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Bible Commentaries

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

Judges 14



Verse 20


‘Samson’s wife was given to his companion.’

Judges 14:20

I. Samson had been brought up in the faith of the Lord God of Israel.—He was in covenant with Him by circumcision. His religious duty was to love the Lord his God with all his heart, and to serve Him alone. His wife did not believe in the Lord, but was a worshipper of Dagon. There could therefore be no union for them in that great bond of union which is the living God. They had nothing in common to cement their hearts and interests together, and to bind their life into one. He was pleased with her beauty, and she was gratified by his admiration. That was all. And how long would that last? What strong temptation, what powerful motive of action, what great provocation, would those influences be able to withstand? What promise did they give of unity of sentiment and harmony of conduct amid the intricacies of conflicting duties? One week in their case was sufficient to supply the answer to these questions. A betrayed husband, a deserted wife, discord, strife, bloodshed, were the fruit of seven days of this ill-assorted union. The wife married to another husband is cut off by murderous hands in the prime of her youth and beauty. The husband married to another wife is again betrayed and given up to his enemies to be mocked, and blinded, and to die.

II. We seem, therefore, to be taught by the ill-starred marriage of Samson with the Timnathite, as forcibly as by the blessed union of his father and mother, what to seek and what to avoid in choosing a partner for life. The union of two souls in the love of God and in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ; the union of two minds in all rational and sober pursuits, whether intellectual, political, or social; the identity of interests; the community of purpose to make the most of what God has given to each for the common stock of happiness; the care of each for the other as the first human duty, and the faithfulness of each to the other in the whole series of actions, from the least to the greatest—this is the ideal of Christian wedlock to which we are led by the failures of the one as well as by the virtues of the other.

Bishop Lord Arthur Hervey.


(1) ‘Samson in slaying the lion, and the bees in swarming in its carcase, did things which were links in the chain of events which God foresaw, or fore-ordained, as He did also the effects of Samson’s marriage with the Philistine. But just as the bees only followed their instinct in building their hive, so Samson, in fixing his affections on the Timnathite, and in attacking the lion, and in eating the honey, and in propounding the riddle, and in avenging himself for his wife’s treachery, was merely following the bent of his own inclinations and the leading of his own will, though in so doing he was bringing about God’s purpose for the deliverance of Israel. The most trivial events may be necessary links in the great chain; and while men are blindly following their own inclinations, with little thought and no knowledge of what will come of them, God is making use of them with unerring wisdom to work out His own eternal purposes for the good of His people and for the glory of His own great name.’

(2) ‘I wish Manoah could speak so loud that all our Israelites might hear him: “Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all God’s people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines?” If religion be any other than a cipher, how dare we not regard it in our most important choice? Is she a fair Philistine? Why is not this deformity of the soul more powerful to dissuade us than the beauty of the face or of metal to allure us?’

(3) ‘The Philistines had threatened Samson’s wife that if she did not obtain and disclose her husband’s secret, they would burn her and her father’s house with fire. She, to save herself and oblige her countrymen, betrayed her husband; and now by so doing brought upon herself the very doom which she so studiously sought to avoid.’

(4) ‘How often it happens that strong, athletic men, who could withstand the onset of a handful of armed foes, cannot resist one unholy desire, and are constantly being brought into subjection to some secret sin. Samson was peculiarly liable to the assaults of impurity. Truly the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. The weakest child of God, who is living in the Spirit, will conquer in that battle which will be too much for the strongest man who relies on his own might.’


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Judges 14:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.

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