The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Judges
Samson paid a visit to Thamnatha, and there was a woman there, a Philistine, that took his eye;
and when he went home he told his father and mother, I have seen a Philistine woman in Thamnatha I would fain have you choose out for my bride.
What, said his parents, canst thou find no bride amongst the women of thy own tribe, nay, of all Israel, that thou must wed the daughter of some uncircumcised Philistine? She must be thy choice for me, Samson told his father; I like her well.
How could they know that this was the Lord’s will; that this was to be the occasion of a quarrel between Samson and the Philistines, who then held Israel under their dominion?
So, with his father and mother, Samson went to Thamnatha again. And now they had reached the vineyards belonging to the town, when, of a sudden, he met a young lion, that roared upon him savagely.
Thereupon the spirit of the Lord came down upon Samson, and although he had no weapon, he tore it to pieces as easily as if it had been a kid. He told his father and mother nothing of it,
but hastened on to have speech with the woman he loved.
Some days afterwards, he came there again to make her his wife. He turned aside on his way to find the lion’s carcase; and what should he find in its mouth but a swarm of bees, and a comb of honey?
So he carried off the comb, and fell to eating it as he went along; gave some, too, to his father and mother to eat, but still did not tell them that the honey came from a lion’s body.
And now that Samson’s father had reached the home of his daughter-in-law, he gave a feast in Samson’s honour; for still the young men would be at their feasting;
and thirty of these had been appointed by their fellow-citizens, when he came, to be his companions for the wedding.
To these, Samson proposed that he should ask them a riddle; if they could answer it within seven days, while the feasting lasted, he would give each of them a linen shirt and a new garment;
if they could not, each of them should do the same by him. Tell us the riddle, they said; let us hear it.
And he said, Out of the eater came food, and out of strength, sweetness. The third day came, and still they had not found the answer.
And at last, on the eve of the seventh day, they went to Samson’s wife; Use all thy arts, they said, with thy husband, and make him tell thee what the riddle means; or we will burn thy father’s house down, and thyself with it; didst thou bid us to the wedding only to strip us bare?
Already, when she was alone with Samson, she was ever weeping and bemoaning herself, Thou art weary of me, thou dost not love me any longer; thou hast asked these neighbours of mine a riddle, and thou wilt not tell me the answer. Nay, said he, why should I tell thee? Have I not kept it secret from my own father and mother?
Such were the plaints she had made all through the week of the banquet; and now, this seventh day, she plied him hard, and at last he told her. At once she betrayed it to her fellow-townsfolk,
and they, before the sun of the seventh day had set, asked Samson, What is sweeter than honey, what is stronger than a lion? You have been yoking my heifer, said he, to your plough, or my riddle would be unanswered still.
Then the spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he went down to Ascalon and there slew thirty men, whose clothes he stripped off and gave to the answerers of his riddle. So, in high displeasure, he went back to his father’s house,
and his wife mated with one of these friends of his, that had been his guests at the wedding.
The Holy Bible