The story of Samson is one of the most famous in the book of Judges. Samson was a Nazirite, a person who took a vow of abstinence and dedication to God. He possessed great strength and was called by God to lead Israel against the Philistines, a neighboring nation that was oppressing the Israelites.
In the passage in question, Samson has just been married to a woman from the Philistine town of Timnah. At the wedding feast, Samson poses a riddle to the Philistine guests, promising a prize of 30 linen garments and 30 changes of clothing to anyone who can solve it. The riddle is a cryptic reference to a lion that Samson had killed earlier, and only he knows the answer.
Samson's wife, who is not named in the passage, is upset that her husband has not shared the riddle with her. She weeps before him and accuses him of not loving her. Samson replies that he has not even told his own parents the answer to the riddle, and asks if he should tell her. She continues to press him, weeping before him for seven days until he finally relents and tells her the answer.
The passage raises several themes and issues, including trust, secrecy, and gender roles. Samson's decision to keep the riddle secret from his wife can be seen as an expression of mistrust or even selfishness. However, it can also be seen as a reflection of the cultural norms and expectations of the time, which placed a premium on male authority and control.
The wife's reaction to Samson's secrecy is also noteworthy. Her tears and accusations of not being loved suggest that she is seeking emotional validation and a sense of intimacy with her husband. However, her decision to betray Samson's trust and reveal the answer to the riddle to her fellow Philistines raises questions about her loyalty and her allegiance to her husband.
The passage can also be read as a commentary on the dynamics of power and control in relationships. Samson's possession of knowledge gives him a certain degree of power and influence over his wife and the other Philistines. However, the wife's tears and emotional manipulation ultimately succeed in wresting control from him and turning the situation to her advantage.
In conclusion, Judges 14:16-17 is a passage that tells the story of Samson and his encounter with his wife at his wedding feast. The passage raises several themes and issues related to trust, secrecy, gender roles, and power dynamics. As we reflect on this story, we can gain insights into the complexities and challenges of human relationships, and the ways in which cultural norms and expectations can shape our behavior and attitudes.
Judges 14:16-17. Samson’s wife wept before him, and said, “You just hate me, and don’t love me. You’ve told a riddle to the children of my people, and haven’t told it to me.” He said to her, “Behold, I haven’t told my father or my mother, so why should I tell you?” She wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted; and on the seventh day, he told her, because she pressed him severely; and she told the riddle to the children of her people.