Judges 14:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 14:12, NIV: Let me tell you a riddle,' Samson said to them. 'If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.

Judges 14:12, ESV: And Samson said to them, “Let me now put a riddle to you. If you can tell me what it is, within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes,

Judges 14:12, KJV: And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments:

Judges 14:12, NASB: Then Samson said to them, 'Let me now propose a riddle for you; if you actually tell me the answer within the seven days of the feast, and solve it, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty outfits of clothes.

Judges 14:12, NLT: Samson said to them, 'Let me tell you a riddle. If you solve my riddle during these seven days of the celebration, I will give you thirty fine linen robes and thirty sets of festive clothing.

Judges 14:12, CSB: "Let me tell you a riddle," Samson said to them. "If you can explain it to me during the seven days of the feast and figure it out, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes.

What does Judges 14:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Samson is hosting a week-long wedding feast in the Philistine town of Timnah. It is part of his marriage to a Philistine bride (Judges 14:1–3). Thirty men from the town have been assigned as Samson's companions during the feast. Scholars speculate about whether they were to serve as informal "drinking buddies," customary attendants, or even security guards.

Riddles and mysteries were popular in the ancient world, but Samson enhances this one with a wager. If his thirty Philistine companions can solve it within the seven days of the feast, he will give each man a linen garment and a change of clothes. In other words, Samson would give them each a complete outfit, consisting of the long undergarment and the shorter tunic worn over it. This would have been an extremely expensive provision. For someone so directly assigned by God (Judges 13:5), Samson's life is remarkably plagued by impulsiveness and poor decision making (Judges 16:1, 4). In this case, his personality flaws might have been aggravated by large quantities of alcohol (Judges 14:10–11).

The following verse reveals the stakes for the Philistine men if they cannot solve the riddle: the same handsome payment but split among thirty men (Judges 14:13).