The Sad Story of Samson’s Wife

Remember the time Samson was engaged to a Philistine woman? (Judges 14-15) During the wedding feast, Samson gave his riddle about the lion and honey but the Philistine men couldn’t guess the answer. So, they told Samson’s fiancée that they would burn her house down unless she gave them the answer. Scared out of her wits, she pleaded with Samson until he finally gave her the answer. After blurting the answer to her persecutors, they answered the riddle and she escaped the fire. But her actions angered her fiancé to such an extent that he left the party and returned to his home.

Sadly, nobody understood that he just needed time to settle down. When he came back to claim his bride, his father-in-law had already given her away to the best man, thinking Samson had rejected her. That made Samson even more angry with the Philistines. His quest for revenge involved catching 300 foxes, tying them together in pairs, attaching a lit torch between them, and sending them into the Philistine grain fields and orchards. When the Philistines found out why he had done this, they burned Samson’s fiancée and father-in-law to death.

“The mischief we seek to escape by any unlawful practices, we often pull down upon our own heads.” —Matthew Henry

What a mess! None of this needed to take place. Samson’s fiancée could have told him about the Philistine threats so they could handle the problem together. Is there any doubt that Samson could have handled the thirty trouble-makers himself? But instead, his bride chose to use deceit to handle the problem. Not knowing the Lord’s ways, she probably chose what seemed best to her. But, in the end, what seemed to be such an easy solution turned into a tragedy.

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2 thoughts on “The Sad Story of Samson’s Wife

  1. EggsnGrits

    I agree with your comments, but I've always seen Samson's pride as the spark that started this flame. Of course, these goons that threatened to burn down the house (and later murder a family) certainly weren't devoid of bad moves, either. All around a strange story, and one that proves that even God's chosen aren't perfect.

  2. Andy Rupert

    The more I read the Bible, the less perfect the characters become. I don't think it's an excuse for sinful behavior (Rom. 6:1-2). But it is amazing to see what characters God has used to carry out his greater plan.

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