top of page

Judges 14:16, 17: Samson' Wife Obtains the Key to the Riddle

Verse 16:[1] And Samson’s wife wept before him, and said, (Judg. 16:15) 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?

[She was pouring out tears] That is, women have trained their eyes, that they might weep, Ovid[2] (Grotius).

[The sons of my people] That is, my fellow citizens (Vatablus).

[I have been unwilling to tell my father and my mother] Hebrew: I have not declared.[3] He did not declare to them those things, by which they had been able to come to a solution of the riddle, namely, that he killed a lion, etc., verse 6, 9 (Bonfrerius).

I have not told it my father nor my mother, etc.: Though I have had much more experience of their fidelity and taciturnity than of thine.

Verse 17:[4] And she wept before him the seven days (or, the rest of the seven days[5]), 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.

[The seven days] Or thus; seven, etc., that is, at the end of the seven days, or, on the seventh day. For, when a space of time is named, no part of which is designated, its fullness or complement is signified, as I say in the Canons of the Preface (Lapide). Or thus, all the way unto the seventh day of the feat, that is, all the way unto the end of the seven days; for she had begun to weep on the fourth day (Vatablus). The seven days, that is, the greater part of them, namely, the fourth through the seven days (Menochius out of Lyra).

The seven days, while their feast lasted, that is, on the residue of the seven days, to wit, after the third day. It is a familiar synecdoche. Or, on the seventh of the days on which the feast was; and then the following clause, on the seventh day, is only the noun repeated for the pronoun, on that day; as is most frequent, as 1 Kings 8:1, Solomon assembled—unto Solomon, that is, unto himself.

[Since she was being tiresome to him, הֱצִיקַתְהוּ] She was constraining, or pressing, him (Pagnine, Montanus); she was vexing him (Syriac). It is likely that she promised, or even swore, that she was not going to reveal it to any mortal (Bonfrerius).

[1] Hebrew: וַתֵּבְךְּ֩ אֵ֙שֶׁת שִׁמְשׁ֜וֹן עָלָ֗יו וַתֹּ֙אמֶר֙ רַק־שְׂנֵאתַ֙נִי֙ וְלֹ֣א אֲהַבְתָּ֔נִי הַֽחִידָ֥ה חַ֙דְתָּ֙ לִבְנֵ֣י עַמִּ֔י וְלִ֖י לֹ֣א הִגַּ֑דְתָּה וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לָ֗הּ הִנֵּ֙ה לְאָבִ֧י וּלְאִמִּ֛י לֹ֥א הִגַּ֖דְתִּי וְלָ֥ךְ אַגִּֽיד׃

[2] Remedia Amoris 690.

[3] Hebrew: לֹ֥א הִגַּ֖דְתִּי.

[4] Hebrew: וַתֵּ֤בְךְּ עָלָיו֙ שִׁבְעַ֣ת הַיָּמִ֔ים אֲשֶׁר־הָיָ֥ה לָהֶ֖ם הַמִּשְׁתֶּ֑ה וַיְהִ֣י׀ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֗י וַיַּגֶּד־לָהּ֙ כִּ֣י הֱצִיקַ֔תְהוּ וַתַּגֵּ֥ד הַחִידָ֖ה לִבְנֵ֥י עַמָּֽהּ׃

[5] Hebrew: שִׁבְעַ֣ת הַיָּמִ֔ים.

11 views1 comment


Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday

Matthew Henry: 'His wife, by unreasonable importunity, obtains from him a key to his riddle. It was on the seventh day, that is, the seventh day of the week (as Dr. Lightfoot conjectures), but the fourth day of the feast, that they solicited her to entice her husband (Judges 14:15), and she did it...With great art and management (Judges 14:16), resolving not to believe he loved her, unless he would gratify her in this thing. She knew he could not bear to have his love questioned, and therefore, if any thing would work upon him, that would: "Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not, if thou deniest me;" whereas he had much more reason to say, "Thou dos…

bottom of page