Study Guide

Book of Judges Chapter 14

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Chapter 14

Lions And Honey And Riddles, Oh My!

  • Samson sees a Philistine woman and tells his parents he wants to marry her, which is a no-no in Israel. Ahh, forbidden love!
  • His parents are disappointed that he doesn't want to marry an Israelite, but he insists, so they head toward her house to negotiate the marriage.
  • On his way there, a young lion attacks Samson.
  • The Spirit of the Lord comes to Samson just in time, though, and he shows that lion who's boss.
  • The Spirit of the Lord, we'll see, is to Samson what anger is to the Incredible Hulk. Anytime you see the Spirit of the Lord coming, stay tuned for carnage.
  • Samson tells no one about his lion-wrestling, and continues to his future Philistine in-laws' house.
  • Samson's parents negotiate with his dream-girl's parents, who agree to the marriage.
  • While he's on his way to pick up his new bride, he passes the carcass of the lion he killed. "[A]nd, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcasse of the lion" (KJV 14:8).
  • He eats some of the honey, and gives some to his parents without telling them where he got it.
  • As was the custom, Samson throws a wedding feast at his Philistine phiancée's house.
  • Samson challenges 30 Philistines at the feast to solve a riddle within seven days. If they can guess the answer, he'll give them 30 sheets and 30 changes of garments; if they can't, they each have to give him a sheet and a change of garments.
  • They accept the challenge, and Samson riddles them this: "Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness" (KJV 14:14).
  • They can't figure it out, so they go to Samson's wife with an ultimatum: Tell us the answer to your husband's riddle, or we'll "burn thee and thy father's house with fire" (KJV 14:15). Sheesh!
  • So she tries to convince Samson to tell her the riddle, but he refuses until she weeps and harasses him for 7 days.
  • She tells the Philistines the answer, and they say to Samson, "What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion?" (KJV 14:18)
  • "If ye had not plowed with my heifer," Samson says, "ye had not found out my riddle" (KJV 14:18). He seems upset. We're going to suggest he refrain from comparing his wife to a cow anyway, though.
  • "And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him [here it comes!] 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" (KJV 14:19).
  • Unbeknownst to him, Samson's new wife is given to a Philistine friend of his. This is going to get ugly…

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