Judges 14

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1 καὶ κατέβη σαμψων εἰς θαμναθα καὶ εἶδεν γυναῖκα εἰς θαμναθα ἀπὸ τῶν θυγατέρων τῶν ἀλλοφύλων

2 καὶ ἀνέβη καὶ ἀπήγγειλεν τῷ πατρὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ τῇ μητρὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἶπεν γυναῖκα ἑόρακα ἐν θαμναθα ἀπὸ τῶν θυγατέρων φυλιστιιμ καὶ νῦν λάβετε αὐτὴν ἐμοὶ εἰς γυναῖκα

3 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ μὴ οὔκ εἰσιν θυγατέρες τῶν ἀδελφῶν σου καὶ ἐκ παντὸς τοῦ λαοῦ μου γυνή ὅτι σὺ πορεύῃ λαβεῖν γυναῖκα ἀπὸ τῶν ἀλλοφύλων τῶν ἀπεριτμήτων καὶ εἶπεν σαμψων πρὸς τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ ταύτην λαβέ μοι ὅτι αὕτη εὐθεῖα ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς μου

4 καὶ ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν ὅτι παρὰ κυρίου ἐστίν ὅτι ἐκδίκησιν αὐτὸς ζητεῖ ἐκ τῶν ἀλλοφύλων καὶ ἐν τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ οἱ ἀλλόφυλοι κυριεύοντες ἐν ισραηλ

5 καὶ κατέβη σαμψων καὶ ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ εἰς θαμναθα καὶ ἦλθεν ἕως τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος θαμναθα καὶ ἰδοὺ σκύμνος λέοντος ὠρυόμενος εἰς συνάντησιν αὐτοῦ

6 καὶ ἥλατο ἐπ' αὐτὸν πνεῦμα κυρίου καὶ συνέτριψεν αὐτόν ὡσεὶ συντρίψει ἔριφον καὶ οὐδὲν ἦν ἐν ταῖς χερσὶν αὐτοῦ καὶ οὐκ ἀπήγγειλεν τῷ πατρὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ τῇ μητρὶ αὐτοῦ ὃ ἐποίησεν

7 καὶ κατέβησαν καὶ ἐλάλησαν τῇ γυναικί καὶ ηὐθύνθη ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς σαμψων

8 καὶ ὑπέστρεψεν μεθ' ἡμέρας λαβεῖν αὐτὴν καὶ ἐξέκλινεν ἰδεῖν τὸ πτῶμα τοῦ λέοντος καὶ ἰδοὺ συναγωγὴ μελισσῶν ἐν τῷ στόματι τοῦ λέοντος καὶ μέλι

9 καὶ ἐξεῖλεν αὐτὸ εἰς χεῖρας αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐπορεύετο πορευόμενος καὶ ἐσθίων καὶ ἐπορεύθη πρὸς τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς καὶ ἔφαγον καὶ οὐκ ἀπήγγειλεν αὐτοῖς ὅτι ἀπὸ τοῦ στόματος τοῦ λέοντος ἐξεῖλεν τὸ μέλι

10 καὶ κατέβη ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ πρὸς τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ ἐποίησεν ἐκεῖ σαμψων πότον ἑπτὰ ἡμέρας ὅτι οὕτως ποιοῦσιν οἱ νεανίσκοι

11 καὶ ἐγένετο ὅτε εἶδον αὐτόν καὶ ἔλαβον τριάκοντα κλητούς καὶ ἦσαν μετ' αὐτοῦ

12 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς σαμψων πρόβλημα ὑμῖν προβάλλομαι ἐὰν ἀπαγγέλλοντες ἀπαγγείλητε αὐτὸ ἐν ταῖς ἑπτὰ ἡμέραις τοῦ πότου καὶ εὕρητε δώσω ὑμῖν τριάκοντα σινδόνας καὶ τριάκοντα στολὰς ἱματίων

13 καὶ ἐὰν μὴ δύνησθε ἀπαγγεῖλαί μοι δώσετε ὑμεῖς ἐμοὶ τριάκοντα ὀθόνια καὶ τριάκοντα ἀλλασσομένας στολὰς ἱματίων καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ προβαλοῦ τὸ πρόβλημα καὶ ἀκουσόμεθα αὐτό

14 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς τί βρωτὸν ἐξῆλθεν ἐκ βιβρώσκοντος καὶ ἀπὸ ἰσχυροῦ γλυκύ καὶ οὐκ ἠδύναντο ἀπαγγεῖλαι τὸ πρόβλημα ἐπὶ τρεῖς ἡμέρας

15 καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ τετάρτῃ καὶ εἶπαν τῇ γυναικὶ σαμψων ἀπάτησον δὴ τὸν ἄνδρα σου καὶ ἀπαγγειλάτω σοι τὸ πρόβλημα μήποτε κατακαύσωμέν σε καὶ τὸν οἶκον τοῦ πατρός σου ἐν πυρί ἦ ἐκβιάσαι ἡμᾶς κεκλήκατε

16 καὶ ἔκλαυσεν ἡ γυνὴ σαμψων πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ εἶπεν πλὴν μεμίσηκάς με καὶ οὐκ ἠγάπησάς με ὅτι τὸ πρόβλημα ὃ προεβάλου τοῖς υἱοῖς τοῦ λαοῦ μου οὐκ ἀπήγγειλάς μοι καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ σαμψων εἰ τῷ πατρί μου καὶ τῇ μητρί μου οὐκ ἀπήγγελκα σοὶ ἀπαγγείλω

17 καὶ ἔκλαυσεν πρὸς αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τὰς ἑπτὰ ἡμέρας ἃς ἦν αὐτοῖς ὁ πότος καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ ἑβδόμῃ καὶ ἀπήγγειλεν αὐτῇ ὅτι παρενώχλησεν αὐτῷ καὶ αὐτὴ ἀπήγγειλεν τοῖς υἱοῖς τοῦ λαοῦ αὐτῆς

18 καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ οἱ ἄνδρες τῆς πόλεως ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ ἑβδόμῃ πρὸ τοῦ ἀνατεῖλαι τὸν ἥλιον τί γλυκύτερον μέλιτος καὶ τί ἰσχυρότερον λέοντος καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς σαμψων εἰ μὴ ἠροτριάσατε ἐν τῇ δαμάλει μου οὐκ ἂν ἔγνωτε τὸ πρόβλημά μου

19 καὶ ἥλατο ἐπ' αὐτὸν πνεῦμα κυρίου καὶ κατέβη εἰς ἀσκαλῶνα καὶ ἐπάταξεν ἐξ αὐτῶν τριάκοντα ἄνδρας καὶ ἔλαβεν τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν καὶ ἔδωκεν τὰς στολὰς τοῖς ἀπαγγείλασιν τὸ πρόβλημα καὶ ὠργίσθη θυμῷ σαμψων καὶ ἀνέβη εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ

20 καὶ ἐγένετο ἡ γυνὴ σαμψων ἑνὶ τῶν φίλων αὐτοῦ ὧν ἐφιλίασεν


Exploring the Meaning of Judges 14      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 14: Samson’s Philistine wife.

At the time of Samson, the Philistines were fiercely oppressing Israel. The Philistines lived on the coast, and they may well have come from overseas. They lived in the region for about 600 years, and the Old Testament refers to many later conflicts with the Philistines.

One day, Samson saw a young Philistine woman in Timnath, and he asked his parents to get her for his wife. They asked why he did not choose an Israelite woman, but he insisted on marrying the woman he saw in Timnath, so they all went to meet her. On the way, Samson was attacked by a lion, and he tore it apart with his bare hands. After some time, when he passed by the same place, there was a swarm of bees and honey inside the lion’s carcass. He ate some of the honey, and even brought some of it to his parents, but he did not tell them where it came from.

The woman pleased Samson, and he arranged a feast to which thirty companions were invited. At the feast, Samson told them a riddle: “Out of the eater came something to eat, out of the strong came something sweet.” He said that if they solved the riddle in the seven days of the feast, he would give them thirty linen sheets and thirty changes of clothing. If not, they were to give him the same. They could not solve the riddle for three days, so they convinced Samson’s wife to beg him for the answer. At the end of seven days, the men answered Samson’s riddle, and he was furious.

Then the Lord’s spirit came upon Samson, and he killed thirty Philistine men from Ashkelon, took their garments, and gave these to the thirty men at the feast. His wife was given to his companion.

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The spiritual meaning of the powerful Philistines is believing faith is all-important, and does not require charity or good works in life — a fundamental spiritual error. This way of thinking is called ‘faith alone’ spirituality, and it can take many forms. The proximity of the Philistines to Israel is also significant, as it suggests that the temptation to prefer faith without considering charity is never far away (see Swedenborg’s work, True Christian Religion 200[3]).

The pursuit of a Philistine wife reflects the alluring nature of faith without charity, an easy, complacent spirituality. The young lion represents the force of faith alone to hold us in its grip. The honey stands for the spiritual sweetness following regeneration, as we use our faith to expand our hearts and minds (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 5620[1]).

Samson’s riddle stands for the puzzling nature of the Word’s teachings to those living by faith alone. The number thirty stands for what is whole, in this instance, the completely opposing nature of faith alone and true spiritual living. The linen sheets and changes of clothing mean taking up a genuine spiritual life which involves repentance, living the by the Word, and acknowledging the Lord. Linen is the material of a priest’s robes, and stands for the highest spiritual truths (Arcana Caelestia 5319[7]).

This end of this story shows us that faith alone doubles back on itself, and leads to a completely external understanding of the Lord. This is seen in taking garments from the thirty dead Philistines and giving them to the Philistines from the feast. Samson’s wife, who was given to his Philistine companion, stands for the complete divide between faith alone and love for the Lord. Samson’s apparent anger is really the zeal of protecting the nature of true spiritual life, which comes from the Lord (see Swedenborg’s work, Apocalypse Revealed 365).

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