Judges 14:18
New International Version
Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to him, “What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?” Samson said to them, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle.”

New Living Translation
So before sunset of the seventh day, the men of the town came to Samson with their answer: “What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?” Samson replied, “If you hadn’t plowed with my heifer, you wouldn’t have solved my riddle!”

English Standard Version
And the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down, “What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?” And he said to them, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have found out my riddle.”

Berean Study Bible
Before sunset on the seventh day, the men of the city said to Samson: “What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?” So he said to them: “If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle!”

King James Bible
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.

New King James Version
So the men of the city said to 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 to them: “If you had not plowed with my heifer, You would not have solved my riddle!”

New American Standard Bible
So the men of the city said to 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 to them, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, You would not have found out my riddle.”

NASB 1995
So the men of the city said to 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 to them, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, You would not have found out my riddle.”

NASB 1977
So the men of the city said to 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 to them, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, You would not have found out my riddle.”

Amplified Bible
So the men of the city said to Samson on the seventh day before sundown, “What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?” And he said to them, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, You would not have solved my riddle.”

Christian Standard Bible
On the seventh day, before sunset, the men of the city said to him: What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion? So he said to them: If you hadn’t plowed with my young cow, you wouldn’t know my riddle now!

Holman Christian Standard Bible
On the seventh day, before sunset, the men of the city said to him: What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion? So he said to them: If you hadn’t plowed with my young cow, you wouldn’t know my riddle now!

American Standard Version
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.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And the men of the city were saying on the seventh day, before he would enter the banquet: “What is sweeter than honey, or what is that stronger than a lion?” Samson said to them, “If you had not allured my heifer, you would not have interpreted my riddle”

Brenton Septuagint Translation
And the men of the city said to him on the seventh day, before sunrise, What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? and Sampson said to them, If ye had not ploughed with my heifer, ye would not have known my riddle.

Contemporary English Version
Before sunset that day, the men of the town went to Samson with this answer: A lion is the strongest--honey is the sweetest! Samson replied, This answer you have given me doubtless came from my bride-to-be.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And they on the seventh day before the sun went down said to him: What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? And he said to them: If you had not ploughed with my heifer, you had not found out my riddle.

English Revised Version
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.

Good News Translation
So on the seventh day, before Samson went into the bedroom, the men of the city said to him, "What could be sweeter than honey? What could be stronger than a lion?" Samson replied, "If you hadn't been plowing with my cow, You wouldn't know the answer now."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
So before sundown on the seventh day, the men of the city said to him, "What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?" Samson replied, "If you hadn't used my cow to plow, you wouldn't know my riddle now."

International Standard Version
Then 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."

JPS Tanakh 1917
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.

Literal Standard Version
And the men of the city say to him on the seventh day, before the sun goes in: “What [is] sweeter than honey? And what [is] stronger than a lion?” And he says to them: “Unless you had plowed with my heifer, You had not found out my riddle.”

NET Bible
On the seventh day, before the sun set, the men of the city said to him, "What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?" He said to them, "If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle!"

New Heart English Bible
The men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down, "What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?" He said to them, "If you hadn't plowed with my heifer, you wouldn't have found out my riddle."

World English Bible
The men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down, "What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?" He said to them, "If you hadn't plowed with my heifer, you wouldn't have found out my riddle."

Young's Literal Translation
And the men of the city say to him on the seventh day, before the sun goeth in: -- 'What is sweeter than honey? And what stronger than a lion?' And he saith to them: 'Unless ye had ploughed with my heifer, Ye had not found out my riddle.'

Additional Translations ...
Context
Samson's Riddle
17She wept the whole seven days of the feast, and finally on the seventh day, because she had pressed him so much, he told her the answer. And in turn she explained the riddle to her people. 18Before sunset on the seventh day, the men of the city said to Samson: “What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?” So he said to them: “If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle!” 19Then the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, killed thirty of their men, took their apparel, and gave their clothes to those who had solved the riddle. And burning with anger, Samson returned to his father’s house,…

Cross References
Judges 14:17
She wept the whole seven days of the feast, and finally on the seventh day, because she had pressed him so much, he told her the answer. And in turn she explained the riddle to her people.

Judges 14:19
Then the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, killed thirty of their men, took their apparel, and gave their clothes to those who had solved the riddle. And burning with anger, Samson returned to his father's house,

2 Samuel 1:23
Saul and Jonathan, beloved and delightful in life, were not divided in death. They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.

Proverbs 30:30
a lion, mighty among beasts, refusing to retreat before anything;


Treasury of Scripture

And the men of the city said to 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 to them, If you had not plowed with my heifer, you had not found out my riddle.









(18) What is sweeter than honey?--Their answer is given in the same rhythmical form as the riddle itself.

If ye had not plowed with my heifer.--Many commentators, following Rabbi Levi Ben Gershom, read in this proverbial phrase an implication that Samson suspected his wife of adultery; but there is no sufficient reason for this view.

Verse 18. - The men of the city - the same as were spoken of in ver. 11 as Samson's companions. Before the sun went down - just in time, therefore, to save the wager, as defined in ver. 12. This is the uncommon word for the sun used also in Judges 8:13, where see note. What is sweeter, etc. They put their answer in a form to make it seem as if they had guessed the riddle; but Samson instantly perceived his wife's treachery, and showed that he did so by quoting the proverb of plowing with another person s heifer. They had not used their own wit to find out the riddle, but had learnt the secret at Samson's cost, through his wife. He insinuates that had they acted fairly he would have won the wager.

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
Before
בְּטֶ֙רֶם֙ (bə·ṭe·rem)
Preposition-b | Adverb
Strong's 2962: Non-occurrence, not yet, before

sunset
יָבֹ֣א (yā·ḇō)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 935: To come in, come, go in, go

on the seventh
הַשְּׁבִיעִ֗י (haš·šə·ḇî·‘î)
Article | Number - ordinal masculine singular
Strong's 7637: Seventh (an ordinal number)

day,
בַּיּ֣וֹם (bay·yō·wm)
Preposition-b, Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 3117: A day

the men
אַנְשֵׁ֨י (’an·šê)
Noun - masculine plural construct
Strong's 376: A man as an individual, a male person

of the city
הָעִ֜יר (hā·‘îr)
Article | Noun - feminine singular
Strong's 5892: Excitement

said
וַיֹּ֣אמְרוּ (way·yō·mə·rū)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Consecutive imperfect - third person masculine plural
Strong's 559: To utter, say

to [Samson]:
לוֹ֩ (lōw)
Preposition | third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew

“What
מַה־ (mah-)
Interrogative
Strong's 4100: What?, what!, indefinitely what

is sweeter
מָּת֣וֹק (mā·ṯō·wq)
Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's 4966: Sweet, sweetness

than honey?
מִדְּבַ֔שׁ (mid·də·ḇaš)
Preposition-m | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 1706: Honey, syrup

And what [is]
וּמֶ֥ה (ū·meh)
Conjunctive waw | Interrogative
Strong's 4100: What?, what!, indefinitely what

stronger
עַ֖ז (‘az)
Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's 5794: Strong, vehement, harsh

than a lion?”
מֵאֲרִ֑י (mê·’ă·rî)
Preposition-m | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 738: A lion

So he said to them:
וַיֹּ֣אמֶר (way·yō·mer)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Consecutive imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 559: To utter, say

“If you had not
לוּלֵא֙ (lū·lê)
Conjunction
Strong's 3884: If not, unless

plowed
חֲרַשְׁתֶּ֣ם (ḥă·raš·tem)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - second person masculine plural
Strong's 2790: To cut in, engrave, plow, devise

with my heifer,
בְּעֶגְלָתִ֔י (bə·‘eḡ·lā·ṯî)
Preposition-b | Noun - feminine singular construct | first person common singular
Strong's 5697: A, calf, one nearly grown

you would not
לֹ֥א (lō)
Adverb - Negative particle
Strong's 3808: Not, no

have solved
מְצָאתֶ֖ם (mə·ṣā·ṯem)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - second person masculine plural
Strong's 4672: To come forth to, appear, exist, to attain, find, acquire, to occur, meet, be present

my riddle!”
חִידָתִֽי׃ (ḥî·ḏā·ṯî)
Noun - feminine singular construct | first person common singular
Strong's 2420: A riddle, an enigmatic, perplexing saying or question


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OT History: Judges 14:18 The men of the city said (Jd Judg. Jdg)
Judges 14:17
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