Judges 14:11-20

Samson’s Riddle

12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me now propound a riddle to you; if you will indeed tell it to me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes. 13 But if you are unable to tell me, then you shall give me thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Propound your riddle, that we may hear it.” 14 So he said to them,

“Out of the eater came something to eat,
And out of the strong came something sweet.”

But they could not tell the riddle in three days.

15 Then it came about on the [j]fourth day that they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband, so that he will tell us the riddle, or we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us? Is this not so?” 16 Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You only hate me, and you do not love me; you have propounded a riddle to the sons of my people, and have not told it to me.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told it to my father or mother; so should I tell you?” 17 However she wept before him seven days while their feast lasted. And on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard. She then told the riddle to the sons of her people. 18 So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,

“What is sweeter than honey?
And what is stronger than a lion?”

And he said to them,

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
You would not have found out my riddle.”

19 Then the Spirit of the Lord [k]came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house. 20 But Samson’s wife was given to his companion who had been his [l]friend.

This passage is quite the example of how gambling is a dirty and dangerous business. It’s seen my many as way to “get rich quick” and indeed that was Samson’s attitude as he tried to win 30 changes of clothes with a single riddle.

But the men of the city were not about to give in so easily, and they resorted to threatening his wife and her father’s house with certain death. The ultimate result is the death of 30 Philistines, and Samson loses his wife to his “best man”.

Instead of coming out ahead, Samson made a bunch of enemies in the process. It often seems so innocent and simple, but given any room in our lives, gambling will destroy us, and potentially put those closest to us in harm’s way.

At the root, it reveals we are earth-centered instead of God-centered. We have lost our focus, and put our trust in earthly gain. Instead, put your trust in the One who is unshakable, unfathomable, and the rock of our salvation. Then you will not be shaken when hard times come.

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