Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.Jdg 14:1
All transitions are dangerous; and the most dangerous is the transition from the restraint of the family circle to the non-restraint of the world.
Reference.—XIV. 4.—J. N. Norton, Golden Truths, p. 369.
God never gives strength, but he employs it. Poverty meets one like an armed man; infamy, like some furious mastiff, comes flying in the face of another; the wild boar out of the forest, or the bloody tiger of persecution, sets on one; the brawling curs of heretical pravity, or contentious neighbourhood, are ready to bait another; and by all these meaner and brutish adversaries, will God fit us for greater conflicts. It is a pledge of our future victory over the Philistines, if we can say, My soul hath been among lions.
Reference.—XIV. 8, 9.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxix. No. 1703.
All over Normandy you come upon these fortified abbayes, built for praying and fighting once, and ruined now, and turned to different uses. It is like Samson's riddle to see the carcase of the lions with honey flowing from them. 'Out of the eater came forth meat; out of the strong came forth sweetness.' There is a great archway at the farm at Tracy, with heavy wooden doors studded with nails. There is rust in plenty, and part of a moat still remaining. The hay is stacked in what was a chapel once; the yellow trusses are hanging through the crumbling flamboyant east window. There is a tall watch-tower, to which a pigeon-cote has been affixed, and low cloisters that are turned into outhouses and kitchens. The white walls tell a story of penance and fierce battlings which are over now, so far as they are concerned.
—From Miss Thackeray's The Village on the Cliff.
In the fourth chapter of My Schools and Schoolmasters, Hugh Miller tells how 'a party of boys had stormed a humble-bee's nest on the side of the old chapel-brae, and, digging inwards along the narrow winding earth passage, they at length came to a grinning human skull, and saw the bees issuing thick from out a round hole at its base—the foramen magnum. The wise little workers had actually formed their nest within the hollow of the head, once occupied by the busy brain; and their spoilers, more scrupulous than Samson of old, who seems to have enjoyed the meat brought forth out of the eater, and the sweetness extracted from the strong, left in very great consternation their honey all to themselves.'
Some of the loveliest of the works of man's hand seem to come out of utter foolishness and vileness, just as came honey from the carcass of Samson's lion. Even to exclude the later abomination of Greek sculpture, much of its true work was done in societies putrid to the core in public and private life.
Compare James Smetham on De Quincey: 'What a queer, mystic, sublime, inscrutable, fascinating old mummy he is! Throw your mind back to the days when, fifty years or more ago, he wandered in London streets, and what he says of himself in the Confessions then, and fancy that he has lasted on till now, and is winking and blinking yet.... Now the fact is, that man has wasted his life; and one can only, in one's soul, use him as Samson used the honey out of the dead lion—"Out of the strong came forth sweetness".'
Temptations, when we meet them at first, are as the lion that roared upon Samson; but if we overcome them, the next time we see them, we shall find a nest of honey within them.
—Bunyan, Grace Abounding.
In his essay on 'The Enjoyment of Unpleasant Places,' R. L. Stevenson tells how once in a cold, bleak, Northern district he received some singularly pleasurable impressions, owing to the discipline of having to hunt out what was good amid the uncongenial surroundings. 'And this happened to me in the place of all others where I liked least to stay. When I think of it, I grow ashamed of my own ingratitude. "Out of the strong came forth sweetness." There, in the bleak and gusty North, I received, perhaps, my strongest impression of peace. I saw the sea to be great and calm; and the earth, in that little corner, was all alive and friendly to me. So, wherever a man is, he will find something to please and pacify him... let him only look for it in the right spirit, and he will surely find.'
Some one once asked Luther what was the difference between Samson and Julius Caesar, or any famous general who had been endowed with a vigorous body and a vigorous mind. The Reformer answered:
'Samson's strength was produced by the Holy Ghost animating him, for the Holy Ghost enables those who serve God obediently to accomplish great exploits. The strength and grandeur of soul of the heathen were also an inspiration and work of God, but not of the kind which sanctifies. I often reflect with admiration upon Samson. Mere human strength could never have done what he did.'
I confess there are, in Scripture, stories that do exceed the fables of poets, and, to a captious reader, sound like Gargantua or Bevis. Search all the legends of times past, and the fabulous conceits of these present, and 'twill be hard to find one that deserves to carry the buckler to Samson; yet is all this of an easy possibility, if we conceive a Divine concourse, or an influence from the little finger of the Almighty.
—Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici.
And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife.
Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.
But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.
Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him.
And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.
And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well.
And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion.
And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion.
So his father went down unto the woman: and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do.
And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him.
And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments:
But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it.
And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle.
And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson's wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father's house with fire: have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so?
And Samson's wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee?
And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people.
And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down, What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? And he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.
And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house.
But Samson's wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend.