New International Version - UK

Judges 14

Samson’s marriage

1Samson 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 towards 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[a] 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 ploughed 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.

Footnotes

  1. Judges 14:15 Some Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac; Hebrew seventh

New American Standard Bible

Judges 14

Samson’s Marriage

1Then Samson went down to Timnah and saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines. So he came [a]back and told his father and [b]mother, “I saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife.” Then his father and his mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your [c]relatives, or among all [d]our people, that you go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she [e]looks good to me.” However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.

Then Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came as far as the vineyards of Timnah; and behold, a young lion came roaring toward him. The Spirit of the Lord [f]came upon him mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a young goat though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done. So he went down and talked to the woman; and she [g]looked good to Samson. When he returned later to take her, he turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion; and behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the body of the lion. So he scraped [h]the honey into his [i]hands and went on, eating as he went. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them and they ate it; but he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey out of the body of the lion.

10 Then his father went down to the woman; and Samson made a feast there, for the young men customarily did this. 11 When they saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him.

Samson’s Riddle

12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me now propound a riddle to you; if you will indeed tell it to me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes. 13 But if you are unable to tell me, then you shall give me thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Propound your riddle, that we may hear it.” 14 So he said to them,

“Out of the eater came something to eat,
And out of the strong came something sweet.”

But they could not tell the riddle in three days.

15 Then it came about on the [j]fourth day that they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband, so that he will tell us the riddle, or we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us? Is this not so?” 16 Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You only hate me, and you do not love me; you have propounded a riddle to the sons of my people, and have not told it to me.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told it to my father or mother; so should I tell you?” 17 However she wept before him seven days while their feast lasted. And on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard. She then told the riddle to the sons of her people. 18 So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,

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

And he said to them,

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
You would not have found out my riddle.”

19 Then the Spirit of the Lord [k]came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house. 20 But Samson’s wife was given to his companion who had been his [l]friend.

Footnotes

  1. Judges 14:2 Lit up
  2. Judges 14:2 Lit mother, saying,
  3. Judges 14:3 Lit brothers
  4. Judges 14:3 Lit my
  5. Judges 14:3 Lit is right in my eyes
  6. Judges 14:6 Lit rushed upon
  7. Judges 14:7 Lit was right in Samson’s eyes
  8. Judges 14:9 Lit it
  9. Judges 14:9 Lit palms
  10. Judges 14:15 So with some ancient versions; Heb seventh
  11. Judges 14:19 Lit rushed upon
  12. Judges 14:20 Or best man