Judges 14:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 14:3, NIV: His father and mother replied, 'Isn't there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?' But Samson said to his father, 'Get her for me. She's the right one for me.'

Judges 14:3, ESV: But his father and mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.”

Judges 14:3, KJV: Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.

Judges 14:3, NASB: But his father and his mother said to him, 'Is there no woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?' Yet Samson said to his father, 'Get her for me, because she is right for me.'

Judges 14:3, NLT: His father and mother objected. 'Isn't there even one woman in our tribe or among all the Israelites you could marry?' they asked. 'Why must you go to the pagan Philistines to find a wife?' But Samson told his father, 'Get her for me! She looks good to me.'

Judges 14:3, CSB: But his father and mother said to him, "Can't you find a young woman among your relatives or among any of our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines for a wife? "But Samson told his father, "Get her for me. She's the right one for me."

What does Judges 14:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Samson wants to take a Philistine woman as his wife. In that era this required his parents to make the arrangements. He demanded they do so almost immediately after seeing the woman (Judges 14:1–2). This impulsive desire is a problem for several reasons. First and foremost, God had forbidden His people from marrying non-Israelites in and around the land of Canaan (Deuteronomy 7:1–5). This restriction named specific cultures but was not a matter of ethnicity. Rather, it was a question of faith: to avoid being drawn into idol worship and the depravity that came with it (Exodus 34:15–16).

Second, Samson had been specially chosen by God to begin rescuing Israel from their Philistine oppressors (Judges 13:5). Marrying a Philistine woman was like making an alliance with the enemy instead of resisting them. Choosing to marry an enemy of Israel was direct rebellion against God's will, including God's presumed plans for Samson. As it happens, God plans to use this rebellious streak to weaken Philistine control (Judges 14:4).

Instead of refusing this request outright, Samson's parents appeal to him. They only hint at the real problem by suggesting he find a wife from his own people. Referring to "uncircumcised Philistines" hints at the spiritual distinction between the two groups. At God's decree, male Israelite babies were to be circumcised as infants in acknowledgement of the covenant between God and Israel (Genesis 17:9–14). Other nations of the region practiced circumcision, as well. The Philistines, though, did not circumcise their boys. At the same time, Samson's parents seem to suggest that Philistines were lower class people because they did not practice circumcision. They'd prefer their son not take a woman from an unworthy group. As phrased, their complaint is less about God's law, or Samson's mission, and more about disdain for the Philistine people in general.

Scripture gives almost no details about Samson's upbringing. His attitude here—what I want is what I will get—is tragically flawed for someone supposedly set apart for service to God. For all their early obedience (Judges 13), Samson's parents take a careless approach to this issue. It's possible—but not certain—that this style of upbringing contributed to Samson's unspiritual nature and lack of self-control (Judges 14:9, 19; 16:1, 4). The only direct explanation given is that God is using Samson's own flaws to weaken Philistine control over the people (Judges 14:4).