What does Judges 14:13 mean?
ESV: but if you cannot tell me what it is, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Put your riddle, that we may hear it.”
NIV: If you can't tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.' 'Tell us your riddle,' they said. 'Let's hear it.'
NASB: But if you are unable to tell me, then you shall give me thirty linen wraps and thirty outfits of clothes.' And they said to him, 'Propose your riddle, so that we may hear it.'
CSB: But if you can't explain it to me, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes.""Tell us your riddle," they replied. "Let's hear it."
NLT: But if you can’t solve it, then you must give me thirty fine linen robes and thirty sets of festive clothing.' 'All right,' they agreed, 'let’s hear your riddle.'
KJV: But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it.
Verse Commentary:
Samson has been assigned thirty Philistine men as companions for his week-long marriage wedding feast (Judges 14:1–3, 10–11). It's unclear whether these men are meant as drinking companions, security, or simply traditional guests. At some point on the first day of the celebration, Samson has challenged them with a wager (Judges 14:12). He has offered to provide each man a linen garment and a change of outer clothes, if they can solve his riddle—and they have seven days to solve it.

If they cannot solve his riddle, they will each give him one linen garment and change of clothes. If Samson loses, he will be obligated to provide thirty sets of clothes, which would be an expensive penalty. Clothing was much costlier in the ancient world than in most modern cultures. The Philistine men eagerly agree; at first, this seems like moderate stakes for the Philistines. Even if they lose, each man only needs to come up with one change of clothes. That's not cheap, but neither is it outrageous. Further, the men likely assume that between the thirty of them, they should be able to resolve the mystery within in the week. It's possible the men believe Samson is being extravagant: that he's offering them gifts with the added entertainment of figuring out a clever riddle.

Brash Samson doesn't plan on losing. What he will present is not so much a "riddle" as a poetic explanation of a secret event (Judges 14:14)—so he has no reason to think anyone could ever guess the answer.
Verse Context:
Judges 14:10–20 explains the disastrous outcome of Samson's attempted marriage to a Philistine woman. As was the custom, a weeklong wedding feast is held. Thirty Philistines companions are assigned to Samson. He makes an exorbitant bet with them, making a riddle about his killing of the young lion (Judges 14:5–6). The men threaten the future bride, who pesters Samson until he tells her the secret, which she gives to the groomsmen. Enraged at her betrayal, and empowered by the Lord's Spirit, Samson assaults thirty Philistine men in another town (Judges 14:4). He takes their clothes as the payment for the wager. Because Samson angrily abandons the wedding feast, his bride is given to another man.
Chapter Summary:
Samson (Judges 13:24–25) is now old enough to marry. He demands his parents arrange marriage to a Philistine woman with whom he is infatuated. When attacked by a lion, Samson rips the animal apart with his bare hands, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Later, he finds a beehive and honey in the lion's carcass. At the wedding feast, Samson proposes a wager based on this secret. His thirty Philistine companions become frustrated when they can't solve it. They threaten Samson's bride, and she manipulates him to get the secret. Samson attacks thirty Philistines in another town to pay the wager.
Chapter Context:
This chapter leaps forward from Samson's birth (Judges 13:5, 24–25) to somewhere in his adulthood. He demands a Philistine woman for a wife. At the wedding feast, he proposes a bet with thirty Philistine men. They learn the answer to his trick question by threatening to kill the bride. Samson attacks thirty Philistines in another town to secure the payment for the wager. His bride is given to one of the men who threatened her. Samson will return, expecting marital rights, only to be told she has been given to someone else (Judges 15:1–2).
Book Summary:
The Book of Judges describes Israel's history from the death of Joshua to shortly before Israel's first king, Saul. Israel fails to complete God's command to purge the wicked Canaanites from the land (Deuteronomy 7:1–5; 9:4). This results in a centuries-long cycle where Israel falls into sin and is oppressed by local enemies. After each oppression, God sends a civil-military leader, labeled using a Hebrew word loosely translated into English as "judge." These appointed rescuers would free Israel from enemy control and govern for a certain time. After each judge's death, the cycle of sin and oppression begins again. This continues until the people of Israel choose a king, during the ministry of the prophet-and-judge Samuel (1 Samuel 1—7).
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