Judges 14

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1 και κατεβη σαμψων εις θαμναθα και ειδεν γυναικα εις θαμναθα απο των θυγατερων των αλλοφυλων

2 και ανεβη και απηγγειλεν τω πατρι αυτου και τη μητρι αυτου και ειπεν γυναικα εορακα εν θαμναθα απο των θυγατερων φυλιστιιμ και νυν λαβετε αυτην εμοι εις γυναικα

3 και ειπεν αυτω ο πατηρ αυτου και η μητηρ αυτου μη ουκ εισιν θυγατερες των αδελφων σου και εκ παντος του λαου μου γυνη οτι συ πορευη λαβειν γυναικα απο των αλλοφυλων των απεριτμητων και ειπεν σαμψων προς τον πατερα αυτου ταυτην λαβε μοι οτι αυτη ευθεια εν οφθαλμοις μου

4 και ο πατηρ αυτου και η μητηρ αυτου ουκ εγνωσαν οτι παρα κυριου εστιν οτι εκδικησιν αυτος ζητει εκ των αλλοφυλων και εν τω καιρω εκεινω οι αλλοφυλοι κυριευοντες εν ισραηλ

5 και κατεβη σαμψων και ο πατηρ αυτου και η μητηρ αυτου εις θαμναθα και ηλθεν εως του αμπελωνος θαμναθα και ιδου σκυμνος λεοντος ωρυομενος εις συναντησιν αυτου

6 και ηλατο επ' αυτον πνευμα κυριου και συνετριψεν αυτον ωσει συντριψει εριφον και ουδεν ην εν ταις χερσιν αυτου και ουκ απηγγειλεν τω πατρι αυτου και τη μητρι αυτου ο εποιησεν

7 και κατεβησαν και ελαλησαν τη γυναικι και ηυθυνθη εν οφθαλμοις σαμψων

8 και υπεστρεψεν μεθ' ημερας λαβειν αυτην και εξεκλινεν ιδειν το πτωμα του λεοντος και ιδου συναγωγη μελισσων εν τω στοματι του λεοντος και μελι

9 και εξειλεν αυτο εις χειρας αυτου και επορευετο πορευομενος και εσθιων και επορευθη προς τον πατερα αυτου και την μητερα αυτου και εδωκεν αυτοις και εφαγον και ουκ απηγγειλεν αυτοις οτι απο του στοματος του λεοντος εξειλεν το μελι

10 και κατεβη ο πατηρ αυτου προς την γυναικα και εποιησεν εκει σαμψων ποτον επτα ημερας οτι ουτως ποιουσιν οι νεανισκοι

11 και εγενετο οτε ειδον αυτον και ελαβον τριακοντα κλητους και ησαν μετ' αυτου

12 και ειπεν αυτοις σαμψων προβλημα υμιν προβαλλομαι εαν απαγγελλοντες απαγγειλητε αυτο εν ταις επτα ημεραις του ποτου και ευρητε δωσω υμιν τριακοντα σινδονας και τριακοντα στολας ιματιων

13 και εαν μη δυνησθε απαγγειλαι μοι δωσετε υμεις εμοι τριακοντα οθονια και τριακοντα αλλασσομενας στολας ιματιων και ειπαν αυτω προβαλου το προβλημα και ακουσομεθα αυτο

14 και ειπεν αυτοις τι βρωτον εξηλθεν εκ βιβρωσκοντος και απο ισχυρου γλυκυ και ουκ ηδυναντο απαγγειλαι το προβλημα επι τρεις ημερας

15 και εγενετο εν τη ημερα τη τεταρτη και ειπαν τη γυναικι σαμψων απατησον δη τον ανδρα σου και απαγγειλατω σοι το προβλημα μηποτε κατακαυσωμεν σε και τον οικον του πατρος σου εν πυρι η εκβιασαι ημας κεκληκατε

16 και εκλαυσεν η γυνη σαμψων προς αυτον και ειπεν πλην μεμισηκας με και ουκ ηγαπησας με οτι το προβλημα ο προεβαλου τοις υιοις του λαου μου ουκ απηγγειλας μοι και ειπεν αυτη σαμψων ει τω πατρι μου και τη μητρι μου ουκ απηγγελκα σοι απαγγειλω

17 και εκλαυσεν προς αυτον επι τας επτα ημερας ας ην αυτοις ο ποτος και εγενετο εν τη ημερα τη εβδομη και απηγγειλεν αυτη οτι παρενωχλησεν αυτω και αυτη απηγγειλεν τοις υιοις του λαου αυτης

18 και ειπαν αυτω οι ανδρες της πολεως εν τη ημερα τη εβδομη προ του ανατειλαι τον ηλιον τι γλυκυτερον μελιτος και τι ισχυροτερον λεοντος και ειπεν αυτοις σαμψων ει μη ηροτριασατε εν τη δαμαλει μου ουκ αν εγνωτε το προβλημα μου

19 και ηλατο επ' αυτον πνευμα κυριου και κατεβη εις ασκαλωνα και επαταξεν εξ αυτων τριακοντα ανδρας και ελαβεν τα ιματια αυτων και εδωκεν τας στολας τοις απαγγειλασιν το προβλημα και ωργισθη θυμω σαμψων και ανεβη εις τον οικον του πατρος αυτου

20 και εγενετο η γυνη σαμψων ενι των φιλων αυτου ων εφιλιασεν


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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