Judges 14:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 14:11, NIV: When the people saw him, they chose thirty men to be his companions.

Judges 14:11, ESV: As soon as the people saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him.

Judges 14:11, KJV: And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him.

Judges 14:11, NASB: When they saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him.

Judges 14:11, NLT: When the bride's parents saw him, they selected thirty young men from the town to be his companions.

Judges 14:11, CSB: When the Philistines saw him, they brought thirty men to accompany him.

What does Judges 14:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

With the help of his father, Samson is hosting a week-long wedding feast in Timnah. In that culture, the wedding feast would follow a betrothal period, after which the groom would officially take the bride and the relationship would be consummated. He has taken a Philistine bride out of sheer impulse: he saw her, and she looked good to him (Judges 14:1–3). He seems unconcerned about God's laws for Israel (Exodus 34:15–16) or for those under a Nazirite vow (Numbers 6:1–21; Judges 13:5; 14:8).

Thirty men have been assigned as Samson's companions—roughly the equivalent of modern groomsmen. Commentators speculate about exactly what was expected of these men. It may be that Philistine custom required that many men from the bride's people to participate as guests. Other scholars suggest these thirty men were assigned to protect the bride's interests, ensuring fair treatment. Still others speculate Samson already had a reputation for chaos, and these men were called in to provide security. The men are said to have been brought when "the people saw [Samson]," though this might simply refer to custom, and not something alarming about Samson, himself.

Whatever their official reason for being there, these men will soon come into vicious conflict with Samson.