Judges 14

 

וַיֵּרֶד שִׁמְשׁוֹן תִּמְנָתָה וַיַּרְא אִשָּׁה בְּתִמְנָתָה מִבְּנוֹת פְּלִשְׁתִּים׃   14:1

Judg. 14:1   And Samson went down to Timnah, and he saw a woman in Timnah from the daughters of the Philistines.

וַיַּעַל וַיַּגֵּד לְאָבִיו וּלְאִמּוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר אִשָּׁה רָאִיתִי בְתִמְנָתָה מִבְּנוֹת פְּלִשְׁתִּים וְעַתָּה קְחוּ־אוֹתָהּ לִּי   14:2

לְאִשָּׁה׃

Judg. 14:2   And he came up and declared to his father and his mother and said, “I have seen a woman in Timnah from the daughters of the Philistines.  So now get her for me for a wife.”

וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ הַאֵין בִּבְנוֹת אַחֶיךָ וּבְכָל־עַמִּי אִשָּׁה כִּי־אַתָּה הוֹלֵךְ לָקַחַת אִשָּׁה מִפְּלִשְׁתִּים   14:3

הָעֲרֵלִים וַיֹּאמֶר שִׁמְשׁוֹן אֶל־אָבִיו אוֹתָהּ קַח־לִי כִּי־הִיא יָשְׁרָה בְעֵינָי׃

Judg. 14:3   And his father said to him, with his mother, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your brethren or among all my people, that you go to take a wife from the Philistines who are uncircumcised?  And Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is most pleasant in my eyes.”

וְאָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ לֹא יָדְעוּ כִּי מֵיְהוָה הִיא כִּי־תֹאֲנָה הוּא־מְבַקֵּשׁ מִפְּלִשְׁתִּים וּבָעֵת הַהִיא פְּלִשְׁתִּים   14:4

מֹשְׁלִים בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל׃

Judg. 14:4   Now his father and his mother did not know that it was from the Lord, for He was procuring an opportunity from the Philistines -- and at that time the Philistines were rulers in Israel.

וַיֵּרֶד שִׁמְשׁוֹן וְאָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ תִּמְנָתָה וַיָּבֹאוּ עַד־כַּרְמֵי תִמְנָתָה וְהִנֵּה כְּפִיר אֲרָיוֹת שֹׁאֵג לִקְרָאתוֹ׃   14:5

Judg. 14:5   So Samson went down, with his father and his mother, to Timnah, and they came as far as the vineyards of Timnah and, behold, a lion, a young lion, was roaring in his way.

וַתִּצְלַח עָלָיו רוּחַ יְהוָה וַיְשַׁסְּעֵהוּ כְּשַׁסַּע הַגְּדִי וּמְאוּמָה אֵין בְּיָדוֹ וְלֹא הִגִּיד לְאָבִיו וּלְאִמּוֹ אֵת   14:6

אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה׃

Judg. 14:6   And the spirit of the Lord rushed upon him and he rent him like rending a kid, and there was not a thing in his hand; and he did not tell what he had done to his father or to his mother.

וַיֵּרֶד וַיְדַבֵּר לָאִשָּׁה וַתִּישַׁר בְּעֵינֵי שִׁמְשׁוֹן׃   14:7

Judg. 14:7   And he went down and spoke to the woman and she was most pleasant in the eyes of Samson.

וַיָּשָׁב מִיָּמִים לְקַחְתָּהּ וַיָּסַר לִרְאוֹת אֵת מַפֶּלֶת הָאַרְיֵה וְהִנֵּה עֲדַת דְּבוֹרִים בִּגְוִיַּת הָאַרְיֵה וּדְבָשׁ׃   14:8

Judg. 14:8   And he returned after a while to get her, and he turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion and, behold, a swarm of bees were in the body of the lion, and honey.

וַיִּרְדֵּהוּ אֶל־כַּפָּיו וַיֵּלֶךְ הָלוֹךְ וְאָכֹל וַיֵּלֶךְ אֶל־אָבִיו וְאֶל־אִמּוֹ וַיִּתֵּן לָהֶם וַיֹּאכֵלוּ וְלֹא־הִגִּיד לָהֶם כִּי   14:9

מִגְּוִיַּת הָאַרְיֵה רָדָה הַדְּבָש׃ׁ

Judg. 14:9   And he scooped it out to his hand and he went forward, and he ate, and he came to his father and to his mother and he gave to them and they ate, but he did not reveal to them that he had scooped the honey from the body of the lion.

וַיֵּרֶד אָבִיהוּ אֶל־הָאִשָּׁה וַיַּעַשׂ שָׁם שִׁמְשׁוֹן מִשְׁתֶּה כִּי כֵּן יַעֲשׂוּ הַבַּחוּרִים׃   14:10

Judg. 14:10   And his father went down to the woman; and Samson made a feast there, for so the young men did.

That is, the young men of the Philistines did so

וַיְהִי כִּרְאוֹתָם אוֹתוֹ וַיִּקְחוּ שְׁלֹשִׁים מֵרֵעִים וַיִּהְיוּ אִתּוֹ׃   14:11

Judg. 14:11   And it came to pass when they themselves saw him, that they brought thirty companions, and they were with him.

וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם שִׁמְשׁוֹן אָחוּדָה־נָּא לָכֶם חִידָה אִם־הַגֵּד תַּגִּידוּ אוֹתָהּ לִי שִׁבְעַת יְמֵי הַמִּשְׁתֶּה   14:12

וּמְצָאתֶם וְנָתַתִּי לָכֶם שְׁלֹשִׁים סְדִינִים וּשְׁלֹשִׁים חֲלִפֹת בְּגָדִים׃

Judg. 14:12   And Samson said to them, “I will put a riddle to you now.  If you find out and can fully explain it to me in the seven days of the feast, then I will give thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes to you.”

וְאִם־לֹא תוּכְלוּ לְהַגִּיד לִי וּנְתַתֶּם אַתֶּם לִי שְׁלֹשִׁים סְדִינִים וּשְׁלֹשִׁים חֲלִיפוֹת בְּגָדִים וַיֹּאמְרוּ לו   14:13ֹ

חוּדָה חִידָתְךָ וְנִשְׁמָעֶנָּה׃

Judg. 14:13   “But if you are not able to explain to me, then you will give thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes to me.”  And they said to him, “Put forth your riddle that we may hear it.”

וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם מֵהָאֹכֵל יָצָא מַאֲכָל וּמֵעַז יָצָא מָתוֹק וְלֹא יָכְלוּ לְהַגִּיד הַחִידָה שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים׃   14:14

Judg. 14:14   And he said to them,

                “From the eater came forth food,

                       and from the strong came forth sweetness.” 

And they were not able to explain the riddle three days.

וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וַיֹּאמְרוּ לְאֵשֶׁת־שִׁמְשׁוֹן פַּתִּי אֶת־אִישֵׁךְ וְיַגֶּד־לָנוּ אֶת־הַחִידָה פֶּן־נִשְׂרֹף אוֹתָך   14:15ְ

וְאֶת־בֵּית אָבִיךְ בָּאֵשׁ הַלְיָרְשֵׁנוּ קְרָאתֶם לָנוּ הֲלֹא׃

Judg. 14:15   And it was on the seventh day, and they said to the wife of Samson, “Entice your husband that he should explain the riddle to us, lest we burn you and the house of your father with fire.  Have you indeed invited us to impoverish us?”

It was apparently the seventh day of the week, not of the feast.  Presumably it was still the third day of the feast.  If that’s so, it was the Sabbath, and the feast would have started on either the previous Wednesday or Thursday, depending on when in the day the feast began.

וַתֵּבְךְּ אֵשֶׁת שִׁמְשׁוֹן עָלָיו וַתֹּאמֶר רַק־שְׂנֵאתַנִי וְלֹא אֲהַבְתָּנִי הַחִידָה חַדְתָּ לִבְנֵי עַמִּי וְלִי לֹא   14:16

הִגַּדְתָּה וַיֹּאמֶר לָהּ הִנֵּה לְאָבִי וּלְאִמִּי לֹא הִגַּדְתִּי וְלָךְ אַגִּיד׃

Judg. 14:16   And the wife of Samson complained against him and said, “You must only hate me and not love me, that the riddle you have put forth to the children of my people, you have not explained it to me.”  And he said to her, “Behold, to my father or to my mother I have not explained it, then shall I explain to you?”

וַתֵּבְךְּ עָלָיו שִׁבְעַת הַיָּמִים אֲשֶׁר־הָיָה לָהֶם הַמִּשְׁתֶּה וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וַיַּגֶּד־לָהּ כִּי הֱצִיקַתְהו   14:17ּ

וַתַּגֵּד הַחִידָה לִבְנֵי עַמָּהּ׃

Judg. 14:17   And she complained against him seven of the days that were of the feast for them, and it was on the seventh day that he explained to her, because of her oppressing him, and she explained the riddle to the children of her people.

Something seems not quite right here.  It was not until the third day of the feast that the men came to Samson’s wife (v. 14:15).  Yet this verse informs us that she had tried to get his secret for all of the seven days.  More strange happenings!  However, there is speculation by at least one commentator that in the first three days, Samson’s wife wanted to know the answer to the riddle to satisfy her own curiosity.

וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ אַנְשֵׁי הָעִיר בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי בְּטֶרֶם יָבֹא הַחַרְסָה מַה־מָּתוֹק מִדְּבַשׁ וּמֶה עַז מֵאֲרִי וַיֹּאמֶר   14:18

לָהֶם לוּלֵא חֲרַשְׁתֶּם בְּעֶגְלָתִי לֹא מְצָאתֶם חִידָתִי׃

Judg. 14:18   Then the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun was to go down, “What is sweeter than honey?  And what is stronger than a lion?”  And he said to them, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have found out my riddle.”

Samson’s response strongly implies that he knew how they had gotten the answer to his riddle.  That would explain the next verse, in a way.

וַתִּצְלַח עָלָיו רוּחַ יְהוָה וַיֵּרֶד אַשְׁקְלוֹן וַיַּךְ מֵהֶם שְׁלֹשִׁים אִישׁ וַיִּקַּח אֶת־חֲלִיצוֹתָם וַיִּתֵּן הַחֲלִיפוֹת   14:19

לְמַגִּידֵי הַחִידָה וַיִּחַר אַפּוֹ וַיַּעַל בֵּית אָבִיהוּ׃

Judg. 14:19   And the spirit of the Lord rushed upon him and he went down to Ashkelon and smote thirty men from them and took their spoil, and he gave the changes to the explainers of the riddle.  And his anger was kindled and he went up to the house of his father.

וַתְּהִי אֵשֶׁת שִׁמְשׁוֹן לְמֵרֵעֵהוּ אֲשֶׁר רֵעָה לוֹ׃   14:20

Judg. 14:20   But the wife of Samson remained for his friend who had been a companion to him.

The meaning of the fourth word in this verse is not easily understood.  The consensus among the commentators is that Samson’s wife turned to this friend when Samson left her.  Some conjecture that she loved him more than she did her husband, and that’s why she betrayed him.

 

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