Judges 14:6 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 14:6, NIV: The Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done.

Judges 14:6, ESV: Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.

Judges 14:6, KJV: And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.

Judges 14:6, NASB: And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, so that he tore it apart as one tears apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done.

Judges 14:6, NLT: At that moment the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon him, and he ripped the lion's jaws apart with his bare hands. He did it as easily as if it were a young goat. But he didn't tell his father or mother about it.

Judges 14:6, CSB: the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully on him, and he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he did not tell his father or mother what he had done.

What does Judges 14:6 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Samson is alone near the Philistine town of Timnah. There, he is attacked by a young lion. It was not uncommon to encounter lions in and around the forests of Palestine during this time in Israel's history (1 Samuel 17:34–35). It has always been relatively rare for a lion to attack a man unprovoked. Still, this incident will play an important role in God's plan for Samson.

As the lion charges, God's Spirit rushes on Samson. In this case, it means Samson was quickly and fully filled with the supernatural power of God—giving him abilities otherwise impossible. God's power in Samson resulted in supernatural physical strength. Not only does an unarmed Samson kill the lion, but he literally tears it apart with his bare hands. The text compares this to ripping the limbs from a small animal during the butchering process. Samson does this to an animal which is at least the size of an adult man.

Egyptian and Assyrian paintings from this era show warriors and kings killing fierce lions with swords, spears, and bows. Only heroes of myth and legend were said to have killed attacking lions with their hands. Skeptics sometimes relate Samson's feat to the Greek hero, Heracles—or Hercules—who famously killed a near-invincible monster, the Nemean lion. In Heracles case, he trapped the animal, stunned it with a club, and then strangled it. That act was a defining moment in Heracles' life. Samson accomplishes his task without warning, without weapons, and without much fanfare. The results of his act are indirect—he does not even tell his parents what happened.

Samson may have kept this event a secret to hide the fact that he was now ritually unclean. According to custom and law, he may have been obligated to endure ritual cleansing before he could proceed with the wedding. Some commentators suggest this was the first time Samson had been supernaturally empowered. If so, he may have been unsure how or if to tell others what had happened. Scripture gives no direct explanation.