|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 4. - It was of or from the Lord. It was the method decreed by God's providence for bringing about a rupture with the Philistines. That he sought. Rather, because he sought. The writer explains the purpose of the providence. It is doubtful whether "he" refers to Samson or to the Lord. Most commentators refer it to Samson; but it is contrary to the whole tenor of Samson's impetuous course, and to all probability, that he should have asked for the Timnathite damsel merely for the sake of quarreling with the Philistines; whereas the statement that Samson s obstinate determination to take a Philistine wife was the means which God's secret purpose had fixed upon for bringing about the eventual overthrow of the Philistine dominion is in exact accordance with other declarations of Holy Scripture (cf. e.g. Exodus 7:3, 4; Joshua 11:20; 1 Samuel 2:25; 1 Kings 12:15; 2 Chronicles 10:15; 2 Chronicles 22:7; 2 Chronicles 25:20). An occasion. The noun only occurs here; but the verb, in its several conjugations, means, to happen at the right time; to bring a person or thing at the right time (Exodus 21:13, deliver, A.V.); to be brought at the right time (Proverbs 12:21, happen, A.V.); to seek the right time for injuring any one (2 Kings 5:7, seeketh a quarrel, A.V. ).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And his father and mother knew not that it was of the Lord,.... That he should marry this uncircumcised Philistine; Samson knew it was, and that his desire of having her in marriage did not arise from carnal affection to her merely, being captivated with her beauty and external form, for she was not so very fair, her younger sister was fairer than she, Judges 15:2 but he perceived it was the mind and will of God that he should take such a person to wife, by the impulse of the Spirit of God upon him, pointing it, unto him, inclining and urging him to it, suggesting the end and design of it, and the opportunity it would give him of quarrelling with the Philistines, and taking vengeance on them; but this his parents were ignorant of, nor did he let them know that this was of God:
that he sought an occasion against the Philistines; in this way, by this means; they might know he sought to get an opportunity to be avenged on them for their oppression, and to attempt the deliverance of Israel; but they knew not that it was the will of God that a way should be opened for it by this means. Samson might be directed by the Lord to reason thus in his mind, that if he proposed to the Philistines to marry one of their daughters, and they should reject his proposal, this would give him a reason to fall out with them, and fall upon them; and if they should agree to such a match, he might expect they would be kind to him, and to his people for his sake, being in alliance with them, or he should resent it, and take occasion from hence to come to a quarrel with them:
for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel; had invaded their country, and dwelt in their cities, and made them tributary to them, and used them ill; which Samson observing, was provoked to seek an opportunity of avenging the injuries done them, and of delivering them, and he was directed to it this way.
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