Samson’s marriage to a Philistine woman
1Samson traveled down to Timnah. While he was in Timnah, a Philistine woman caught his eye. 2He went back home and told his father and mother, "A Philistine woman in Timnah caught my eye; now get her for me as a wife!"
3But his father and mother replied to him, "Is there no woman among your own relatives or among all our people that you have to go get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?"
Yet Samson said to his father, "Get her for me, because she’s the one I want!" 4His father and mother didn’t know that the LORD was behind this. He was looking for an opening with the Philistines, because they were ruling over Israel at that time.
5Then Samson traveled down to Timnah with his father and mother. When he came to the vineyards in Timnah, suddenly a lone young lion came roaring to meet him. 6The LORD’s spirit rushed over him, and he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as one might tear apart a young goat. But he didn’t tell his father or mother what he had done. 7Then he traveled down and talked with the woman; she was the one Samson wanted.
8After a while, he came back again to marry her. He turned aside to look at the lion’s remains, and there was a swarm of bees with honey inside the lion’s skeleton. 9He scooped the honey into his hands, eating it as he continued along. When he got to his father and mother, he gave some to them, and they ate it too. But he didn’t tell them that he had scooped the honey from the lion’s skeleton.
10His father traveled down to the woman, and Samson put on a feast there, as was the custom for young men. 11When the townspeople saw him, they selected thirty companions to be with him. 12Then Samson said to them, "Let me tell you a riddle. If you can figure it out and tell me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I’ll give you thirty linen robes and thirty sets of clothes. 13But if you can’t tell me the answer, then it’s you who have to give me thirty linen robes and thirty sets of clothes."
So they replied to him, "Tell your riddle; let’s hear it."
14He said to them,
"Out of the eater there came something to eat.
Out of the strong there came something sweet."
For three days they couldn’t tell the answer to the riddle. 15On the fourth#LXX, Syr; MT seventh day they said to Samson’s wife, "Seduce your husband so he’ll tell us the answer to the riddle, or else we’ll set fire to you and your household. Were we invited here just to become poor?"
16So Samson’s wife cried on his shoulder and said, "You hate me! You don’t love me! You told a riddle to my people but didn’t tell me the answer."
He replied to her, "Look, I haven’t even told the answer to my father and mother. Why should I tell it to you?" 17But she cried on his shoulder for the rest of the seven days of the feast. Finally, on the seventh day, he told her the answer, for she had nagged him. And she told her people the answer to the riddle. 18So on the seventh day, before the sun set, the townspeople said to him,
"What’s sweeter than honey?
What’s stronger than a lion?"
He replied to them,
"If you hadn’t plowed with my heifer,
you wouldn’t have figured out my riddle!"
19Then the LORD’s spirit rushed over him, and he went down to Ashkelon. He killed thirty of their men, stripped them of their gear, and gave the sets of clothes to the ones who had told the answer to the riddle. In anger, he went back up to his father’s household. 20And Samson’s wife married one of those who had been his companions.