What does Judges 14:5 mean?
ESV: Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah, and they came to the vineyards of Timnah. And behold, a young lion came toward him roaring.
NIV: Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him.
NASB: Then Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came as far as the vineyards of Timnah; and behold, a young lion came roaring toward him.
CSB: Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother and came to the vineyards of Timnah. Suddenly a young lion came roaring at him,
NLT: As Samson and his parents were going down to Timnah, a young lion suddenly attacked Samson near the vineyards of Timnah.
KJV: Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him.
Verse Commentary:
Timnah is where Samson saw a Philistine woman, with whom he demanded his parents arrange his marriage. They objected, preferring he marry an Israelite, but Samson insisted that "she is right in my eyes" (Judges 14:1–4). Samson's parents have agreed to his request and travelled to Timnah to do as their son demanded. They are not with him when the last line of this verse takes place. As with Samson's defiant insistence on marrying the Philistine woman, this incident will prove to be part of God's plan: beginning the process of saving Israel from the Philistines (Judges 13:5).

Samson is attacked by a young lion. In the modern era, Asiatic lions are only found in India. In Samson's day, and for centuries after the time of Christ, native lions lived in the Promised Land. Adult male Asiatic lions weigh around 330 pounds, or 150 kilograms. These could threaten livestock and even people in those territories (1 Samuel 17:34–35). Even with modern weapons such as rifles, lions are considered dangerous prey. To face a lion with spears or arrows is intimidating enough; Samson will literally tear this one apart with his bare hands (Judges 14:6).
Verse Context:
Judges 14:5–9 is the first example of Samson's supernatural strength, as empowered by the Holy Spirit. While travelling to meet his future wife, he is attacked by a young lion. Samson rips the animal apart with his bare hands. Later, he finds a beehive growing in the lion's carcass. He takes honeycomb and eats it, sharing this with his parents.
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).
Accessed 4/15/2024 11:58:18 PM
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