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Bible Commentaries

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Judges 14

A.M. 2863. B.C. 1141.

Samson’s marriage with a Philistine, and killing a lion, Judges 14:1-7 . He finds honey in the carcass, Judges 14:8 , Judges 14:9 . His riddle, Judges 14:10-14 . Unriddled by means of his wife, Judges 14:15-18 . He kills thirty Philistines, and leaves her, Judges 14:19 , Judges 14:20 .

Verses 1-2

Judges 14:1-2. Samson went After he was come to mature age; to Timnath A place not far from the sea. Get her for me 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. Whoso thus robbeth his father or mother, stealing from them himself, 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, Proverbs 28:24.

Verse 3

Judges 14:3. To take a wife of the uncircumcised 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 for me 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.

Verses 5-6

Judges 14:5-6. And his 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. The Spirit of the Lord came mightily Increased his courage and bodily strength. As he would have rent a kid As soon and as safely. Told not, &c. 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.

Verses 8-9

Judges 14:8-9. 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 scull, or in a sepulchre. Came to his father and mother From whom he had turned aside for a season, Judges 14:8.

Verse 11

Judges 14:11. When they saw him Or, observed him, his stature, and strength, and countenance, and carriage, which were extraordinary. They brought thirty companions 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 pretence of respect and affection.

Verse 12

Judges 14:12. I will now put forth a riddle unto you The custom of those times, and which was transmitted to succeeding ages, was to propose some enigmatical questions to the guests, in order to render the feast more agreeable. Within the seven days of the feast For so long marriage-feasts lasted. Sheets Vestments of linen, which were worn next the skin, (Mark 14:51,) or fine linen clothes, which were used for divers purposes, Matthew 27:59. Thirty changes of raiment Suits of clothes, which consisted of an upper and under garment.

Verse 15

Judges 14:15. On the seventh day, they said, Entice thy husband 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 spent, 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

Judges 14:17. She wept before him, the seven days Or rather, the rest of the seven days; that is, either after the third day, (Judges 14:14,) or all the seventh day, from the time her countrymen came and threatened her till she persuaded Samson to tell her the riddle.

Verses 18-19

Judges 14:18-19. If ye had not, &c. 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, because she was joined with him in the same yoke. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him 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. This action of Samson could neither be commended nor justified, had he not been actuated by a divine impulse, in order to punish the Philistines, according to God’s intention. God made use of him, as the judge does of the executioner, to punish those that merit and are condemned to suffer punishment. And took their spoil This plainly shows the thirty sheets, and thirty changes of raiment, mentioned Judges 14:13, mean only thirty suits of apparel, such as men commonly wore. His anger was kindled For the treachery of his wife and companions; and he went up to his father’s house Without his wife. It would be well for us, if the unkindnesses we meet with from the world, and our disappointments therein, had this good effect upon us, to oblige us to return by faith and prayer to our heavenly Father’s house.

Verse 20

Judges 14:20. Samson’s wife was given, by her father, to his companion, &c. That is, to the chief of the bride-men, to whom he had shown most respect and kindness. This aggravated the insult that was offered to Samson, in proportion as this person had been more familiar with him, and had been treated by him in a more friendly manner than the rest that afforded him their company. This ungenerous friend might possibly be the man distinguished by the appellation of the friend of the bridegroom. See John 3:29.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Judges 14". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/judges-14.html. 1857.