The Story of Samson, The Strong Man     /p2

As Samson was going down to Timnath to see this young woman, a hungry lion came out of the mountain, roaring against him. Samson seized the lion, and tore him in pieces as easily as another man would have killed a little kid of the goats, and then went on his way. He made his visit and came home, but said nothing to any one about the lion.

After a time Samson went again to Timnath for his marriage with the Philistine woman. On his way he stopped to look at the dead lion; and in its body he found a swarm of bees, and honey which they had made. He took some of the honey and ate it as he walked, but told no one of it.

At the wedding-feast, which lasted a whole week, there were many Philistine young men, and they amused each other with questions and riddles.

"I will give you a riddle," said Samson. "If you answer it during the feast, I will give you thirty suits of clothing; and if you cannot answer it then you must give me the thirty suits of clothing." "Let us hear your riddle," they said. And this was Samson's riddle:

"Out of the eater came forth meat, And out of the strong came forth sweetness."

They could not find the answer, though they tried to find it all that day and the two days that followed. And at last they came to Samson's wife and said to her:

"Coax your husband to tell you the answer. If you do not find it out, we will set your house on fire, and burn you and all your people."

And Samson's wife urged him to tell her the answer. She cried and pleaded with him and said:

"If you really loved me, you would not keep this a secret from me."

At last Samson yielded, and told his wife how he had killed the lion and afterward found the honey in its body. She told her people, and just before the end of the feast they came to Samson with the answer. They said:

"What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?" And Samson said to them:

"If you had not plowed with my heifer, You had not found out my riddle."

By his "heifer,"—which is a young cow,—of course Samson meant his wife. Then Samson was required to give them thirty suits of clothing. He went out among the Philistines, killed the first thirty men whom he found, took off their clothes, and gave them to the guests at the feast. But all this made Samson very angry. He left his wife and went home to his father's house. Then the parents of his wife gave her to another man.