International Standard Version
1A while later, Samson went down to Timnah and observed a woman in Timnah who was of Philistine origin. 2Then he returned and told his father and mother, "In Timnah I saw a woman of Philistine origin." He ordered them, "Get her for me as a wife. Now!" 3His father and mother asked him, "Isn't there a woman suitable among the daughters of your relatives or among all of our people, since you're going to get your wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?" But Samson retorted to his father, "Get her for me, since she looks fine to me." 4Meanwhile, his father and mother did not know that she was from the LORD, because he had been seeking a favorable opportunity concerning the Philistines, since the Philistines were dominating Israel at that time.
5Then Samson went down in the direction of Timnah with his father and mother and arrived as far as the vineyards of Timnah. And—surprise!—a young lion came roaring at him! 6The Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and he ripped the lion apart as one might dissect a young goat, even though he carried nothing in his hand. But he didn't tell his father and mother what he had done. 7Then he went down and talked to the woman, and she looked fine to Samson.
8When he came back later to marry her, he turned aside to observe the lion's carcass. Amazingly, there was a swarm of bees in the body of the lion, complete with honey. 9So he scraped some out into his hands and went on his way, eating all the while. When he met his father and mother, he gave some to them, and they ate it, too. But he didn't inform them that he had scraped the honey from the carcass of the lion.
10Later on, when his father went down to visit the woman, Samson threw a party there, since young men customarily did this. 11When they saw him, they brought 30 companions to accompany him.
12"Let me tell you a riddle," Samson told them. "If you can solve it during this week-long festival, I'll give you 30 linen garments and 30 formal garments. 13But if you don't solve it, then you'll give me 30 linen garments and 30 formal garments." "Tell us your riddle and we'll solve it," they responded.
14So he told them: From the eater came something edible; from the strong something sweet. For three days they couldn't solve the riddle.
15The next day, they told Samson's wife, "Coax your husband to explain the riddle or we'll set fire to your father's house—with you in it! You've invited us here to make us paupers, haven't you?" 16So Samson's wife cried in front of him and accused him, "You only hate me. You don't love me. You've told a riddle to my relatives, but you haven't told the solution to me." Samson responded, "Look, I haven't told my parents, either. Why should I tell you?" 17So she kept on crying in front of him for the entire seven days of the wedding party. On the seventh day he told the solution to her because she nagged him, and then she told the solution to the riddle to her relatives.
18Then the men of the city answered him just before sunset on the seventh day: "What's sweeter than honey? What's stronger than lions?" Samson responded, "If you hadn't plowed with my heifer you wouldn't have solved my riddle."
19Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, killed 30 men, took their belongings, and gave the garments to those who had told him the solution to the riddle. He remained furious, left for his father's house, 20and Samson's wife went to the best man at his wedding.