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  • Gwen Diaz

Samson's Riddle

March 18 - Nº 77 Judges 14

When the angel of the Lord first announced Samson’s birth to his parents, he explained that their child would help deliver the Israelites from the powerful, pagan rule of the Philistines. So when Samson announced that he wanted to marry a Philistine woman from a village nearby called Timnah, his parents were shocked. “Don’t you want to marry an Israelite?” they questioned. “Do you have to marry a Philistine?” Literally translated, his reply was, “I want her. She looks really good to me!” Samson was more focused on his own lusts and desires than he was on God’s plans. Although marrying this girl was probably not God’s original plan for Samson’s life, God used it later to instigate a confrontation with the Philistines. On his way to the girl’s village to propose, Samson was attacked by a young lion. Great power from the Holy Spirit came on him, and he tore the lion apart with his bare hands. Then he continued on his journey without telling anyone about the incident. The marriage was arranged. Some time later, on his way to the ceremony, Samson stepped off the path to check on the carcass of the lion he had killed. There was a swarm of bees in it and some honey. He scooped out the honey and ate it and took some back to his parents, still not explaining what had happened. In those days, it was customary for the groom to celebrate for seven days with his friends before the official ceremony. Since none of his Jewish friends attended, the people of Timnah chose 30 men from the town to celebrate with Samson. Samson decided to tell the men a riddle. But first he made a proposition: “If you can give me the answer within these seven days, I will give you each a set of fine clothes. But if you can’t, you must give me thirty sets of clothes.” They agreed. The riddle was: “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet. What am I describing?” For three days they tried to figure it out, but they couldn’t. On the fourth day they threatened Samson’s fiancée, “Coax your husband to explain it or we will burn you and everything that belongs to your father.” They were upset because they thought that she and Samson were just trying to steal from them. His future wife was distraught. “You hate me,” she sobbed to Samson. “If you loved me you would tell me the answer to your riddle.” “I haven’t told anyone—not even my parents,” he replied. She cried and begged for three more days. Finally, on the last day of the feast, he gave her the answer. She immediately told the guys. Before sunset that day, they came to Samson with the answer, “What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?” Samson realized that his own fiancé had betrayed him. The power of the Holy Spirit was still with him, so he went to a town nearby and killed thirty Philistines, stripped off their clothes and gave them to his groomsmen. He was so angry that he returned to his own home without completing the wedding ceremony.

Are you more concerned with how things look to you or with how they look to God? Samson could have avoided so much pain and accomplished so much for his nation if he had waited for God to give him the right wife—not the best looking one. He obviously didn’t trust God to provide what was best for him.

1 Samuel 16:7; Psalm 147:10-11; John 7:24; 2 Corinthians 6:14

March 18 - Samson’s Riddle
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