|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:1-4 As far as Samson's marriage was a common case, it was weak and foolish of him to set his affections upon a daughter of the Philistines. Shall one, not only an Israelite, but a Nazarite, devoted to the Lord, covet to become one with a worshipper of Dagon? It does not appear that he had any reason to think her wise or virtuous, or any way likely to be a help meet for him; but he saw something in her agreeable to his fancy. He that, in the choice of a wife, is only guided by his eye, and governed by his fancy, must afterwards thank himself if he find a Philistine in his arms. Yet it was well done not to proceed till Samson had made his parents acquainted with the matter. Children ought not to marry, nor to move towards it, without the advice and consent of their parents. Samson's parents did well to dissuade him from yoking himself unequally with unbelievers. It seems that it pleased God to leave Samson to follow his own inclinations, intending to bring out good from his conduct; and his parents consented, because he was bent upon it. However, his example is not recorded for us to do likewise.
Verse 1. - Timnath, or, more correctly, Thimnathah, as in Joshua 19:43, a town in the tribe of Dan, the name of which survives in the modern Tibneh, about three miles south-west of Zorah (Judges 13:2, note). It may or may not be identical with Timnath in Genesis 38:12-14, and with Timnah in Joshua 15:10. It appears to have been in the possession of the Philistines at this time.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Samson went down to Timnath,.... A city which by lot fell to the tribe of Judah, but was afterwards given to the tribe of Dan, and now in the hands of the Philistines, Joshua 15:57. Judah is said to go up to it, because the place where he lived lay below it, Genesis 38:13, but Samson is said to go down to it, because he lived above it. The Jews (t) differ about the reconciliation of these two places; some say there were two of this name, the one is a descent, and the other is an ascent; others say there was but one, so situated, that they that came to it on one side ascended, and they that came to it on the other side descended. Bochart (u) approves of the former. According to Bunting (w), this was twelve miles from Eshtaol, where Samson lived:
and saw a woman in Timnath, of the daughters of the Philistines; who at this time dwelt there; he saw no doubt many other women besides her, but he took special notice of her, and entertained a particular affection for her; or, in other words, on sight of her fell in love with her.
(t) T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 10. 1.((u) IIierozoic. par. 1. l. 3. c. 4. col. 763, 764. (w) Travels, &c. p. 115.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Jud 14:1-5. Samson Desires a Wife of the Philistines.
1, 2. Timnath—now Tibna, about three miles from Zorah, his birthplace.
saw a woman … of the Philistines; and told his father and his mother, and said, … get her for me to wife—In the East parents did, and do in many cases still, negotiate the marriage alliances for their sons. During their period of ascendency, the Philistine invaders had settled in the towns; and the intercourse between them and the Israelites was often of such a friendly and familiar character as to issue in matrimonial relations. Moreover, the Philistines were not in the number of the seven devoted nations of Canaan [De 7:1-3]—with whom the law forbade them to marry.
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