Judges 14:4: Samson's Marriage to the Philistine, Part 3

Verse 4:[1] But his father and his mother knew not that it was (Josh. 11:20; 1 Kings 12:15; 2 Kings 6:33; 2 Chron. 10:15; 22:7; 25:20) of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time (Judg. 13:1; Deut. 28:48) the Philistines had dominion over Israel.


[His parents knew not that the matter was from the Lord, and that he sought occasion against the Philistines, כִּי מֵיְהוָה֙ הִ֔יא כִּי־תֹאֲנָ֥ה הֽוּא־מְבַקֵּ֖שׁ מִפְּלִשְׁתִּ֑ים] That it was of the Lord, that he sought occasion against the Philistines (Pagnine, Montanus, Munster, Tigurinus), understanding, occasion of revolting, and of invading them (Vatablus). That it was by permission of the Lord, insofar as he might exact vengeance upon the Philistines (Arabic). But who is it that is here said to seek occasions, etc.? Responses: 1. God (Tostatus, thus the Syriac, Arabic, Junius). 2. Samson. Thus nearly all interpreters save Abulensis alone (Bonfrerius, Estius). This does not displease Junius and Piscator. Samson sought occasion, an opportunity, as it were, which the Spirit of God willed offered in the marriage of Samson, so that by degrees public actions might arise from private injuries (Malvenda out of Junius). For Samson composed this Dilemma: The Philistines either will give the Philistine woman, whom I seek, as wife, or they will deny me: If they deny, I shall seize the occasion of invading them, because they have dishonored me: If they give, they will be obliged to be kinder to me, and to my Hebrews, as now conjoined with them in affinity; but if they render it not, it will be to me an occasion for a new quarrel (Lapide). Moreover, תֹאֲנָה/opportunity they translate as invention (Jonathan, Hebrews in Munster), vengeance (Septuagint), a cause (Hebrews in Munster).


He sought an occasion against the Philistines; which he knew by very probable conjecture, if not by particular inspiration, that marriage would give him many ways.

[1] Hebrew: וְאָבִ֙יו וְאִמּ֜וֹ לֹ֣א יָדְע֗וּ כִּ֤י מֵיְהוָה֙ הִ֔יא כִּי־תֹאֲנָ֥ה הֽוּא־מְבַקֵּ֖שׁ מִפְּלִשְׁתִּ֑ים וּבָעֵ֣ת הַהִ֔יא פְּלִשְׁתִּ֖ים מֹשְׁלִ֥ים בְּיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

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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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