You gotta love Samson. He’s kind of all brawn and no brain, but God had a purpose for him. He was in a position to weaken the Philistines with his wit, charm and money. God had made sure of it. This story gives us a little insight into Samson’s character, which when we think of “Christian heroes,” Samson’s qualities don’t really add up. Samson is an apparent arrogant ladies man who makes elaborate bets and is considered a member of the “elite” society (v. 10). He bet 60 pieces of high-end clothing without blinking an eye, and the Philistine party matched his bet in the same amount of time. High-rollers, we’d call them. We’d call them cheaters, too. Samson found out the hard way that a pretty face doesn’t equal a loyal heart. Shame. I know most people focus on the stories of the lion and the honey, and the fact that Samson kept his strength a secret from everyone, even his parents, but I kind of got stuck on Samson’s unbecoming personality.
The riddle also is a popular topic in this chapter. I think the riddle just shows more of Samson’s arrogance. I mean, really, read it again: only the person who made up this riddle and went through this experience could possibly know the answer. What I’m saying is, Samson gave the Philistines (and apparently his parents) an unsolvable riddle. Now, he either did this out of ignorance of not knowing full well the point to a riddle, or he did he out of arrogance, knowing that no one would ever be able to solve his riddle. I’ve never heard anyone actually present this theory, so this is just me talking and thinking aloud on paper because that’s just how I saw it today. Next time I read it, it may speak a whole new message to me. That’s the beauty of the Bible and our history: it’s full of meaning, and every reading lets us discover something new.
Writing prompt: riddle me this
What do you think of Samson’s riddle and my theory about it? Write out your thoughts, or alternately, come up with a riddle of your own and share it with us.