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Bible Commentaries
Judges 14

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 1

Timnath - See Joshua 15:10 and note. It was below Zorah Judges 13:2, about three miles S. W. of it.

Verse 2

Get her for me - namely, by Paying the requisite dowry (see marginal references) and gifts to relations. Hence, the frequent mention of parents taking wives for their sons Exodus 34:16; Nehemiah 10:30, because the parents of the bridegroom conducted the negotiation, and paid the dower to the parents of the bride.

Verse 3

The uncircumcised Philistines - Compare 1 Samuel 14:6; 1Sa 17:26; 1 Samuel 31:4, for a similar use of the term as one of reproach. Also Acts 11:3.

Verse 4

His father and mother very properly opposed Samson’s marriage with a Pagan woman, the daughter of the oppressors of his race. But they could not prevail, because it was the secret purpose of God by these means to “seek occasion” against the Philistines; i. e. to make the misconduct of the father of Samson’s wife, which He foresaw, the occasion of destruction to the Philistines. Compare the marginal references for similar statements.

Verse 8

The formal dowry and gifts having been given by Samson’s father, an interval, varying according to the Oriental custom, from a few days to a full year, elapsed between the betrothal and the wedding, during which the bride lived with her friends. Then came the essential part of the marriage ceremony, namely, the removal of the bride from her father’s house to that of the bridegroom or his father.

The carcase of the lion - The lion, slain by him a year or some months before, had now become a mere skeleton, fit for bees to swarm into. It was a universal notion among the ancients that bees were generated from the carcass of an ox.

Verse 10

Made a feast ... - This was the wedding-feast, protracted in this instance seven days, in that of Tobias (Tobit 8:19) fourteen days. It was an essential part of the marriage ceremony Genesis 29:22; Esther 2:18; Matthew 22:2-4; Revelation 19:7, Revelation 19:9.

Verse 11

Thirty companions - These were “the children of the bride-chamber” (Matthew 9:15; see Judges 14:20). From the number of them it may be inferred that Samson’s family was of some wealth and importance.

Verse 12

See the marginal references. Riddles formed one of the amusements of these protracted feasts.

Sheets - Rather “linen shirts;” the “garments” which follow are the outward garments worn by the Orientals.

Verses 14-15

Three days ... on the seventh day - Proposed alterations, such as “six days ... on the fourth day,” are unnecessary if it be remembered that the narrator passes on first to the seventh day (at Judges 14:15), and then goes back at Judges 14:16 and beginning of Judges 14:17 to what happened on the 4th, 5th, and 6th days.

To take that we have - See the margin. They affirm that they were only invited to the wedding for the sake of plundering them by means of this riddle, and if Samson’s wife was a party to plundering her own countrymen, she should suffer for it.

Verse 18

They try to give the answer in a way to make it appear that they had guessed it. Samson saw at once that she had betrayed him. He lets them know in a speech, which was of the nature of a riddle, that he had discovered the treachery.

Verse 20

His companion - Perhaps one of those mentioned in Judges 14:11. The transaction denotes loose notions of the sanctity of marriage among the Philistines. It should be noted carefully that the practical lesson against ungodly marriages comes out most strongly in this case and that the providential purpose which out of this evil brought discomfiture to the Philistines, has nothing to do with the right or wrong of Samson’s conduct.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Judges 14". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/judges-14.html. 1870.
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