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Jdg 14:1 Samson went down to Timnah and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines-
Judah also did wrong in Timnath with a woman, and was deceived and shamed by her (Jud. 15:1 = Gen. 38:17). Earlier Scripture, which it seems Samson well knew and appreciated, was crying out to Samson to take heed. But he was blind to the real import of it all. It is emphasized that Samson "went down" to her (Jud. 14:1,5,7,10), as if his literal descent to her in the valley was also a retrograde step spiritually. Samson's marriage was wrong. And so it was. And yet his hero Gideon (see on Jud. 13:15) had likewise 'gone down', the record emphasizes, to liberate Israel from their enemies (Jud. 7:9,10,11,24). In view of the other examples of Samson consciously imitating Gideon, it is likely that he was seeking an opportunity to deliver Israel from the Philistines. And yet he mixed his motivations. He loved the girl, he wanted to gratify his flesh with the forbidden fruit. He loved the world, and thereby became in some sense an enemy of God (James 4:4). But then he loved Gideon, he loved the holiness of Yahweh, he hated the world and the Philistines, he loved Israel, weak as they were, and wanted to deliver them from their spiritual bondage. And instead of casting him off as a man of such divided heart that he was not worthy of God's covenant love, God worked with him. And by using a purposeful ambiguity, He has recorded this for us in such a way as unites God's desire for Israel's deliverance with that of Samson.

It may be that as Gideon "went down" to destroy God's enemies (Jud. 7:9), so Samson justified his 'going down' to the Philistines to take their women, as well as to destroy their warriors (Jud. 14:1,5,7,10). As Gideon was somehow 'separate from his brethren' in his zeal, so was Samson. And yet Samson seems to have copied just the externalities of Gideon; not the real spirit. And therefore as Gideon foolishly multiplied women to himself in the spiritual weakness of his middle age, so perhaps Samson saw justification for his attitude. 'If heroic Gideon could indulge the flesh in this area, I surely can'. He fell into our common trap: to compare ourselves amongst ourselves, to measure ourselves against human standards as we find them among the contemporary brotherhood (2 Cor. 10:12). Saul should have realized that Samson, like him, idolized Gideon, but only on a surface level- and should have taken the lesson. But he didn't see the points we've made in this paragraph. He could have done, but he didn't bother. And so with us. The word supplies us the potential power to overcome. It can often happen that the daily readings are almost purpose-designed for our present situation. Yet if we neglect to read them- that help lies untapped. 

Samson fell for the 'little of both' syndrome, justifying it under the guise of Scriptural examples. He had done this in his youth; he "went down" to take a Philistine girl for wife (Jud. 14:1,5,7,10); and yet by doing so he was seeking an opportunity to slay Philistines. He may well have had in mind the sustained emphasis on the fact that Gideon went down to destroy the Midianites (Jud. 7:9,10,11,24). He went down morally and physically, and yet he justified this by thinking that as Gideon went down physically, so would he. Such is the complexity of the process of temptation. And all this is written for our learning.  Significantly, the major temptations within the Lord's mind- as far as we can tell from the record of the wilderness temptations- was to misinterpret Scripture to His own ends; to soften the cross.  

 Jdg 14:2 He came up and told his father and mother, I have seen a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore get her for me as my wife-
This marriage with an unbeliever was clearly wrong. It could be argued that because the father was responsible for his son's marriage partner (Jud. 12:9; 14:2; 15:2; Gen. 24:3-9; Neh. 10:30), therefore Samson's father was equally guilty for Samson's 'marriage out of the faith'. Many of the commands against intermarriage were directed to parents, commanding them not to give their children in intermarriage. And Manoah is presented in Jud. 13 as consistently lacking in spiritual perception.

Jdg 14:3 Then his father and mother said to him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of your brothers, or among all our people, that you go to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? Samson said to his father, Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes-
The disappointment of Samson's parents is that of Esau's (Gen. 26:35; 27:46; 28:1). For all Manoah's slowness to respond and perceive in Jud. 13, he clearly was amongst the faithful minority. Samson's action was quite contrary to the spirit of the Law: marriage with the local tribes was categorically prohibited (Ex. 34:16; Dt. 7:3,4; 1 Kings 11:2). Joshua's warning that those who married the surrounding tribes would find them "a snare and a trap for you... thorns in your eyes" (Josh. 23:12,13 RSV) was fulfilled in Samson being tied up and blinded by Delilah; and yet it also had an element of fulfillment with his wife. The similarity is such as to suggest that Samson's marriage out of the Truth was definitely wrong because it was a fulfillment of the words of Josh. 23. "Is there never a woman among the daughters of your brothers... that you go to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines?" implies that she wasn't the first one; he had often got involved with Philistine girls down in the valley, despite his conscience for Yahweh troubling him as he walked alone on the heights (Jud. 13:25 Heb.). Samson gave no good answer to his parents: simply "Get her for me; for she is right in my eyes" (14:3, repeated in 14:7 for emphasis- he really did fall for the lust of the eyes). This insistence rather than explanation would suggest a bad conscience in Samson. Likewise the crowd only shouted out the more when asked why and for what crime they wished to crucify Jesus (Mt. 27:23). The Biblical record is consistently psychologically credible, and true to observed human experience in this area. Unlike the contemporary, uninspired histories and legends of the other nations around Israel. See on :10,11.

She was 'right in his eyes' (14:3 AVmg.) not for beauty but in the sense that 'she suits my purpose' (Heb.). The same Hebrew is used not concerning beauty but rather utility in 1 Sam. 18:20; 2 Sam. 17:4; 1 Kings 9:12. The way in which Samson set up the riddle, almost expecting that they might tease it out of him through his wife, the way in which he agreed that if they did this, he would give them the clothes of 30 Philistines... it all suggests that Samson set the whole thing up to seek an opportunity against the Philistines.

Jdg 14:4 But his father and mother didn’t know that it was from Yahweh, for He sought an occasion against the Philistines, for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel-
The "He" can be read as both God and Samson; they both had the same desire, and God worked with mixed up Samson to this end. Working all this out from the evidence presented in the record is hard work. The fact a man does something "of the Lord" doesn't mean that he is guiltless. In the same context of God's deliverance of Israel from the Philistines, men who did things "of the Lord" were punished for what they did (Dt. 2:30; 1 Sam. 2:25; 2 Chron. 22:7; 25:20). But the whole question of Samson's marriage is overshadowed by this fact that " It was of the Lord, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines". He used this incident to begin to raise up Samson as a Judge of Israel (Jud. 2:16,18; 1 Chron. 17:10). This is surely one of Scripture's purposeful ambiguities, designed to provoke us to meditation: it is unclear whether " he" refers to Samson or Yahweh. There are a number of other passages which mention how "it was of the Lord" that certain attitudes were adopted by men, resulting in the sequence of events which He desired (Dt. 2:39; Josh. 11:20; 1 Sam. 2:25; 1 Kings 12:15; 2 Chron. 10:15; 22:7; 25:20). It is tempting to read Jud. 14:4 in this context, meaning that God somehow made Samson desire that woman in order to bring about His purpose of freeing Israel from Philistine domination. And yet this would require that God almost made Samson have a desire for that woman. For God's Spirit works directly upon the human spirit, and yet confirms our spirit in where we really want to go. This may not be impossible- it may be that Paul's God-given "thorn in the flesh" was a similar forbidden passion. It would be an example of God leading into temptation (Mt. 6:13). However, it is more likely that God worked through Samson's wrong desires, through his human weakness, to bring about God's purpose and glory.   

It is often maintained that "judge not" refers to not judging motives. If we are not to judge motives, but we are to 'judge' in some sense, this would mean that we must judge the outward works of men. And yet Biblical and human analysis reveals that outward behaviour is often not a reflection of inner motive (e.g. Samson's marriage). To judge outward behaviour without considering motives is almost pointless. There are countless cases of where the same action may be right or wrong depending on motive. Thus both David and Uzziah acted as the High Priest, but only Uzziah was condemned for it; David refused to choose his punishment as God asked him, preferring to leave it to God, whereas when Ahaz did something similar, he was condemned for it; Rahab's lie is commended as an act of faith, whilst other lies are sins; Samuel and Eli both had the same experience of their children being apostate and them being criticized for it, but only Eli is condemned for this.

God's intention was that Samson was to deliver Israel from the Philistines; but somehow he never rose up to it, and only 'began' to do it (Jud. 13:5). They remained under the Philistines, even during his ministry. He made a few sporadic attempts in red hot personal zeal, confirmed by God, to deliver Israel. But he never rose up to the potential level that God had prepared for him in prospect. And yet for all this, he was accepted in the final analysis as a man of faith.

Jdg 14:5 Then Samson went down with his father and mother, to Timnah and came to the vineyards of Timnah, and suddenly a young lion roared against him-
We get the picture of Samson and his parents walking the four miles down into the valley, and Samson goes off for a wander in the vineyards. The vineyard was a symbol of Israel (Ps. 80:15; Is. 1:8; 5:7; 27:2; Jer. 12:10; Mt. 21:41). This may have been already evident to Samson from Gen. 49:11; although most likely the symbol of Israel as God's vineyard was already established by his time. Conscious that Timnath was the 'portion assigned' to Dan and yet they had failed to take it, Samson meditates there in the vineyards, a symbol of Israel, the people who should have been there. Inheriting Philistine vineyards was one of the blessings promised (Dt. 6:11) and initially obtained by Joshua-Jesus (Josh. 24:13). And yet those vineyards were now back in Philistine control. A lion suddenly appeared and roared against him, just as the Philistines later would (Jud. 15:14). The lion was a common symbol of Israel's enemies. The Spirit came upon Samson and he overcame it, in evident symbol to him that he really could deliver Israel from the Philistines. There is every reason to think that Samson appreciated all this symbology.

And yet did Samson ultimately slay the lion of the Philistines and bring the promised blessings of honey to Israel (cp. Ex. 3:8; Dt. 8:8 etc.)? No, not really. He achieved some tokenistic success against their warriors; but Israel remained enslaved (Jud. 15:20). He didn't live up to that potential which God had enabled him to achieve. And yet although it may seem that his life was wasted, in that he didn't really bring much deliverance for anyone- the whole process of it saved him personally. Those whose families and converts have turned away from the Faith will identify with this comfort. But whilst the above case for Samson's spiritual commitment can be made, there is evidence galore that his motives were mixed in this matter of Samson's marriage. Consider: why did he as a Nazirite go for a walk in vineyards, among the forbidden fruit (cp. Christians putting themselves into compromising situations)? This was typical of him: a great zeal and understanding, mixed with a desire to walk as close to the edge as possible, and to ultimately have a little of both. He had a fascination with vineyards, which the record brings out. Like an ex-alcoholic staring at the bottles in the shop ‘just out if interest’, so Samson fooled about with what was forbidden- just as we all tend to.

Not only do circumstances repeat between the lives of God's children, but also within our lives. We may pass through a very similar experience more than once. The human chances of this ever happening again were remote. But the similarity and repetition may be so that we learn the lesson we failed to learn; or it could even be a punishment for not learning the lessons we should have learned. Again, Samson's life demonstrates this. The lion roared against him as the Philistines did (Jud. 14:5 s.w. Jud. 15:14); and not least in the uncanny similarities between the way his first wife enticed him and wrung his secrets from him, and the way 40 years later another worthless woman did the same to him (Jud. 14:15-17 = Jud. 16:5,15,16). He just didn't see the similarities, or if he did, he didn't learn any lessons. Admittedly, it's far easier for us, presented with the records as they are, spanning 40 years within a few pages.


Jdg 14:6 The Spirit of Yahweh came mightily on him and he tore it as he would have torn a young goat, having nothing in his hand, but he didn’t tell his father or his mother what he had done-
It was only after it roared against him that the Spirit came upon him and enabled him to kill it. He had to take the first nervous steps towards that lion in faith, and then the Spirit came upon him and confirmed his actions. The fact he didn't tell his parents what he had done may not only indicate his humility, but also suggests he was not naturally a strong man. To say he had just killed a lion would seem ridiculous.

The stress is on the way in which the Spirit came upon Samson (Jud. 14:6,19; 15:14), as it did on other judges (Jud. 3:10; 6:34; 11:29). "Not by  might, nor by power, but by my spirit" (Zech. 4:6) may be referring to these incidents; demonstrating that when God's spirit acts on a man, it is not human muscle at all that operates. He is even listed amongst those who out of weakness were made strong (Heb. 11:34).

Samson killed a lion, escaped fire and killed many Philistines by his faith (Heb. 11:32-34)- so the Spirit tells us. Yet these things were all done by him at times when he had at best a partial faith. He had a worldly Philistine girlfriend, a sure grief of mind to his Godly parents, and on his way to the wedding he met and killed a lion- through faith, Heb. 11 tells us (Jud. 14:1-7). The Philistines threatened to burn him with fire, unless his capricious paramour of a wife extracted from him the meaning of his riddle. He told her, due, it seems, to his hopeless sexual weakness. He then killed 30 Philistines to provide the clothes he owed the Philistines on account of them answering the riddle (Jud. 14:15-19). It is evident that Samson was weak in many ways at this time; the Proverbs make many allusions to him, the strong man ruined by the evil Gentile woman, the one who could take a city but not rule his spirit etc. And yet underneath all these weaknesses, serious as they were, there was a deep faith within Samson which Heb. 11 highlights.

The latter day invader is likened to a beast devouring Israel (Joel 1:6), having the Assyrian invader as its prototype. But the Philistines are here likened to a lion ravaging God's people, the vineyard of God. Thus the period of invasions by Israel's smaller neighbours is a prelude to the final invasion by Assyria/Babylon. These larger powers are also symbolized by the lion (Jer. 50:17).

Jdg 14:7 He went down and talked with the woman, and she pleased Samson well-
This again indicates that he didn't simply and totally use her as a tool towards his purpose of killing Philistines. He did really love her, and was wrong in this.

Jdg 14:8 After a while he returned to take her-
Samson is described as wanting to "take" a wife; this Hebrew word is 51 times translated 'take away', 31 times 'fetch'. He evidently didn't intend to live there with her; he wanted her to come and live with him in the Israelite encampment, four miles up in the hills from the valley where she lived.

And he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion. In it there was a swarm of bees, in the body of the lion, and honey-
God sent the lion against Samson. He did this in order to go along with Samson's symbolic thoughts, and this may afford some justification for Samson's marriage. He was there, wandering in those vineyards, meditating how they were representative of the blessings which belonged to Israel, and yet they were now in the hands of God's enemies. And then, God furthers the parable: He sends a lion, symbolic of the Philistines, and Samson is given power to overcome him. And further, when Samson returned to the carcass to meditate deeper on 'the fallen one' (14:8 doesn't use the usual word for 'carcass'- s.w. " fall" Prov. 29:16; Ez. 26:15; 27:27; 31:13), "behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass of the lion" (14:8). The Hebrew for "swarm" is normally used (124 times) about a congregation of people, often God's people Israel. And the Hebrew for 'Bee' is 'Deborah', a celebrated earlier judge. God was surely teaching him that through his victory over the Philistine lion, God's people could be inspired to be faithful, and would therefore be able to enjoy the promised blessing of honey, taken out of the Philistines. Samson saw all this; for he "took" (Heb. is usually used in the sense of 'to take dominion over') the honey, partook himself, and shared it with others. In all this there is a detailed type of the Lord's representative sacrifice on the cross. On the cross, He won the victory over the lion of the devil (1 Pet. 5:8 cp. Heb. 2:14; 1 Jn. 3:8 may allude to Samson's victory). This enabled us to be empowered to partake the Kingdom blessings. As Samson walked away from the carcass some days after killing it (14:8 Heb. "a time" = 'days'- three days?), with the honey in his hands, eating it and offering it to others, so the Lord left the empty tomb. See on :9.

Samson discovered a congregation (Heb. 'edat) of bees- deborim , in Hebrew. The judge Deborah would've been fairly recent history for Samson; she would have been the heroine of anyone like Samson, who also arose to save Israel from their enemies at that time. Surely he was being gently led to reflect that there were a whole congregation of Deborahs ['bees'] around, and he should eat of them. And yet Samson went his loner road, and suffered the consequences of it- rather like Elijah, who was in denial of the fact there were actually at least another 7000 in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal. Or perhaps Samson was simply being asked to execute his deliverance of Israel after the pattern of Deborah, to 'eat' of her, to fellowship her example and spirit. But he chose not to 'get it'; as we so often do in the countless nudges and prods which God gives us in daily life.

Jdg 14:9 which he took it into his hands and went on, eating as he went. He came to his father and mother and gave some to them and they ate, but he didn’t tell them that he had taken the honey out of the body of the lion-
See on :8. The way he ate and gave to his parents and they also ate without him telling them where he got it from is a clear reversal of what happened in Eden (Gen. 3:6; doubtless Eve didn't tell Adam either where the fruit came from): but here the fruits of spiritual victory rather than failure were enjoyed and shared. The promised blessings of honey were conditional upon Israel's obedience (Dt. 32:13 cp. Ps. 81:16), although granted in prospect (Dt. 32:13). Israel at Samson's time were disobedient and therefore didn't have the Kingdom blessings. And yet the whole acted parable taught that through the supreme zeal of one lonely man, into whose struggle not even his parents could enter (14:6,16), the blessings of obedience could be brought to the disobedient multitude of God's people. And here we have the essence of the Gospel.   

Jdg 14:10 His father went down to the woman, and Samson made a drinking feast as was the custom for the young men-
The process of marriage involved Samson in participating in the traditions of the surrounding tribes (this is emphasized: Jud. 14:10,11; 15:20). The "feasting" was strictly 'drinking' (Heb.)- and Samson the Nazirite attended this. Even if he didn't partake, he was placing himself directly in temptations' way to break his Naziriteship. Just like walking alone in the vineyards.     

Jdg 14:11 When they saw him they brought thirty companions to be with him-
The problem with marriage out of the faith is that you don't marry just a person, but a family. And so he now has 30 "friends", all of them unbelievers. But we suspect Samson had evil intent in all this, for his marriage was because he sought opportunity against the Philistines. The groom ought to have brought 30 friends with him, but he didn't. And so the bride's family provided them. LXX says they did this "because they feared him". They sensed he had evil intent toward them.

Jdg 14:12 Samson said to them, Let me tell you a riddle now. If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing-
We wonder whether somehow, Samson knew he was going to tell his wife and she would tell the others, thereby creating the need for 30 garments, which he would obtain by murder. Perhaps he knew this only on a deeply subconscious level. But clearly he was using their deceit in suddenly expecting him to come up with 30 changes of clothes for his "friends" as an excuse to murder 30 Philistines. For the entire marriage was because he sought an opportunity to fight the Philistines.

They had to declare the riddle "and find it out" (14:12 AV). This would indicate that they had to actually find the carcass of a lion with honey in it. They plowed behind his wife as a heifer, and so were led by her to Samson's secret place of meditation where the dead lion was (Jud. 14:18).

Jdg 14:13 But if you can’t give me the answer, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing. They said to him, Tell us your riddle, that we may hear it-
It was Samson's duty as the groom to provide 30 changes of clothing (a huge expense), or at least, this was what they perhaps unexpectedly told him at the wedding. But perhaps he knew this full well ahead of time, and was using it as an excuse to kill 30 Philistines. How that exactly would work out, he perhaps didn't know. He clearly did love his bride, and she did indeed betray his love and trust. It is impossible to totally decode where he really stood in all this in psychological terms- for his motives were mixed and his plans and intentions were therefore perhaps not clearly defined in his own mind.

Jdg 14:14 He said to them, Out of the eater came forth food. Out of the strong came forth sweetness. They couldn’t give the answer in three days-
"The eater" (Heb. 'the devourer') and "the strong" not only referred to the lion, but more essentially to Samson himself. The same basic word for 'eater' is used as a verb to describe how Samson 'ate' / 'devoured' the honey from the lion (Jud. 14:9). And years later the Philistines realized how Samson's riddle described himself: for they rejoiced that "the destroyer (devourer) of our country" was now overcome (Jud. 16:24). Samson saw that through his God-given strength he could bring forth the honey of blessing to Israel. They had to declare the riddle "and find it out" (14:12 AV). This would indicate that they had to actually find the carcass of a lion with honey in it. They plowed behind his wife as a heifer, and so were led by her to Samson's secret place of meditation where the dead lion was (Jud. 14:18).   

Jdg 14:15 On the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, Entice your husband to tell us the riddle, or we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you called us here to mock us?-
Thirty changes of clothes was a major expense. "To mock us" can be rendered "to make us poor". Or the idea may be that they would have to strip themselves naked and give their clothes to Samson.

Jdg 14:16 Samson’s wife wept before him and said, You must hate me, and don’t love me. You have given a riddle to my people but you haven’t told it me. He said to her, I haven’t even told it to my father or my mother; why should I tell you-
He speaks to his wife as if she should expect that he was closer to his Hebrew parents than to her: "'I haven't even explained it (the riddle) to my father or mother', he replied, 'So why should I explain it to you?'" (14:16 NIV). Gen. 2:24 taught that a man must leave his parents and cleave to his wife in marriage; she must be closer to him than them. It could be that by saying this, Samson was reminding her that he didn't see their relationship as full marriage; he was only using her (cp. how he 'used' a Philistine as his best man, 14:20). Yet he did what only days before had been unthinkable: he told her his finest and most personal secret, which he wouldn't even tell his dear parents. Such is the fickleness of our nature. And yet there seems reason to think that somehow Samson foresaw his possible failure, and arranged to use the situation to forward God's work. It could even be that the girl was party to Samson's plan; she may have appeared to have a genuine interest in Samson's spiritual aims. The Philistines themselves realized this when they chode with Samson's wife that they had been called to the wedding 'to have our possession taken away' (14:15 Heb.). They saw the aim of Samson's marriage: to dispossess them and take their possession for Israel. It seems no accident that he chose Timnath, 'a portion assigned'- to Israel. This was part of the land promised to Dan, but which they had allowed the Philistines to overrun (Josh. 19:43,47). And Samson would have seen himself as 'Samson-of-Zorah', the hornet- symbol of the Egyptian tribes which drove out the Canaanites in preparation for Israel's later victories (Dt. 7:20; Josh. 24:12).

Jdg 14:17 She wept before him for seven days, while their feast lasted, and on the seventh day he told her, because she pressed him severely. Then she told the riddle to her people. On the seventh day before the sun went down-
As "she cried the whole seven days of the feast" (14:17 NIV), she daily "pressed him". This is the very same Hebrew word used in many passages to describe how an apostate, Gentile-loving Israel would be pressed / oppressed by their enemies (Dt. 28:53,57; Jer. 19:9; Is. 51:13). Samson was in some sense apostate at this time, yet he had faith and was strongly motivated; and for this he was blessed by God with strength to defeat the Philistines. The daughters of the Philistines hate God's people (2 Sam. 1:20; Ez. 16:27,57). The Ezekiel passages stress the paradox: that Israel (whom Samson represented) loved the women who hated them.

Samson really loved that girl (Jud. 14:3,17; 15:1,7,11), even though he also hated her (Jud. 15:2; he must have gone through this process again with Delilah in the time that led up to her final betrayal). This true love for her makes Samson's marriages look more questionable.

Jdg 14:18 the men of the city said to him, What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion? He said to them, If you hadn’t ploughed with my heifer you wouldn’t have found out my riddle-
They had to declare the riddle "and find it out" (14:12 AV). This would indicate that they had to actually find the carcass of a lion with honey in it. They plowed behind his wife as a heifer, and so were led by her to Samson's secret place of meditation where the dead lion was (Jud. 14:18).

There is reason to think that to some degree, Samson may have realized that his life was pointing ahead to the great Messianic deliverer yet to come, the Lord Jesus Christ. Samson may have recognized the strength of the future Saviour when he gave his riddle to the Philistines. He meditated upon that dead lion with the sweet honey in it, and formulated his comment: "What is sweeter than honey? What (or, Who?) is stronger than a lion (Heb. 'the strong one'- this is one of Samson's many word plays)?". 'Who is stronger than the strong one?' was an idea picked up by the Lord Jesus in, I suggest, conscious allusion (Mt. 12:29); although it is masked in the English text. He was the strong one who was stronger than the strong man of sin. Through His victory, the roaring lion of the devil lays dead. And in his skull is sweet honey; did Samson see in this the same meaning as David did in Ps. 119:103? Did he so understand the nature and method of the Lord's work that he appreciated that the Lord's victory over all His people's enemies would be through the power of God's word, lying there in the place of the mind of the beast He overcame? Yet Samson killed the lion himself; surely he felt that to some degree he was the strong man who had overcome the beast,  through his application to God's word. His frequent references and allusions to God's past revelation, both in his words and actions, would indicate that he was a man of the word.

Jdg 14:19 The Spirit of Yahweh came mightily on him, and he went down to Ashkelon and struck thirty men of them and took their belongings and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle-
Lev. 26:3-8 had promised dramatic success against their enemies on the basis of obedience to the Law. The fact Samson had this power was therefore proof that he really was reckoned by God as zealously obedient to the Law; and yet he was like this in the midst of a sadly apostate Israel. I take this view of his strength. This is in itself no mean achievement: to rise to a level of spirituality much higher than that achieved by the surrounding brotherhood.

Significantly, he went down to the valley of Ashkelon, the very place that Joshua had conquered but Judah had been unable to drive out the Philistines from (1:18,19), and slew 30 warriors.

His anger was burning, and he went up to his father’s house-He seems angry that he had let himself fall too deeply for that Philistine girl (14:19), and "utterly hated her" (15:2). And yet this human anger may also have been mixed with a more righteous anger, in that to give his wife to another was adultery, and it happened that they carried out (perhaps unconsciously?) the punishment for adultery which the law required (Lev 20:14; 21;9). He realized that the Philistines had led him into sin, and he just wanted to destroy the source of his temptation. When he slew the thirty men at Ashkelon, as he seemed to have planned right at the start in his seeking occasion against the Philistines, he was "burning with anger". His motive was partly bitterness and the revenge of a man humiliated and deceived by a woman; but his slaughter of the Philistines was also done in faith (Heb. 11:32-34), with God given strength to confirm his faith.

Jdg 14:20 But Samson’s wife was given to his companion, whom he had considered a friend-
AV "used". We get the impression that he 'used' his wife as he 'used' this best man, because his motive was to use the situation in order to dispossess and murder Philistines. But he also genuinely loved the girl. His motives were terribly mixed.