… ‘Cursed be the man who eats a lion
that the lion becomes human.
Blessed be the lion that eats a man
when the lion becomes human.’
The Living One
Samson went down to Timinah, in Philistine.
On approaching the vineyards there a full grown lion came roaring at him.
Samson tore the lion asunder with his bare hands.
Then he went down and noticed a girl amongst the women,
they talked, and she pleased him.
When he returned to his homeland he said to his mother and father,
“There is a woman of the Philistines whom I would like as my wife.”
So, Samson went down to Timinah the following year,
with his mother and father, to marry the woman.
On again passing through the vineyard there
Samson saw the carcass of the lion he had slain before.
In the skeleton of the lion a swarm of bees had a hive, and had made honey.
Samson scooped up some of the honey into his palms,
then he and his mother and father ate the honey as they went along.
So they went down to meet the woman, and as was customary,
Samson held a wedding feast for the woman’s kinsfolk.
Thirty companions there were attending the wedding feast
but Samson could not afford the bride-price for the woman.
“Let me set you a riddle,” he said to the wedding guests,
“if you can solve the riddle during the seven days of our wedding feast,
I shall give you thirty linen tunics and thirty sets of clothing but if not
then that number of garments shall be due to me.”
“We shall hear your riddle,” said the wedding guests of the woman of Philistine.
“Out of the eater,
came something to eat.
Out of the strong,
came something sweet.”
For three days the wedding guests
were unable to fathom Samson’s riddle.
On the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband
and provide us with the answer to his riddle,
else we shall put you and your father’s household to the fire,
have we been invited here to be impoverished?”
Then Samson’s wife wept before him saying, “You do not love me,
you have asked my countrymen a riddle without telling me the answer.”
“I haven’t even told my mother and father,” said Samson.
During the rest of the feast Samson’s wife continued to inveigle him with her tears
until on the seventh day he told her because of her constant nagging.
She explained the riddle to her kinsmen and at the close of the seventh day
they taunted Samson with the answer, “What is stronger than a lion?
What is sweeter than honey?”
“Had you not plowed with my heifer
you would not have solved my riddle,” said Samson.
Then Samson went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of its men.
He stripped them and gave their clothing to his wife’s kinsmen as her bride-price.
Then he left in rage for his mother and father’s house…