Judges 14:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 14:15, NIV: On the fourth day, they said to Samson's wife, 'Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father's household to death. Did you invite us here to steal our property?'

Judges 14:15, ESV: On the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband to tell us what the riddle is, lest we burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us here to impoverish us?”

Judges 14:15, KJV: And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson's wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father's house with fire: have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so?

Judges 14:15, NASB: Then it came about on the fourth day that they said to Samson’s wife, 'Entice your husband, so that he will tell us the riddle, or we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us? Is this not so?'

Judges 14:15, NLT: On the fourth day they said to Samson's wife, 'Entice your husband to explain the riddle for us, or we will burn down your father's house with you in it. Did you invite us to this party just to make us poor?'

Judges 14:15, CSB: On the fourth day they said to Samson's wife, "Persuade your husband to explain the riddle to us, or we will burn you and your father's family to death. Did you invite us here to rob us? "

What does Judges 14:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

When Samson proposed a wager to his thirty Philistine groomsmen, they probably thought it was an entertaining gesture of generosity. He'd offered them seven days to resolve a riddle. Most likely, they thought the answer would be something clever, possibly crude or bawdy, but not impossible. The bet might have seemed like a whimsical way of offering them gifts (Judges 14:11–13). What Samson offers, however, is not a "riddle" at all. It's just a fancy statement of a personal secret—something no one could ever know or learn (Judges 14:5–9, 14).

After three days, what probably started off in laughter turns vicious. Samson's challenge is simply a description of his own recent experience: eating honey out of the carcass of a lion. When days of guesses fall apart, the men may have begun to suspect they were being tricked. That may have led them to decide that if Samson's cheating, they will cheat.

The Philistine men approach the woman Samson has come to marry. This passage refers to her as his "wife;" that term is accurate, in the ancient context, though she is currently only "betrothed" to Samson. Only when the wedding feast is over, and the relationship is consummated, will they be fully wed. The angry guests threaten to murder her if she doesn't find out Samson's secret. The implication behind their threat—the reference to her "fathers' house"— is that they will kill both her and her entire family.

Their complaint is an exaggeration. Buying a single set of clothes wouldn't likely cost any of these guests all they have. Though a set of clothes could be expensive, it's more likely the men are angry at the idea that being guests at a wedding feast could cost them money. For an Israelite to insult them and trick them into losing a bet would be unthinkable. This verse also reveals that these men have now become enemies of the bride's family because of Samson.