Samson’s riddle is found in Judges 14:14 which reads, “Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness.” The key to unlocking this riddle is in Judges 14:5-9, “Then went Samson down, 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 and his mother what he had done. And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well. And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass 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 not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcass of the lion.” The obvious answer to Samson’s riddle is: The “eater” and the “strong” is the “lion.” The “meat” and the “sweetness” is the “honey” found in the lion’s carcass.

What lessons can we learn from this incident in Samson’s life? It is actually a sad tale, for even though Samson was known for his PHYSICAL STRENGTH, he was a MORALLY WEAK man. Samson had a special weakness for women, and in this account Samson was on his way to Timnath to take a bride from among Israel’s enemies, the Philistines. To add to Samson’s failure, he was a Nazarite and in this story he broke two of the vows of a Nazarite. Numbers 6:4 tells us, “All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels to the husk.” Then, verse 6 says, “All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall come at no dead body.” Samson disobeyed these vows by visiting a vineyard and by approaching the dead lion! As we muse on the inconsistency of this we can’t help but marvel at God’s grace in it all, for when Samson was attacked by the lion “the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him” and gave him the victory. Perhaps God was using this lion to show Samson the folly of walking in a path of disobedience. If that was the case Samson didn’t learn the lesson, for he continued on his way to meet his future bride among the Philistines. How often we too are walking on a dangerous path and God intervenes in some way, seeking to deliver us from the temptations that are surely to be found if we are willfully walking in the enemy’s land.

There is a POSITIVE way to look at this story. The “lion” is a picture of “Satan,” for we read in 1 Peter 5:7, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” When we are attacked by the devil, and God gives us the power to defeat him through the Spirit of God, we can then taste the sweetness of that victory, pictured by the honey in the carcass. This reminds us of Psalm 23:5, “Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” Many have seen in this story an illustration of Christ’s victory over the devil at the cross, which for the believer has yielded the sweet. As one has said, “Surely from the cross of Christ all sweetness and all food has come. No one would question that when Satan was vanquished at the cross, the door was opened wide into God’s treasure-house, and His inexhaustible resources were made ours to feed upon.” (159.7) (DO)