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Bible Commentaries
Judges 14

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



Samson desires to wife a daughter of the Philistines of Timnath; and this of the Lord, for an occasion against them, Judges 14:1-4.

His parents go down with him to Timnath: a young lion meets him; he kills it, Judges 14:5-7; in his return he findeth honey in the carcass, Judges 14:8,Judges 14:9.

Keepeth a marriage feast: hath thirty companions adjoined to him; to whom he propoundeth a riddle; with promise of a present, Judges 14:10-15.

His wife extorts from him the explication, and discovereth it, Judges 14:16-18.

He slayeth thirty Philistines of Ashkelon, and therewith payeth his present, Judges 14:19.

His wife is given to another, Judges 14:20.

Verse 1

After he was come to mature age.

Timnath; a place not far from the sea; of which see Genesis 38:12; Joshua 15:57; Joshua 19:43.

Verse 3

The uncircumcised Philistines, with whom the Israelites were forbidden to marry, Exodus 34:12, &c. And although the Philistines were not Canaanites in their original, Genesis 10:14; Deuteronomy 2:23; yet they were so in their habitation, and concurrence with them in wickedness, and therefore were liable to the same censures and judgments with them.

Get her for me: this action of Samson’s, though against common rules, seems to be warranted, partly by the greatness and goodness of his design in it, and principally by the instinct and direction of God, which is mentioned in the following words, which was known to Samson, but not to his parents.

She pleaseth me well; not so much for her beauty, as for the design mentioned in the next verse.

Verse 4

He sought an occasion against the Philistines; which he knew by very probable conjecture, if not by particular inspiration, that marriage would give him many ways.

Verse 5

His father and his mother 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, or to watch if they could find any occasion to take him off from his intention.

Came to the vineyards of Timnath, whither he had turned aside, either by a Divine impulse, or upon some real or pretended occasion.

Verse 6

Came mightily upon him; stirred up and increased his courage and bodily strength.

As he would have rent a kid; as soon and as safely.

He told not his father or his mother, lest by their means it should be publicly 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, Heb. after days, i.e. either after some days; or rather, after a year, as that word oft signifies; as Exodus 13:10; Leviticus 25:29; Numbers 9:22; Judges 17:10; 1 Samuel 1:3 1 Samuel 1:27:7; when the flesh of the lion, which by its strong smell is offensive to and avoided by bees, was wholly consumed, and nothing was left but the bones.

There was a swarm of bees; not generated of the dead lion’s body, but elsewhere, and settling themselves there, as they have sometimes done in a man’s skull, and in a sepulchre, and such-like places.

Verse 9

He took thereof in his hands, out of the lion’s carcass.

Quest. Did not Samson transgress in touching a carcass?

Answ. It was in itself a legal pollution; but some such pollutions were involuntary and unavoidable, as in one that hath an issue running in his sleep; and some were necessary duties, as in those who were to attend upon a woman in her month, or upon the burial of a dead body. And such was this pollution, being contracted by Divine instinct and direction, and in order to God’s honour, and therefore dispensed with by the author of that law, and required by him for his service.

Came to his father and mother; from whom he had turned aside for a season, Judges 14:8, upon some pretence or other.

Verse 11

When they saw him, or, observed or considered him, his stature, and strength, and countenance, and carriage, which were extraordinary.

They brought thirty companions to be with him; partly in compliance with the custom of having bridemen; of which see Matthew 9:15; Mark 2:19; John 3:29, though they were not so numerous; and principally by way of caution, and as a guard put upon him under a pretence of respect and affection.

Verse 12

A riddle, i.e. an obscure sentence for you to resolve and explain.

The seven days of the feast; for so long marriage-feasts lasted. See Genesis 29:27.

Thirty sheets; fine linen clothes, which were used for many purposes in those parts. See Matthew 27:59; Mark 14:51.

Thirty change of garments, i.e. changeable suits of apparel, as below, Judges 14:19; Genesis 45:22.

Verse 14

i.e. Out of that strong and devouring creature, the lion, came forth sweet meat, to wit, honey; withal it is covertly implied, that the Philistines, though now they had strength on their side, and dominion over Israel, whom they did devour upon all occasions, yet at last they should become meat to the Israelites.

Verse 15

On the 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 press her with more vehemency, and put her under a necessity of searching it out.

To take that we have, i.e. to strip us of our garments; and so your civility will end in gross unkindness and injustice.

Verse 16

Though I have had much more experience of their fidelity and taciturnity than of thine.

Verse 17

The seven days, while their feast lasted, i.e. on the residue of the seven days, to wit, after the third day. It is a familiar synecdoche. Or, on the seventh of the days on which the feast was; and then the following clause, on the seventh day, is only the noun repeated for the pronoun, on that day; as is most frequent, as 1 Kings 8:1, Solomon assembled—unto Solomon, i.e. unto himself.

Verse 18

If you had not employed my wife to find it out, as men plough up the ground with a heifer, thereby discovering its hidden parts: he calls her

heifer, either because he now suspected her wantonness and too much familiarity with that friend which she afterwards married; or because she was joined with him in the same yoke; or rather, because they used such in ploughing.

Verse 19

The Spirit of the Lord came upon him; though he had a constant habit of eminent 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, which oft comes under the name of the city; or to the city itself, where he had both strength and courage enough to attempt what here follows; and upon the doing hereof they were doubtless struck with such a terror, that every one sought only to preserve himself, and none durst oppose or pursue him.

Change of garments, together with their sheets or shirts, which it sufficed to imply here, being expressed above, Judges 14:13.

His anger was kindled, for the treachery of his wife and companions.

And he went up, to wit, alone, or without his wife.

Verse 20

Samson’s wife was given, by her father, to the chief of the bridemen, to whom he had showed most respect and kindness.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Judges 14". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/judges-14.html. 1685.
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