1 One day Samson traveled to Timnah. He noticed a young Philistine woman.
2 He went home and told his father and mother: »A Philistine woman at Timnah caught my attention. Get her for me. I want to marry her.«
3 His father and mother asked him: »Why do you go to those heathen Philistines to get a wife? Can you not find someone in our own family or among all our people?« Samson told his father: »I like her! She is the one I want. Get her for me.«
4 His parents did not know Jehovah was leading Samson to do this. Jehovah was looking for an opportunity to fight the Philistines. At this time the Philistines were ruling Israel.
5 Samson went to Timnah with his father and mother. When they traveled through the vineyards he heard a young lion roaring.
6 Suddenly the power of Jehovah made Samson strong. He tore the lion apart with his bare hands, as if it were a young goat. But he did not tell his parents what he had done.
7 Then he went and talked to the young woman. He wanted her.
8 A few days later Samson returned to marry her. On the way he left the road to look at the lion he had killed. He found a swarm of bees and some honey inside the dead body.
9 He scraped the honey out into his hands and ate it as he walked along. Then he went to his father and mother and gave them some. They ate it, but Samson did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the dead body of a lion.
10 Samsons father went to the womans house. Samson gave a banquet there. This was a custom among the young men.
11 The Philistines saw him. They sent thirty companions to stay with him.
12 Samson said to them: »Let me tell you a riddle. If you can tell me the meaning before the seven days of the wedding feast are over, I will give each of you a piece of fine linen and a change of fine clothes.« »Tell us your riddle,« they said: »Let us hear it.«
13 »If you cannot tell me the answer you must give me thirty pieces of fine linen and thirty sets of fine clothes.« »Tell us the riddle,« they said.
14 He said: »Out of the eater came something to eat; Out of the strong came something sweet.« Three days later they still could not figure out the riddle.
15 On the fourth day they said to Samsons wife: »Trick your husband into telling us what the riddle means. If you do not, we will burn your fathers house with you in it. Did you invite us here to rob us?«
16 Samsons wife approached him in tears and said: »You do not love me! You just hate me! You told my friends a riddle and did not tell me its meaning!« He said: »I have not told my father and mother. Why should I tell you?«
17 She cried about it for the whole seven days of the feast. She nagged him so that on the seventh day he told her what the riddle meant. Then she told the Philistines.
18 On the seventh day, before Samson went into the bedroom, the men of the city said to him: »What could be sweeter than honey? What could be stronger than a lion?« Samson replied: »If you had not been plowing with my cow, you would not know the answer now.«
19 Suddenly the power of Jehovah made him strong. He went to Ashkelon, where he killed thirty men. He stripped them and gave their fine clothes to the men who had solved the riddle. He returned home, furious about what had happened.
20 His wife was given to his best man at the wedding.