1 And Samson went down to Timnath and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 And he came up and told his father and his mother, and said, "I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. Now therefore, get her for me for a wife." 3 Then his father and his mother said to him, "Is there not a woman among the daughters of your brothers, or among all my people, that you go to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines?" And Samson said to his father, "Get her for me, for she pleases me well." 4 But his father and his mother did not know that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines. For at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.
5 Then Samson went down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath. And behold, a young lion roared against him. 6 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 did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. 7 And he went down and talked with the woman, and she pleased Samson well. 8 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. 9 And he took some of it in his hands and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave some to them, and they ate. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey out of the carcass of the lion.
10 So his father went down to the woman. And Samson made a feast there, for so the young men used to do. 11 And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him.
12 And Samson said to them, "I will now propose a riddle to you. If you can certainly declare it to me within the seven days of the feast and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty changes of garments. 13 But if you cannot declare it to me, then you shall give me thirty sheets and thirty changes of garments." And they said to him, "Propose your riddle so that we may hear it."
14 And he said to them, "Out of the eater came forth food, and out of the strong came forth sweetness." And they could not in three days expound the riddle.
15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said to Samson's wife, "Entice your husband so that he may declare to us the riddle, lest we burn you and your father's house with fire. Have you called us to take what we possess? Is it not so?" 16 And Samson's wife wept before him, and said, "You do but hate me and do not love me. You have proposed a riddle to the children of my people and have not told it to me." And he said to her, "Behold, I have not told it to my father nor to my mother, and shall I tell it to you?" 17 And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she urged him. And she told the riddle to the children of her people.
18 And the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down, "What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?" And he said to them, "If you had not plowed with my heifer, you had not found out my riddle."
19 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, slew thirty men of them, took their spoil, and gave change of garments to those who expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house. 20 But Samson's wife was given to his companion, who had been his friend.
[v.18] - "plowed with my heifer" - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "But he only thought fit to tell them of it: If you had not ploughed with my heifer, made use of your interest with my wife, you would not have found out my riddle. Satan, in his temptations, could not do us the mischief he does if he did not plough with the heifer of our own corrupt nature."