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  • JOHN WESLEY'S BIBLE COMMENTARY
    NOTES - JUDGES 14

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    XIV Samson's marriage with a Philistine, and killing a lion, ver. 1-7. He finds honey in the carcase, ver. 8, 9. His riddle, ver. 10- 14. Unriddled by means of his wife, ver. 15-18. He kills thirty Philistines, and leaves her, ver. 19,

    Verse 1. Went - After he was come to mature age. Timnath - A place not far from the sea.

    Verse 2. To wife - Herein he is an example to all children, conformable to the fifth commandment. Children ought not to marry, nor to move toward it without the advice and consent of their parents. They that do, as Bishop Hall speaks, unchild themselves. Parents have a property in their children, as parts of themselves. In marriage this property is transferred. It is therefore not only unkind and ungrateful, but palpably unjust, to alienate this property, without their concurrence. Who so thus robbeth his father or mother, stealing himself from them who is nearer and dearer to them than their goods, and yet saith, It is no transgression, the same is the companion of a destroyer, Prov. xxviii, 24.

    Verse 3. Philistines - With whom the Israelites were forbidden to marry. For although the Philistines were not Canaanites in their original, yet they were so in their concurrence with them in wickedness, and therefore were liable to the same judgments with them. Get her - This action of Samson's, though against common rules, seems to be warranted, by the direction of God, (mentioned in the following words) which was known to Samson, but not to his parents. Pleaseth me - Not so much for her beauty, as for the design mentioned in the next verse.

    Verse 5. Father and mother - Who accompanied him, either because they were now acquainted with his design; or, to order the circumstances of that action which they saw he was set upon.

    Verse 6. Came mightily - Increased his courage and bodily strength. A kid - As soon and as safely. Told not, &c. - Lest by their means it should be publickly known; for he wisely considered, that it was not yet a fit time to awaken the jealousies and fears of the Philistines concerning him, as this would have done.

    Verse 8. After a time - Hebrew. after days; that is, either after some days: or, rather, after a year, as that word often signifies; when the flesh of the lion, (which by its strong smell is offensive to bees) was wholly consumed, and nothing was left but the bones. Bees - Settling themselves there, as they have sometimes done in a man's skull, or in a sepulchre.

    Verse 9. Came to, &c. - From whom he had turned aside for a season, ver. 8.

    Verse 11. Saw him - Or, observed him, his stature, and strength, and countenance, and carriage, which were extraordinary. Brought - Partly in compliance with the custom of having bride-men; though they were not so numerous; but principally by way of caution, and as a guard put upon him under a pretense of respect and affection.

    Verse 12. Seven days - For so long marriage-feasts lasted. Sheets - Fine linen-clothes, which were used for many purposes in those parts. Changes - Suits of apparel.

    Verse 15. Seventh day - They had doubtless spoken to her before this time, but with some remissness, supposing that they should find it out; but now their time being nigh slipped, they put her under a necessity of searching it out. To take that we have - That is, to strip us of our garments.

    Verse 17. The seven days - That is, on the residue of the seven days; namely, after the third day.

    Verse 18. If ye had not &c. - If you had not employed my wife to find it out, as men plough up the ground with an heifer, thereby discovering its hidden parts; he calls her heifer, because she was joined with him in the same yoke.

    Verse 19. The spirit came - Though he had constant strength and courage; yet that was exceedingly increased upon special occasions, by the extraordinary influences of God's spirit. To Ashkelon - Either to the territory; or to the city itself, where he had both strength and courage enough to attempt what follows; and upon the doing hereof they were doubtless struck with such terror, that every one sought only to preserve himself, and none durst pursue him. His anger was kindled - For the treachery of his wife and companions. He went - Without his wife. It were well for us, if the unkindnesses we meet with from the world, and our disappointments therein has this good effect on us, to oblige us to return by faith and prayer, to our heavenly father's house.

    Verse 20. Was given - By her father. Whom he had used - That is, to the chief of the bride-men, to whom he had shewed most respect and kindness.

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