“Samson went down to Timnah. There in Timnah a woman caught his eye, a
Philistine girl. He came back and told his father and mother, ‘I saw a
woman in Timnah, a Philistine girl; get her for me as my wife.’

His parents said to him, ‘Isn’t there a woman among the girls in the
neighborhood of our people? Do you have to go get a wife from the
uncircumcised Philistines?’

But Samson said to his father, ‘Get her for me. She’s the one I want— she’s the right one.’
(His father and mother had no idea that God was behind this, that he
was arranging an opportunity against the Philistines. At the time the
Philistines lorded it over Israel.)”—Judges 14:1-4


“His father went on down to make arrangements with the woman, while
Samson prepared a feast there. That’s what the young men did in those
days. Because the people were wary of him, they arranged for thirty
friends to mingle with him.

Samson said to them: ‘Let me put a riddle to you. If you can figure it
out during the seven days of the feast, I’ll give you thirty linen
garments and thirty changes of fine clothing. But if you can’t figure
it out then you’ll give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of
fine clothing.’

They said, ‘Put your riddle. Let’s hear it.’ So he said, ‘From the
eater came something to eat, from the strong came something sweet.’

They couldn’t figure it out. After three days they were still stumped.
On the fourth day they said to Samson’s bride, ‘Worm the answer out of
your husband or we’ll burn you and your father’s household. Have you
invited us here to bankrupt us?’

So Samson’s bride turned on the tears, saying to him, ‘You hate me. You
don’t love me.’ You’ve told a riddle to my people but you won’t even
tell me the answer.’

He said, ‘I haven’t told my own parents—why would I tell you?’

But she turned on the tears all the seven days of the feast. On the
seventh day, worn out by her nagging, he told her. Then she went and
told it to her people.

The men of the town came to him on the seventh day, just before sunset
and said, ‘What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?’

And Samson said, ‘If you hadn’t plowed with my heifer, you wouldn’t have found out my riddle.’

‘Then the Spirit of God came powerfully on him. He went down to
Ashkelon and killed thirty of their men, stripped them, and gave their
clothing to those who had solved the riddle.

Stalking out, smoking with anger, he went home to his father’s house.
Samson’s bride became the wife of the best man at his
wedding.’—-Judges 14:12-19

This is another chapter when we will deviate from the (well, my) plan a
bit. Although, most of these lessons deal with the courting process,
there are so many valuable things that we can learn about Samson and
his issues with women, even before we get to the infamous Delilah.First things first. I find it to be so interesting that, while Samson’s
first wife received a full chapter of “press” (Judges 14), her name was
not mentioned. Not once. For whatever reason, the identity of this
Philistine woman was not all that important and as we read through this
tale, you will see that ultimately, she didn’t appear to be all that
vital to Samson, either.

This story begins with Samson seeing this Philistine woman and desiring
her (Judges 14:1-2). OK, already we have a problem. No where does it
say that he saw her and got to know her, first.

Now remember, with the exception of Adam and Eve (in the perfect Garden
of Eden), with all of the marital unions that we’ve discussed so far,
before that step took place, there was either a time of them getting to
know one another (fellowship that leads to intimacy) or the parents
were directly involved in bringing them together. However, in Samson’s
case, neither took place. He saw a woman, his flesh kicked in, and we
already know that when you sow to the flesh, you reap to the flesh and
it brings forth corruption (Galatians 6:8).

First lesson ladies (and fellas who are following the series): Don’t
get with a man (or woman, guys) just because he (or she) is fine. The
devil was fine (Ezekiel 28:11-19) and you see all of the hurt, pain and
confusion he is causing in the Earth!

Now, I know that already makes some of you nervous. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Whenever you hear someone say, “Don’t look at the outward appearance,
but the heart”, is it just me or does a short, fat, bald man
immediately come to mind? Shake it off, my sistahs. Remember God says
in Ecclesiastes 3:14 that what he does lasts forever and we serve a God
who hates divorce (Malachi 3:14). Furthermore, being that God created
sex (Genesis 2:25) and physical attraction plays a huge part in sexual
arousal and because Paul doesn’t advise that we hold out on our mates
all that often (I Corinthians 7:5), when we are advised to look past
the physical (eyesight) into the heart (vision), it’s because God knows
one very important thing:

“Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”—2 Corinthians 4:16 (NKJV)

I think I’ve shared with you before the HUGE little tidbit of wisdom
that my mother shared with me years before concerning this issue:
“Shellie, God gives you someone not for where you are, but where you
are going.”

I remember as I was nursing the fresh wounds from my third abortion
hearing my mother say, “Shellie, you’ve had fine men and they are about
to take your uterus out. Pray for a man who loves God. He is the only
one who will know how to love you.”

Say a word, say a word!

I must say that in the fleshly sense, most of the “notches on my belt”
are nothing to turn your nose up at, but when it comes to having enough
character to cover rather than uncover (and at times even humiliate)
me? Girl, please. Let me just say this: If all you care about is
rockin’ a little eye candy (and remember too much candy can rot your
teeth out so imagine what it can do to the rest of you?), operate in
the physical; but if you have a real vision for your life, you must
link up to the spiritual. And please don’t let the Enemy stress you
about making such a mature decision:

“No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, never so much as
imagined anything quite like it— what God has arranged for those who
love him. But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has
brought it all out into the open before you.”—-I Corinthians

I don’t know about you, but I serve a God who, through my obedience,
gives me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4) and when it comes to my
marriage, I desire a man that I, well, desire.

Moving on.

Do you recall in an earlier chapter when I told you about teasing one
of my friends about marrying Philistine women? It was actually Samson’s
parents who inspired me to speak that little catchphrase:

“His parents said to him, “Isn’t there a woman among the girls in the
neighborhood of our people? Do you have to go get a wife from the
uncircumcised Philistines?”—-Judges 14:3.

Remember, it was God who established a covenant with Abraham through
the process of circumcision (Acts 7:8). In those days, circumcised
people were God’s people and (rightfully so) Samson’s parents wanted
him linked up to a woman of God. Samson, on the other hand had other
plans. Now, here is where the story gets a little tricky.

In a perfect world, I believe all godly parents want their children
with godly mates. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out that way, but
even in the midst, when God allows it to happen anyway, oftentimes
there is a plan greater than what we can see. That’s what I love about
I Corinthians 7:12-14:

“For the rest of you who are in mixed marriages—Christian married to
non-Christian—we have no explicit command from the Master. So this is
what you must do. If you are a man with a wife who is not a believer
but who still wants to live with you, hold on to her. If you are a
woman with a husband who is not a believer but he wants to live with
you, hold on to him. The unbelieving husband shares to an extent in the
holiness of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is likewise touched by
the holiness of her husband. Otherwise, your children would be left
out; as it is, they also are included in the spiritual purposes of God.”

Would it have been ideal for Samson to marry someone with whom he was
equally yoked? Most definitely. But that’s the amazing thing about God.
No matter what, even when it doesn’t make sense to us, God’s plan
always prevails (Proverbs 19:21) and when we love God, all things work
together for good (Romans 8:28).

So, for a season, he allowed Samson to marry the Philistine woman, but
that doesn’t mean that it was a bed of roses. We will get to that in a
second. Right now, I feel led to address just one more thing before we
get into the beginning phases and stages of Samson’s all-woman casted
soap opera.

The Bible says in Judges 14:10 that, as was customary for the
bridegroom in those days, Samson threw a feast (a large, elaborately
prepared meal, usually for many persons and often accompanied by
entertainment; a banquet) in celebration of his nuptials.

Now ladies, I will be the first to stand up and say that there tends to
be an epidemic of women who marry the wedding and not the man because
they are borderline obsessed with “feast throwing”. Shoot, while I’m
thinking about it, we may get into the history of the engagement ring
in a later chapter as well. Long story short, back in the day, dowries
were paid to the parents, not the bride and so if you are approaching
the end of your courtship, why are you stressin’ your man out about how
large of a rock you want and/or didn’t get, when really you should be
grateful to have one at all because it’s actually your mother who
should be wearing it in the first place? (Hmm…like I said, we’ll try
and get to that later.)

But, I did want to bring this part of the story up for a reason. The
feast was a beginning sign of the bridegroom being able to make
provision for his bride. If you find you and your parents breaking your
necks and bank accounts to pay for the wedding because it’s not in the
bridegroom’s budget, check that. I’m sorry baby, but a lifetime with
you is gonna cost a lot more than a few thousand bucks. No matter what
size “feast” you choose to have, watch how much your courtship partner
contributes. It will speak volumes about his plans concerning
provision. After all, a good plant must start with a healthy seed.

I know God wanted me to say that to someone and so I did. Moving on.

When it comes to Samson’s first wife, one of the biggest lessons that
she taught me actually was a confirmation in my spirit. I think I’ve
told you before that one of the scriptures that God has placed in my
heart as a part of my daily motto for living is 1 John 4:18: “There is
no fear in love”. But, as I am maturing in my understanding of just
what real loving is, there’s another one that comes to mind:

“He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends.”—Proverbs 17:9 (NKJV)

Yes, that means if you are running your mouth about anyone’s business
other than your own (and your own doesn’t mean your husband’s or your
children’s….it means your own), then you need to really check to see if
you are operating in love. However, in relationship to Samson, while
the riddle he shared wasn’t a “transgression” per se, if his wife
understood real love, she still would have kept her mouth shut.

When God said that, in marriage, two are made one flesh (Genesis 2:24),
a part of that purpose is to bond them in a way that no one can
separate them, not even their own parents (Matthew 19:5&6). So,
while I think we will probably get into this in another chapter, if you
have to have your parents or friends always up in your relational
business before you can come to a decision (and I have been there), you
are probably not ready for marriage yet. And, if it’s because you don’t
trust the man in your life to make good decisions without receiving
echoes from the peanut gallery, you’re really not.

However, when it came to Samson’s (first) wife, he shouldn’t have
expected her to understand this principle of “covering him in love”
because he was unequally yoked with a non-believer (2 Corinthians
2:14); not only a non-believer of God’s righteous ways, but a
non-believer in him as well.

This is a sidebar for the fellas: Your top priority can be getting a
36-28-41 (sistah girl measurements) if you want to, but if she puts
more stock into her hair weave and pedicure appointments than your
needs, you very well could find yourself being annoyed just as Samson
was. But, we’ll get to that in a moment. Due to the fact that Samson
was with a support system who he wasn’t in sync with, it appears that
even he forgot some of the things that he was taught. No, she shouldn’t
have put the people at the feast before her man, but look at the
response that he gave her after she asked for the answer to the riddle:

“I haven’t told my own parents—why would I tell you?”—-Judges 14:16

Uh, perhaps because she’s your wife. Perhaps because you two are supposed to be one flesh now.

Even though they were living as husband and wife, they weren’t really
living as a married couple. There were still walls that, for whatever
reason, he had up and so here’s another note to the fellas: If you
can’t find yourself feeling totally comfortable exposing even and in
some ways, especially, your vulnerabilities with a woman that you are
considering forever with, reconsider.

And to the ladies: If you are always having to nag, coerce or give a
man ultimatums to get what you want, you should reconsider as well.
When building a marriage house, a lack of trust and a ton of
manipulative tactics cannot be a part of the foundation.

But, perhaps what tickled me more than anything was when he told his
wife the riddle and (of course) she went and blabbed it, the
Philistines came to him with the answer. Samson’s response?

“If you hadn’t plowed with my heifer, you wouldn’t have found out my riddle.”—Judges 14:18

Wow. What a difference a few days makes! So she went to being so fine
that he just had to have her to being a heifer?!? Ladies, when you
invest more in the container rather than the content, this is the end
result. One of the greatest tricks of the Enemy is to get us so caught
up in how we look on the outside that our insides end up being
neglected to the point of our detriment. This is why God says in
Proverbs 31:10 that:

“Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and
praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything
she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!”

And that we all should:

“Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.”—I Peter 3:4

I think one of the main reasons why Hollywood rotates marriages like we
rotate clothes is because a lot of men out there are like Samson. They
see a pretty package, but because they don’t use godly discernment
(Proverbs 4:1&5), they don’t catch sight of the vision for their
lives in the midst of the distraction. After awhile, the bangin’ cover
girls turn into “plowed heifers” and then they move on to their man’s
friends—-just like Samson’s wife did (Judges 14:20).

The ending to this story was not a pretty one for Samson’s wife or her
father (Judges 15:6) and once again, we are reminded of the domino
effect that a not-so-good decision can make in our lives. For them, it
was death.

In the next chapter, we will deal with something that is far too prevalent: sexual addiction.

How interesting that, even with all of the drama Samson had gone
through with his wife, he would find himself bound to a prostitute
(Judges 161-3) and then Delilah’s triflin’ tail, but let me end this
with one final lesson for today:

Fellas, anytime you link yourself up to a woman who will compromise
herself, you are placing yourself in harm’s way. You may think you are
runnin’ game on her, but in all actuality, it’s you who ends up being
played (Proverbs 6:20-35). Remember, as a man, God gave you dominion
over the earth (Genesis 1:26), which is more power than the Devil
himself has. That’s why he’s been using us—your helpmates—-to
deplete you of it. For every woman that you give yourself to, until you
repent and are restored (Psalm 51:10, 2 Corinthians 7:10), you are
operating at a limited level of your strength. Remember, you can only
do all things through Christ who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13)
and in him, there is no darkness (I John 1:5). With that said, when you
fornicate you are operating in darkness (sin) and we all know what the
consequence of that is (Romans 6:23).

And ladies, anytime you put yourself in a place of compromise, you are
operating in the spirit of Delilah. A couple of weeks ago, I was
talking to a male friend of mine who was singing his wife’s praises.
They have been going through a really, really (really) tough year and
all he kept saying was if it wasn’t for his wife, he wouldn’t have been
able to make it through.

See, she is operating in the role that God custom-made for her. Through
her love, virtue, commitment and faith, she is being a strong support
for him. I know her; she is really cute, but it’s her spirit that makes
her beautiful. That is why, when I got off of the phone, I was
compelled to pray for her more so than he. Not because I don’t love
him, but because he’s got a good woman who’s got his back. As her
sister, I need to give her some godly support.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you “love” a man, you
won’t do anything that will put his role (dominion over the earth) in
jeopardy. When the Bible says that the Enemy comes to “steal, kill and
destroy” (John 10:10), you better believe that includes a man’s power
(as we will see in the next chapter). Remember, the Enemy doesn’t
create, he duplicates and when it comes to depleting a man, for
thousands of years, he has used a woman to do it.

Homework for today: Ladies, work on cultivating inner beauty. Now,
there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good (shout out to Esther),
but if you want to keep a man, you can’t be quite so shallow. Let
Samson’s story be a reminder to you that whenever you step outside of
God’s boundaries, drama is always on the way. So, with that said, if
you find yourself going through a lot of drama in your relationship,
check and see if you are playing “inside the lines” of his Word.

And finally, get that nagging spirit out of you! In church, we are
always talking about casting out demons, but I don’t know what makes us
think that annoying someone with “constant scolding, complaining, or
urging” or giving someone anxiety to the point where they are
“persistently tormented” is a godly virtue. You should want a man who
wants to please you because it’s a desire of his heart, not because if
he doesn’t he won’t be able to shut you up. In other words, if you want
to keep a man in the home and not out there in the midst of all of
those “wild women” (Proverbs 21:19), calm down with all the bothering,
harassing, provoking, fussing and fault-finding. Take it from me: if
you have this habit, it won’t change overnight and so thank God that
he’s given you this time of singleness to get that in check, aight?

Class dismissed.

©Shellie R. Warren/2006