Judges 14:10–15 (ESV)
His father went down to the woman, and Samson prepared a feast there, for so the young men used to do. As soon as the people saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him. And Samson said to them, “Let me now put a riddle to you. If you can tell me what it is, within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes, but if you cannot tell me what it is, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Put your riddle, that we may hear it.” And he said to them,
“Out of the eater came something to eat.
Out of the strong came something sweet.”
And in three days they could not solve the riddle.
On the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband to tell us what the riddle is, lest we burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us here to impoverish us?”
Remember, the point of all this is God’s plan to find an occasion to move against the Philistines. The thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes are insignificant. That wager is just a ruse to get everyone to disclose their loyalties.
We don’t know why Samson posed this silly riddle, but the Philistines’ reaction to it is shockingly depraved. “Entice your husband to tell us what the riddle is, lest we burn you and your father’s house with fire.”
Treating the Israelites like this would be bad enough, but this is how they treat their own—and over an insignificant issue too.
But remember that the lesson here—and a main theme of the whole Old Testament—isn’t just their depravity; it’s everyone’s depravity. Specifically, the riddle is silly, but the bet based on the riddle is something more. What’s going on with this?
In our culture, we sometimes add a wager to, say, a golf round, “to make it interesting.”
Time out. Why does it need to be made “interesting?” If it’s not interesting, why are we doing it in the first place? More importantly, why does a wager make things interesting? It turns a friendly game into something seriously competitive. What’s interesting about that?
There’s a real answer, and it’s worth meditating on; it introduces stress. That’s exactly what happened with Samson’s bet. They said, “Have you invited us here to impoverish us?” Stress is, by definition, something we can’t ignore. Our biochemical responses are designed to keep us from ignoring stress.
That definitely makes it interesting.
These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:
The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.