Judges 14:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 14:8, NIV: Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion's carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey.

Judges 14:8, ESV: After some days he returned to take her. And he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion, and behold, there was a swarm of bees in the body of the lion, and honey.

Judges 14:8, KJV: And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion.

Judges 14:8, NASB: When he returned later to take her, he turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion; and behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the body of the lion.

Judges 14:8, NLT: Later, when he returned to Timnah for the wedding, he turned off the path to look at the carcass of the lion. And he found that a swarm of bees had made some honey in the carcass.

Judges 14:8, CSB: After some time, when he returned to marry her, he left the road to see the lion's carcass, and there was a swarm of bees with honey in the carcass.

What does Judges 14:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In prior verses, Samson travelled to Timnah to see a Philistine woman. This was the person he demanded his parents obtain as his bride (Judges 14:1–4). On the way there, he was attacked by a lion, which he supernaturally killed with his bare hands (Judges 14:5–7). Samson's parents have agreed to his demand to marry the woman and have arranged with her family for the wedding to take place. In this verse, he is returning from his hometown to take his Philistine bride. This is to be the beginning of a traditional, week-long wedding celebration.

The phrase "some days later" suggests a relatively long period. In ancient Israel, there was a betrothal period before a wedding, which could last months. It might have been many weeks since Samson killed the lion. Samson stops to see the carcass of the lion he had previously killed. A mass of bees has made a honey-producing hive in the body. Although the text simply states these facts, this is a remarkable event, perhaps also brought about through God's intervention.

Honeybees don't normally take up residence in animal carcasses. However, they will make hives in almost any properly sized space. It's possible that whatever skin and bones were left by scavengers dried to create a suitable cavity. Or the bees might have made their home in the lion's skull. Scripture offers few details, as they aren't relevant to the story. Something unusual is going on here, without any question, and the strangeness of the incident will be important in the next part of Samson's story.