Day 17

Samson’s Riddle

from the Judges reading plan

Judges 14:1-20, Isaiah 11:1-5, Matthew 13:16

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: Judges 14:1-20, Isaiah 11:1-5, Matthew 13:16

Editor’s Note: Today’s devotional initially appeared with biblical errors that have since been corrected (it wasn’t the author—she had it right!). We are committed to faithfully reading and presenting God’s Word and appreciate your grace and partnership today.

A number of years ago, I met a famous person I had long respected from afar. This is always a tense experience, isn’t it? Most of us, I think, when we encounter famous people, get nervous to some degree. It happens to me less now than it did before because I have interacted with a number of “famous” Christians through my job. But still, especially when meeting some people, my palms get sweaty. Beyond that tension, I’m afraid that when I meet a famous person he or she is not going to be nice. Meeting someone we admire only to learn he or she is human is disorienting and disappointing.

In Judges 14, we continue to read about Samson, a judge appointed by God, a distinguished leader of God’s people, and a massive disappointment. We have already been exposed to Samson and his background, but it is here in chapter 14 that we see his disobedience. In verses 1–4, Samson disobeys the will of his parents and seeks a Philistine woman “because she seemed right to [him]”  (v. 7). This is a foreshadowing of his weakness. For all his physical strength, for all his natural gifting, he is proving to be weak in character.

Samson shares a riddle with Philistine men at his marriage feast. He will pay them handsomely if they solve the riddle within a week, and they will pay him if they don’t. Because they have trouble solving the riddle, they threaten Samson’s wife, which leads her to squeeze the answer out of him, despite Samson not giving the answer to his mother or father. He loses the bet because his wife gives the Philistine men the answer. This leads Samson to kill thirty other Philistine men in order to pay up his end of the bet.

Flashes of Samson’s strength, reliance on the Spirit of God, and anointing give glimpses of what the true Savior of God’s people, Jesus, would one day look like. Some may have thought Samson would be the deliverer of Israel, but unfortunately, he sought his own way and was undermined by his weakness.

In Isaiah 11 we read that the Savior of the world would shoot up from the stump of Jesse, in the line of David, and deliver the people of God from their disobedience and weakness. His justice would be righteous because His wisdom is from above. Jesus, our perfect Judge (Matthew 25:31-46), “will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, he will not execute justice by what he hears with his ears” (Isaiah 11:3).



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121 thoughts on "Samson’s Riddle"

  1. Kristen Elizabeth says:

    There’s so much about Judges that I read as a child or teenager and had no understanding of. Now as I read it as an adult and particularly with the commentary/devotion to pull it apart, I’m amazed by the number of ungodly Judges in this book. Most of them weren’t following God and the consequences are always fatal. Whilst there is crazy stories in here which makes Judges such an interesting read, it really is full of disobedience and consequence. Thank God for his Jesus, the Saviour of the world. Without Him, I too have a sad, crazy story that needs God to make it complete.

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