1One day Samson went to Timnah, where a young Philistine woman attracted his attention.
2He went back home and told his father and mother, “A Philistine woman in Timnah caught my attention. Now get her for me because I want to marry her.”
3But his father and mother replied, “Can't you find a young woman from our tribe or from our own people? Do you have to go to the heathen Philistines to get a wife?” But Samson told his father, “Just get her for me, because she's the one I find her attractive.”
4(His father and mother didn't realize that this was in the Lord's plans, who was looking for an opportunity to deal with the Philistines; because at that time the Philistines ruled over Israel.)
5Samson went to Timnah with his father and mother. When they passed the Timnah vineyards, all of a sudden young lion came roaring out to attack him.
6The Spirit of the Lord swept over him, and he ripped the lion apart with his bare hands as easily as ripping apart a young goat. But he didn't tell his father or mother what he'd done. Then he went on his way.
7When Samson talked with the woman and decided she was right for him.
8Later on when Samson returned to marry her, he turned off the road to look for the lion's carcass. Inside the body was a swarm of bees and their honey.
9He scraped out some of honey into his hands and ate it as he walked. When he got back to his father and mother, he gave some to them and they ate it. But he didn't tell them he'd taken the honey from a lion's carcass.
10While his father went to visit the woman, Samson held a drinking party there, because this was the custom among high-class young men.
11When the Philistine people saw him, they arranged for thirty men to accompany him.
12“Let me pose a riddle to you,” Samson said to them. “If you can find its meaning and explain it to me during the seven days of the party, I'll give you thirty lines cloaks and thirty sets of clothes.
13But if you can't explain it to me, you'll give me thirty lines cloaks and thirty sets of clothes.” “Fine,” they replied. “Let's hear your riddle!”
14“Food came out of the eater, and sweetness came out of the strong,” he said. Three days later they still hadn't worked it out.
15On the fourth day they came to Samson's wife and told her, “Use your charms to get your husband to explain the riddle and then tell us, or we'll burn you and all your family to death. Did you bring us here just to rob us?”
16So Samson's wife went crying to him, saying, “You really do hate me, don't you! You don't love me at all! You have posed a riddle to my people, but haven't even explained it to me.” “So?” he replied. “I haven't even explained it to my father or mother! Why should I explain it to you?”
17She cried in front of him for the whole time of the party, and eventually on the seventh day he explained it to her because she nagged him so much. Then she explained the meaning of the riddle to the Philistine young men.
18Before the sun set on the seventh day, the men of the town came to Samson and said, “What's sweeter than honey? What's stronger than a lion?” “If you hadn't used my cow to plough with, you wouldn't have found out the meaning of my riddle,” Samson replied.
19The Spirit of the Lord swept over him and he went to Ashkelon, killed thirty of their men, took their clothing, and gave it to those who had explained the riddle. Furiously anger, Samson went back to his father's house.
20Samson's wife was given to his best man who had accompanied him at the wedding.