Summary: Samson may not have known it, but this first encounter, as recorded in Scripture, would lead to a lifetime of problems, heartache, and a lot more. He was about to enter trouble in Timnath.


Samson was one of several “miracle” babies, born to women who could not conceive a child except by God’s power. Other women facing that situation included Sarah, Rebekah, Hannah, Rachel, Elisabeth, and the Shunammite woman mentioned in 2 Kings 4. The virgin Mary is of course a special case.

In Judges 13, Samson’s parents received instructions, directly from God through the Angel of the LORD about what Samson’s mother was supposed to do, and how Samson was supposed to live. He was to be a Nazarite from birth, meaning among other things he was never to cut his hair, never to drink wine nor strong drink and never to touch anything unclean (additional details about the Nazarite vow are in Numbers 6). By the time of chapter 14, Samson is at least old enough to consider marriage. Instead of choosing a possible spouse from either the women of Dan, or even other Israelite girls, he was smitten by a pagan Philistine woman.

Samson may not have known it, but this first encounter, as recorded in Scripture, would lead to a lifetime of problems, heartache, and a lot more. He was about to enter trouble in Timnath.

These first four verses set the stage for the rest of this story:

[Judges 14:1, KJV] 1 And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife. 3 Then his father and his mother said unto him, [Is there] never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well. 4 But his father and his mother knew not that it [was] of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.

One thing that stands out is just why Samson went to Timnath in the first place! Admittedly, the Philistines did rule over Israel at the time, so perhaps there was a political aspect to this (paying taxes, reporting in, or any number of things) but we do not know why, nor how often Samson made this journey. Dan had a relatively small amount of land as their original inheritance to begin with (Josh. 19:40-48), and their original territory was close to Philistine land anyway. It goes without saying that if Israel had followed the LORD’s commands completely, and removed the pagans who were still in the Promised Land, this problem may not have even come up.

But even worse than traveling to enemy land, Samson became attracted to a Philistine woman. This was wrong on many levels: first, intermarriage with pagans was strictly forbidden in the Law of Moses (Exodus 34:10-16). Second, there is no indication that she was attracted to him: Samson only said in so many words, “I saw her, I want her, now go get her for me”. Third, and finally, Samson is dragging his parents into this and they knew none of this was good!

Look at the response of his parents: “Isn’t there a Hebrew girl who pleases you? Why then are you looking among the uncircumcised Philistines for a mate?” They seemed to have not only better faith and stronger faith than Samson himself at this time, but also they were aware of the trouble bound to happen in any mixed marriage. The Philistines worshiped Dagon (some believe Dagon was half man and half fish) and had little if anything to do with Israel’s God. Besides, they had conquered Israel and they believed Dagon was stronger than the God of Israel.

How could any good come from any of that, whether marriage or anything else?

Incredibly, something good was going on, even though none of the parties involved knew it at the time. Certainly, God would never approve of an Israelite marrying a pagan but in this case, knowing how basically stubborn Samson was, God allowed him to follow his own course. Samson was going to accomplish God’s will even though Samson didn’t know it at the time. Remember that God had told Samson’s parents that their son would “begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines (Judges 13:5)”.

Could this be the beginning of the beginning?

Verses 5-9 describe, in summary, Samson’s second time of trouble.

5 Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him. 6 And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and [he had] nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done. 7 And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well. 8 And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, [there was] a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion. 9 And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion.

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion