Judges 14:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 14:1, NIV: Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman.

Judges 14:1, ESV: Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines.

Judges 14:1, KJV: And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.

Judges 14:1, NASB: Then Samson went down to Timnah, and he saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines.

Judges 14:1, NLT: One day when Samson was in Timnah, one of the Philistine women caught his eye.

Judges 14:1, CSB: Samson went down to Timnah and saw a young Philistine woman there.

What does Judges 14:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The prior verses indicated that Samson experienced the stirring of the Lord's Spirit in him as a young man. No details are given about how long has passed, but in this passage, he is at least of marrying age. Given his consecration even before birth (Judges 13:4), one would hope his life would be marked by holiness. This is not what happens. Almost immediately we see that Samson is not especially committed to God's commands.

Timnah was located not far from Samson's hometown of Zorah. Modern-day Tel Batash in the Sorek Valley of Israel sits above the ancient town of Timnah. Archaeologists have uncovered the Philistine layer of the fortified town that existed during the time of Samson and Judges in the early Iron Age. Samson is said to have gone "down" to Timnah in the sense that it sat at a lower elevation than Zorah.

Timnah was originally given to the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:43), though it was on or near the border of Judah's territory (Joshua 15:10). During this time, the Philistines controlled the entire area, and occupied Timnah. The text does not reveal why Samson went to Timnah in the first place. While there, a young Philistine woman catches his eye, and he is captivated by her and impulsively decides he must marry her. This is only the first example of what seems to be Samson's most profound weakness: women (Judges 16:1, 4).