Judges 14:10-20

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, February 27, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Now his father went down to see the woman. And there Samson held a feast, as was customary for young men. When the people saw him, they chose thirty men to be his companions.
'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. 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.'
He replied, 'Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.'
For three days they could not give the answer.
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?'
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?' 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.
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.'
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. And Samson’s wife was given to one of his companions who had attended him at the feast.” (Judges 14:10-20)

Samson married the Philistine woman from Timnah, and as was the custom, their wedding feast was going on and lasting 7 days. The 30 companions that Samson had were sort of like groomsmen that we have in weddings today. The riddle that Samson gives them was mostly for entertainment purposes, but it was also a competition of wits between Samson the Israelite and the Philistines. Clothing was highly valued then, so the 30 sets of clothing that was wagered was a really big deal.

After 3 days, the Philistine men were getting nervous that they couldn’t figure it out, and they were worried that they may have to pay the high price. So what do they do? They threaten Samson’s wife to try and get the answer from him. After much nagging, Samson finally gives in and gives her the answer, which she immediately passes on to the men. Samson accuses them (accurately) of not playing fair. In order to pay his debt, he travels 20 miles away to the key Philistine city of Ashkelon where he robs 30 men of their clothing.

At this point, the marriage between Samson and his wife had not yet been consummated, so it was not yet considered a legal marriage. His wife’s father decided that Samson was not the man for her daughter, so he gives her to one of the groomsmen in marriage, so she wouldn’t be disgraced by Samson’s actions.

Samson tried to be witty and get some extra goods from this riddle challenge, but in the end it cost him dearly - his wife, his dignity, and now he has robbed 30 men too! All of our actions have consequences. Samson chose to give the riddle challenge with its steep price and he chose to give in to his wife’s nagging, and now he’s paying for it by coming away unmarried and disgraced.

What choices are you making in life that could have negative consequences? Samson surely didn’t expect it to end this way, but life has a way of doing that to us - we think we have a sure thing and then it falls through. This week, pray for God to show you choices that will not lead to negative consequences. But if you do make a wrong choice, pray that God shows you the lesson you need to learn from it so you don’t repeat the same mistake again.

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