He that in the choice of a wife is guided only by his eye and governed by his fancy must afterward thank himself if he finds a Philistine in his arms (v. 3).
We should not be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
(God often overrules our mistakes to take occasion against the enemies of His Truth).
1 And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.
2 And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife.
3 Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.
4 But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.
5 ¶ Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him.
6 And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.
7 And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well.
8 ¶ And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion.
9 And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion.
10 ¶ So his father went down unto the woman: and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do.
11 And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him.
12 ¶ And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments:
13 But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it.
14 And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle.
15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson’s wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father’s house with fire: have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so?
16 And Samson’s wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee?
17 And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people.
18 And the men of the city said unto 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 unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.
19 ¶ And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father’s house.
20 But Samson’s wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend.
Judges 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Judges 14:1-14 – A Self-willed Youth
Timnath lay just across the frontier, in the Philistine country. It was a bad match and the beginning of life-trouble. Young people cannot be too careful as to their first love-match. Pray over it before you let your heart go. Take the advice of parents and friends. Whatever you do, marry only “in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:11). For a Christian to marry one who is destitute of the divine life, is not only to set Christ’s law at defiance, but to incur the misery of perpetual discord. It is impossible to have perfect fellowship with one who is not agreed with you in your deepest nature, I Corinthians 7:39.
This young lion, on the path between the vineyards, seems to have been the means of awakening Samson to claim that divine strength which had awaited his appeal but until that moment had been undiscovered. May it not be that lions have been allowed to roar at you, that you might be driven back upon God, and compelled to avail yourself of those infinite resources which reside in the ever-living Savior? —Through the Bible Day by Day
Judges 14:14—Out of the eater came forth meat.
Young lions roar at the saints. The lion of hell gives them no little trouble. Though he may not come upon the path of holiness—for no lion shall be there—yet he comes very near it. “As a roaring lion, walketh about” (1 Peter 5:8). Temptation may well be compared to the attack on Samson by the young lion of Timnath.
The lion’s carcass, lying where Samson had rent and cast it, became the home of honey-bees. And as the hero went back to look at it in after-days, he obtained meat and sweetness.
How apt the parable! Every conquered temptation yields these two things—strength and sweetness. We are more than conquerors, not only vanquishing the foe, but dividing the spoils of victory.
It yields strength.—Each time we overcome sin, the strength of the temptation passes into our hearts; as the Indian warrior supposes that the might of each warrior whom he levels to the dust, enters into himself. To resist impatience, makes us more patient in proportion to the strength of the temptation we resist. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12).
It gives sweetness.—There is a new gentleness to those who have been tempted; a humility, a modesty, a consciousness of the presence of God, through whom the victory has been secured; a new zest for the Word of God. How sweet are thy words to my taste! sweeter than honey and the honeycomb. The life that is hid with Christ in God is full of sweetness and gentleness. “The fruit of the Spirit is …gentleness” (Galatians 5:22). —Our Daily Homily
Judges 14:15-20; 15:1-8 – In Bad Company
What strong confirmation is afforded, by Samson’s experience, of the misery of a mixed marriage! This Philistine wife had no real love for him, and was more readily influenced by her own people than by her husband. How could she enter into his desire to emancipate Israel? To carry out his life-purpose of freeing Israel, He must break with her. Notice how this poor wife was visited with the very chastisement from which she hoped, by treachery, to save herself. Compare Judges 14:17 and Judges 15:6.
Samson’s riddle is constantly being verified. We all have to encounter lions. Happy are we if we rend them in the power of the Holy Spirit! And have we not often discovered that the very sorrow, trial, or temptation which we dreaded most and which threatened to destroy us, has yielded the strength and sweetness, the meat and honey, which have enriched us for all after-time? Samson shared these with his mother and father. Let us never keep to ourselves those glorious lessons and results which we may have won in conflicts and sorrows that only the eye of God has witnessed. Let others share their benefit. —Through the Bible Day by Day