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Read Judges 14

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 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.

Go Deeper

Sin and rebellion against God put us on a slippery slope of more sin and rebellion. In Judges 14, Samson zips down this very slope. First, he desires and chooses to marry someone outside his faith. Second, he breaks his Nazarite vow by touching a dead animal. After this, he commits murder and then abandons his new wife. As followers of Christ, we’re keenly aware that while acts of holiness often lead to further holiness, sin often leads us to more and more sin. We can learn much from observing Samson’s sinful actions.

As seen in Deuteronomy 7:1-3 and later in 2 Corinthians 6:14, God’s desire is for His followers to marry only within the family of God. Instead of fighting the Philistines, Samson sees a woman who seems right in his own eyes and demands his parents get her to be his wife. He chooses to marry someone outside the Lord’s covenant people. When he says, “She’s the right one for me,” he follows the pattern of the other Israelites who chose to do what was right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6, 21:25).

He follows his decision to marry a pagan by eating honey from a lion carcass, thereby breaking his Nazarite vow by not staying away from dead bodies (Numbers 6:6). In Judges 14:19, he strikes down 30 men, and in the next verse he gives his newly married wife to one of his companions. Samson epitomizes doing what was right in his own eyes by marrying outside his faith, breaking his Nazarite vows, murdering 30 men, and abandoning his wife by giving her away sexually to another man.

It’s easy for us to think we’re different than Samson because we don’t murder or marry outside our faith. But we need to be just as careful that we don’t choose to sin against God and others in the mundane and daily moments of life. All sin is against God and everyone one of us sins and falls short of the glory of God. The slope is slippery with all sin, and we would be wise to learn from Samson’s downward spiral of sin and rebellion as seen in Judges 14.


  1. What do you think it means that Samson’s marriage decision “was from the Lord” (v. 4)?
  2. Where is your personal sin leading you down a slope toward more sin?
  3. Whether you’re married or single, why do you think it matters to marry someone who is of your same faith? 

A Quote

It seems odd that Samson’s decision to marry the Philistine woman “was from the Lord.” In his commentary on the book of Judges, Dr. Tom Constable says, “This means the Lord permitted it, though it was not a marriage that He preferred…it shows how God providentially overrules human folly and brings His will to pass in spite of it (cf. Ps. 76:10; Rom 8:28).”

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3 thoughts on “Judges 14”

  1. Ella Snodgrass

    It’s ironic that Samson, the one specifically set apart for God’s service, would chose to marry a Philistine woman. Philistines were pagans and Israel’s greatest enemies. The marriage would prove to be a sham and disgrace, leading to Samson violating God’s laws and his life spinning out of control. It makes no sense that Samson wasted his potential, yet if we’re not careful the same thing will happen to us. We’re all vulnerable!
    1 John 2:15-17 warns us to “Stop loving this evil world and all it offers, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything you see, and the pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world. And this world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever.”
    From the beginning of time with Eve in the garden, the enemy uses the lust of the eyes to lead us into temptation. Let’s be aware of where our eyes are prone to wander and fix our eyes on Jesus. Only by His power can we chose differently, to be in the world but not of the world.

  2. As we grow up we hopefully are taught right from wrong. Following God we need to prove everything to and from the Word of God the Bible. Every choice and decision should be searched first with God. This is a quote that I heard but not sure who wrote it ” No matter how much good God can bring out of even the bad things we do, He can always bring far MORE good out of our obedience- and we ourselves experience much less pain.”
    God thank you for listening ears to hear Your voice, to know the directions I need to take for everyday simple things to life changing monumental things. God let me not only hear but DO so that I am obedient. God I praise You for this beautiful sunrise and glorious day ahead. Help me be bold to speak about You and Your Son and what great things You have and are doing in my life!!! In Jesus name amen WOOHOO!!!

  3. So the plot thickens… Two verses came to mind after this scripture.
    Isaiah 55:8-9
    “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
    Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
    9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    So are My ways higher than your ways,
    And My thoughts than your thoughts.
    Romans 8:28 ‘And we know that all (good, bad, and ugly) things work together for GOOD to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.’
    I was reminded this morning that we all were birthed with a purpose. We were designed specifically by God, for God. And we see that Samson is our example. Besides breaking his parent’s hearts repeatedly over his decisions, he hurt others…including himself. Sound familiar?? (it did to me) But God knew this. This was His plan. God made him designed for supernatural strength, and with a hot-temper, to fulfill HIS purpose.
    May we all learn to be sensitive to other’s journey’s. For all the bad we see, God sees the good!
    My best friend shared this with me yesterday… “Honey, in the Rock” worship song

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