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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. “Shouldn’t you marry an Israelite?” they questioned. “Do you have to marry a Philistine?” Literally translated, Samson’s reply was, “I want her. She looks really good to me!” He was obviously more focused on his own lusts and desires than he was on God’s plans. (Although Samson’s actions were not consistent with God’s intentions, God was still able to use them. Samson’s selfishness created a confrontation with the Philistines that eventually led to their demise.) 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 his journey without telling anyone about the incident. The marriage was arranged. Sometime later, on his way to the ceremony, Samson stepped off the path to check on the carcass of the lion he had killed. He discovered 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 Samson’s Jewish friends would attend, the people of Timnah chose 30 men from the town to celebrate with him. At the celebration, Samson decided to tell the men a riddle. But first he made a proposition: “If you can give me the answer to this riddle 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, so Samson shared his riddle: “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. Samson’s future wife was distraught. “You hate me,” she sobbed to him. “If you loved me, you would tell me the answer to your riddle.” “I haven’t told anyone—not even my parents,” he replied. But she cried and begged for three more days. Finally, on the last day of the feast, he gave her the answer. She immediately ran and told the guys. Before sunset that day, they returned 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 nearby town, 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 how they look to God? Samson could have avoided a lot of 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 a wife who would be perfect for him.


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


77 - Samson's Riddle
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