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Jud 14:1-5. SAMSON DESIRES A WIFE OF THE PHILISTINES.
1, 2. Timnath--now Tibna, about three miles from Zorah, his
3, 4. Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren--that
is, "of thine own tribe"--a Danite woman.
Jud 14:5-9. HE KILLS A LION.
5-9. a young lion--Hebrew, a lion in the pride of his youthful prime. The wild mountain passes of Judah were the lairs of savage beasts; and most or all the "lions" of Scripture occur in that wild country. His rending and killing the shaggy monster, without any weapon in his hand, were accomplished by that superhuman courage and strength which the occasional influences of the Spirit enabled him to put forth, and by the exertion of which, in such private incidental circumstances, he was gradually trained to confide in them for the more public work to which he was destined.
8. after a time he returned to take her--probably after the lapse
of a year, the usual interval between the ceremonies of betrothal and
marriage. It was spent by the bride elect with her parents in
preparation for the nuptials; and at the proper time the bridegroom
returned to take her home.
Jud 14:10, 11. HIS MARRIAGE FEAST.
10, 11. his father went down--The father is mentioned as the head
and representative of Samson's relatives.
Jud 14:12-18. HIS RIDDLE.
12-18. I will now put forth a riddle--Riddles are a favorite Oriental amusement at festive entertainments of this nature, and rewards are offered to those who give the solution. Samson's riddle related to honey in the lion's carcass. The prize he offered was thirty sindinim, or shirts, and thirty changes of garments, probably woolen. Three days were passed in vain attempts to unravel the enigma. The festive week was fast drawing to a close when they secretly enlisted the services of the newly married wife, who having got the secret, revealed it to her friends.
18. If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle--a metaphor borrowed from agricultural pursuits, in which not only oxen but cows and heifers were, and continue to be, employed in dragging the plough. Divested of metaphor, the meaning is taken by some in a criminal sense, but probably means no more than that they had resorted to the aid of his wife--an unworthy expedient, which might have been deemed by a man of less noble spirit and generosity as releasing him from the obligation to fulfil his bargain.
Jud 14:19, 20. HE SLAYS THIRTY PHILISTINES.
19, 20. went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them--This
town was about twenty-four miles west by southwest from Timnah; and his
selection of this place, which was dictated by the Divine Spirit, was
probably owing to its bitter hostility to Israel.
20. Samson's wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend--that is, "the friend of the bridegroom," who was the medium of communicating during the festivities between him and his bride. The acceptance of her hand, therefore, was an act of base treachery, that could not fail to provoke the just resentment of Samson.