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thren, or among all thy people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines ? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me ; for she pleaseth me well.

But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines ; for at that time the Philistines had dominion oyer Israel.

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.

And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand; but he told not his father, or his mother what he had done.

And he went down, and talked with the woman ; and she pleased Sanson well: And after a time, he re-turned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion ; and behold there was 'a swarm of bees, and honey in the carcase of the lion.

And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told them not that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion.

So his father went down unto the woman, and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do. And it came to pass when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him.

· And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: If ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets, and thirty changes of garments; But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me

thirty

thirty sheets, and thirty changes of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it. . '

And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three day.expound the riddle.

And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson's wife, Entice thy husband that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father's house with fire : have ye. called us to take that we have? is it not so ?

And Samson's wife wept before him and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovesť me not : thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me.

And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell thee? And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day that he told her, because she urged him ; and she told the riddle to the children of her people. .

And the men of the city. said unto him that on the sea. venth day before the sun went down, What is sweeter. than honey? and what is stronger than a lion ? and he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.

And the spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house.

But Samson's wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend.

ANNOTA.

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.

It is most likely, that when Samson went to. Timnath, the Lord inspired him with a desire of seeking occasion to try his strength on the Philistines : but he suffered himself to be diverted from his purpose, ,

If the Philistines considered him as their professed antagonist, their triumph must have been great on his wishing 'to form an alliance with them ; but Samson's indiscretion could not counteract the will of the Lord, who ordained that this very marriage should be a means of punishment to the Philistines : Samson was therefore permitted to pursue his design, and his father and mo. ther, indulgent to a faulty degree, gave way to his earnest solicitations.

Samson's slaying a lion without the assistance of any weapon, was an earnest to him of the conguests he might expect to gain over the Philistines, by the assista' ance of the same Divine Power; and his finding honey in the carcase afterwards, might be intended as an assurance that his courage should not go unrewarded.

It was customary in those days, at festive entertain.. ments, for the company to amuse themselves with pro. posing and explaining difficult questions: Samson, in compliance with this custom, gave his guests a riddle, promising gifts to those who could solve it: indeed it. was so strange a one, that neither learning nor ingenuity could have discovered the meaning of it ; but it answered the purpose of proving whether the attend. ants on the marriage were friends or enemies. San. son's wife proceeded with great artifice; but the event, discovered her treachery, and he resolved to be revenged: his wrath proved instrumental to the design

of

of God respecting the destruction of the Philistines, and supernatural strengih was granted to him.

Whether Samson's wife was influenced by fear, or led by inclination, is difficult to determine ; but we may suppose, that she could promise herself no great felicity with him, after his discovery of her treachery ; and it is likely her relations were averse to her living with him. Her conduct is not to be justified ; but we should consider that she belonged to one of those nations- in which all kinds of wickedness were practised, whose inhabitants educated their children according to their own bad principles.

Samson evidently did not act from a pious, but a selfish molive ; but the SUPREME BEING can order the unruly passions of men to be subservient to his purposes ; and often does so, particularly in the punishment of the wicked ; for one sinner, or nation of sinners, is frequently made a scourge to another, as in this instance.

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SECTION LX.

SAMSON'S REVENGE AGAINST THE PHILISTiNESHE

BURNS THEIR CORN-SLAYS A THOUSAND WITH THE JAW-BONE OF AN ASS_SUFFERS EXTREME THIRST.

From Judges, Chap. XV.

But it came to pass within a while after, in the time of wheat-harvest, that Samson visited his wife with a kid ; and he said, I will go to my wife into the chamber. But her father would not suffer him to go in.

And her father said, I verily thought that thou hadst utterly hated her : therefore I gave her to thy.com

panion :

panion : is not her younger sister fairer than she ? take her, I pray thee, instead of her.

And Samson said concerning them, Now shall I be more blameless than the Philistines, though I do them. a displeasure.'

And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took fire-brands, and turned tail to tail, and put a fire-brand in the midst between two tails.

And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt · up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with · the vineyards and olives.

Then the Philistines said, Who hath done this? and they answered, Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he hath taken his wife, and given her to his companion. And the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire. :

And Samson said unto them, Though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease.

And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter. And he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam.

Then the Philistines went up and pitched in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi.“

And the men of Judah said, Why are ye come up. against us? and they answered, To bind Samson are we come up, to do to him as he hath done to us.

Then three thousand nen of Judah went to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers ofer us? what is this that thou hast done unto us? And he said unto them, As they did unto me, so have I done unto them.

And they said unto him, We are come down to bind

thee,

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