the wedding week.   On the way, he sees the dead lion carcass from his last trip this way and now it is full of bees and honey.  He reaches down and grabs some honey and eats it on the way right out of the palm of his hand.  Then he gives some to his parents and they eat.   Not only does Samson once again break his Nazarite vow, but he leads his parents into sin by giving them honey from the corpse of an animal.   Samson sees what he wants and takes it.   Samson has an impulse control problem and his trigger is visually seeing it, a problems with his eyes.

The Riddle

Samson gets to the wedding celebration and prepares a feast.   The locals find 30 men to be his companions, kind of a wedding party for the groom who likely knows no one in Timnah.   Samson realizes he will have to give them a gift, and instead he proposes a bet.  If you can guess my riddle, I will give you 30 linen tunics.  Samson tells the 30.  If you can’t you must give a linen tunic to me.   Samson gives them 7 days to get the answer.   Here is the riddle:

“Out of the eater came something to eat and out of the strong came something sweet.”  They pondered the riddle for 3 days and since they had gotten nowhere, they threaten Samson’s wife to get then the answer.   If she doesn’t tell , they will burn her and her father house with fire.   The bride, in a pit of fear, wheedles the answer out of Samson and tells the 30 companions.   Interestingly Samson had been able to keep the secret of the lion from his parents and likely all others.    But because his weakness was the lust of the eyes, when his wife enticed him and cried for the entire balance of the celebration Samson caves.  On the seventh day of the wedding feast tells her the answer.   She quickly tells the companions and they answer the riddle.

Samson’s anger burns and the Spirit of the Lord once again comes on him and he goes to Ashkelon Ashkelon Map with Zorah and Timnahand kills 30 men and takes their garments as a spoil of war.    Ashkelon was one of the five Philistine cities that were constantly warring with the Israelites and the Kingdom of Judah so the men that Samson killed were Philistine.  He gives the bet winners the cloaks he owes and heads back to his father’s house leaving his wife behind.   The wife is then given to one of the companions, who had been his friend.   The term used in the Bible for friend here is like we would think of as a best man at a wedding.   Her father likely believed that Samson was done with her and he needed to get her married off quickly.

Given Away?

Samson returns however during the wheat harvest and brings a young goat to make up.   He finds however that she has been given to his friend.   Her father, trying to appease Samson, offers his younger daughter to him.   His comment to Samson “she is more beautiful than her sister” .  Even his father in law understands Samson’s lustful eye issues.  An angry Samson storms away with the chilling statement that this time he will be blameless when he does the Philistines harm.

Samson’s lust has gotten him nothing.  He has no wife, has killed 30 men, broken his Nazarite vow, caused his parents to break theirs and at the end of the day is just plain mad.  Sin is winning the battle with Samson.


  • Take a minute and think things through.  What we think we want can harm us or the people we love.
  • Silence can breed misunderstanding so communicate. Samson just left and said nothing to his wife and her father.   When he came back it was too late.
  • Your sin shows to others. Samson’s father in law knew he was a lustful man.  Our sin always shows whether we know it or not.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story of Samson…..Judges 15:  The Killing Spree

Michael O’Quinn and Barbara Wilbur delivered the Samson sermon on October 12, 2014 at ElysJoy Church.  Be sure to stay tuned for the rest of the Samson story and how it applies you your life!

All verses noted above are the HSCB or NASB translation and links to scripture verses are courtesy of

Photo credit for banner to Ax Church



  1. i love your commentary so enlightful andfull of revelation

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