Judges 14:3: Samson's Marriage to the Philistine, Part 2

Verse 3:[1] Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of (Gen. 24:3, 4) thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the (Gen. 34:14; Ex. 34:16; Deut. 7:3) uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well (Heb. she is right in mine eyes[2]).


[Who are uncircumcised] Whose covenant and marriage the law was prohibiting, Exodus 34:12, etc. (Malvenda out of Junius). The Philistines, although they were not Canaanites, as it is evident from Genesis 10:14 and Deuteronomy 2:23 [see the notes on those passages], were, nevertheless, reckoned with them in the same place, and were no less to be exterminated; and in the case of these there was a like danger of subversion, and so marriage with them was prohibited (Bonfrerius). It is asked, therefore, Whether Samson sinned here? Response: He did not sin (Lapide, Bonfrerius, Serarius, Martyr, Junius, Lyra). It is proven from these words, verse 4, his parents knew not that the matter was from the Lord; whereby it is signified contrarily that Samson willed it, because he knew that it was from the Lord (Serarius). This appears to be singular, and to have been done by instinct of God (Martyr). Now, Samson knew the will of God, either by some revelation, or by some powerful, internal instinct (Bonfrerius). He had a special mandate to marry the Philistine, contrary to the Law. See a similar thing in Hosea 1, according to certain interpreters (Grotius).


The uncircumcised Philistines, with whom the Israelites were forbidden to marry, Exodus 34:12, etc. And although the Philistines were not Canaanites in their original, Genesis 10:14; Deuteronomy 2:23; yet they were so in their habitation, and concurrence with them in wickedness, and therefore were liable to the same censures and judgments with them. Get her for me: this action of Samson’s, though against common rules, seems to be warranted, partly by the greatness and goodness of his design in it, and principally by the instinct and direction of God, which is mentioned in the following words, which was known to Samson, but not to his parents.


[Because she has pleased mine eyes (thus Pagnine, similarly the Syriac, Tigurinus), כִּֽי־הִ֖יא יָשְׁרָ֥ה בְעֵינָֽי׃] Because she is right (beautiful [Arabic]) in mine eyes (Septuagint, Jonathan, Munster, Junius and Tremellius, Montanus). It is a Hebraism; which is to say, She pleaseth me exceedingly (Vatablus). That is to say, I have to do here, neither with our holiness, nor with their impurity: but it is a certain singular calling, and internal motion and impetus, which I would prefer to demonstrate in action than to declare in words. Thus Samson hid the inspiration of God, while he was thought by his parents to be carried away by the brute impetus of adolescence (Malvenda out of Junius). He conducted himself with such secrecy that he shared his counsels with no one; just as he did not wish to reveal even that concerning the torn lion to his parents (Estius). She is right in mine eyes; right, I say, to pursue the end set forth to me by God: and she pleases me, not only with respect to the appearance of her body, but also with respect to the liberty sought for my people (Tirinus).


She pleaseth me well; not so much for her beauty, as for the design mentioned in the next verse.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֙אמֶר ל֜וֹ אָבִ֣יו וְאִמּ֗וֹ הַאֵין֩ בִּבְנ֙וֹת אַחֶ֤יךָ וּבְכָל־עַמִּי֙ אִשָּׁ֔ה כִּֽי־אַתָּ֤ה הוֹלֵךְ֙ לָקַ֣חַת אִשָּׁ֔ה מִפְּלִשְׁתִּ֖ים הָעֲרֵלִ֑ים וַיֹּ֙אמֶר שִׁמְשׁ֤וֹן אֶל־אָבִיו֙ אוֹתָ֣הּ קַֽח־לִ֔י כִּֽי־הִ֖יא יָשְׁרָ֥ה בְעֵינָֽי׃


[2] Hebrew: הִ֖יא יָשְׁרָ֥ה בְעֵינָֽי׃.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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