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Judges 14:5-9

Context

14:5 Samson went down to Timnah. When he approached 1  the vineyards of Timnah, he saw a roaring young lion attacking him. 2  14:6 The Lord’s spirit empowered 3  him and he tore the lion 4  in two with his bare hands 5  as easily as one would tear a young goat. But he did not tell his father or mother what he had done.

14:7 Samson continued on down to Timnah 6  and spoke to the girl. In his opinion, she was just the right one. 7  14:8 Some time later, when he went back to marry 8  her, he turned aside to see the lion’s remains. He saw 9  a swarm of bees in the lion’s carcass, as well as some honey. 14:9 He scooped it up with his hands and ate it as he walked along. When he returned 10  to his father and mother, he offered them some and they ate it. But he did not tell them he had scooped the honey out of the lion’s carcass. 11 

1 tc The MT reads, “Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah. When they approached…” Verse 6b states that Samson did not tell his parents about his encounter with the lion (vv. 5b-6a), but v. 5a gives the impression they would have seen the entire episode. One could assume that Samson separated from his parents prior to the lion’s attack, but the Hebrew text does not indicate this. It seems more likely that the words “with his father and his mother” were accidentally copied into the text, perhaps under the influence of v. 4a, where the same phrase appears. An original singular verb (“he approached”) may have been changed to the plural form (“they approached”) after the words “his father and his mother” were accidentally added to the text.

2 tn Heb “and look, a young lion of the lions was roaring to meet him.”

3 tn Heb “rushed on.”

4 tn Heb “him” or “it”; the referent (the lion) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tn Heb “and there was nothing in his hand.”

6 tn Heb “He went down.”

7 tn Heb “She was the right one in the eyes of Samson.”

8 tn Heb “get.”

9 tn Heb “and look, a swarm of bees…”

10 tn Heb “went.” Samson apparently went home to his parents before going to Timnah for the marriage. Seeing and tasting the honey appears to encourage Manoah to go with his son to Timnah. Perhaps both Samson and his father viewed the honey as a good omen of future blessing. Possibly Samson considered it a symbol of sexual pleasure or an aphrodisiac. Note the use of honey imagery in Song 4:11 and 5:1.

11 sn Touching the carcass of a dead animal undoubtedly violated Samson’s Nazirite status. See Num 6:6.



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