|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:5-9 By enabling him to kill a lion, God let Samson know what he could do in the strength of the Spirit of the Lord, that he might never be afraid to look the greatest difficulties in the face. He was alone in the vineyards, whither he had rambled. Young people consider not how they exposed themselves to the roaring lion that seeks to devour, when they wander from their prudent, pious parents. Nor do men consider what lions lurk in the vineyards, the vineyards of red wines. Our Lord Jesus having conquered Satan, that roaring lion, believers, like Samson, find honey in the carcass abundant strength and satisfaction, enough for themselves, and for all their friends.
Verse 5. - Went down, showing that Timnath was on lower ground than Zorah; it was in fact in the Shephelah. The vineyards of Timnath. The valley of Sorek (Judges 16:4), so famous for its vines (Isaiah 5:2; Jeremiah 2:21), from which it derived its name (Sorek, translated in the above passages the choicest vine, and a noble vine), is thought to have been in the immediate neighbourhood. Probably the whole district under the hills was a succession of vineyards, like the country round Bordeaux. Samson had left the road along which his father and mother were walking, at a pace, perhaps, too slow for his youthful energy, and had plunged into the vineyards. Of a sudden a young lion, - a term designating a lion between the age of a cub and a full-grown lion, - brought there, perhaps, in pursuit of the foxes or jackals, which often had their holes in vineyards (Song of Solomon 2:15), roared against him.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath,.... They were prevailed upon to go with him, either because they perceived his affections were so strongly set upon a wife, that they thought it advisable to agree to it, lest it should be of bad consequence to him, or because he let them know that the thing was of God, and what was his design in it:
and came to the vineyards of Timnath; the land of Canaan was a land of vineyards, and particularly that part of it which was inhabited by the Philistines and Phoenicians; and though we nowhere read of the wine of Timnath, yet frequent mention is made in authors of the wine of Ashkelon, Gaza, and Sarepta, inhabited by the above people; these vineyards seem to have lain somewhat out of Samson's way; but hither he turned on some account or another from his parents, perhaps to eat some grapes:
and, behold, a young lion roared against him; not a whelp, that is expressed by another word, but one more grown, and is afterwards called a lion simply; and, by the Targum, a lion, the son of lions or lionesses; which seeing him in the vineyards, where he was lurking, came out to meet him, and roared at him in a hideous manner, and came up to him to destroy him: these creatures, though now more rare in those parts, were at this time frequent, and in later times: see 1 Samuel 17:34 and several writers (y) make mention of lions in Mesopotamia and Syria; and Strabo (z), and Pliny (a) speak of a city in Phoenicia near Sidon, called the city of lions, because perhaps it had been much infested with them; and for a like reason it may be some cities in the tribes of Judah and Simeon were called Lebaoth and Bethlebaoth, Joshua 15:32.
(y) Strabo. Geograph. l. 16. p. 514. Curtius, l. 8. sect. 1. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 16. (z) Geograph, l. 16. p. 520. (a) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 20.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Jud 14:5-9. He Kills a Lion.
5-9. a young lion—Hebrew, a lion in the pride of his youthful prime. The wild mountain passes of Judah were the lairs of savage beasts; and most or all the "lions" of Scripture occur in that wild country. His rending and killing the shaggy monster, without any weapon in his hand, were accomplished by that superhuman courage and strength which the occasional influences of the Spirit enabled him to put forth, and by the exertion of which, in such private incidental circumstances, he was gradually trained to confide in them for the more public work to which he was destined.
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