Samson and the Parable of Jesus' Gospel
One of the things that is interesting about the study of Samson is how similar he was in many ways to Jesus and as stated in another study (see the link at the bottom of this article) Samson was a type of Jesus. One of the ways he was like Jesus is that he told parables. In this study we will discuss the riddle/parable of the eater and the strong and see how this tells us about the gospel of Jesus.
Our story starts with the fact that Samson, and his parents, proceeded with the marriage and had a marriage feast. In this story Samson had thirty companions with him. We are not told whether these companions were Philistines or Israelites but their spiritual natures were those of Philistines. This brings up the interesting text in II Corinthians 6:14-18 where Jesus instructs us not to be unequally yoked with non-believers. Non-believers will inevitably bring disharmony when around God fearing people.
In the traditions of the times it would appear that parables/riddles were a familiar way of passing the time. So Samson decides to pose a parable that God had given him in connection with his experience with the lion. The fact that God had given him this riddle would indicate that the lion was more than just an animal but was in fact a symbol of the Christ (I Corinthians 10:1-4). Samson set the conditions of the riddle in that since the marriage feast (Matthew 22:1-14; 25:1-13) would last for seven days (the Sabbath will be an issue in another study) that his companions would have seven days to figure out the riddle and if they could not they would give him one sheet and one garment from each person. If they did figure out the riddle then he would give them each a sheet and garment. They agreed to the terms of the riddle and Samson proceeded to share the riddle.
The riddle stated the following: “Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness (Judges 14:14)”. This riddle was a testimony of what happened as a result of the death of the lion and what came forth out of the lion in the form of honey. For three days this riddle was not answered and the people were frantic for they did not want to lose their resources. This three day period is similar to that of the death of Christ and for three days the disciples did not know what to do or think of Jesus. The disciples had heard Jesus speak of His death and that He would be resurrected in three days but they did not know what that meant for in their minds Messiah would live forever (Mark 9:9-10, 31-32). For three days the disciples did not know the answer to the sign of Jonah that the Son of Man would be in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:38-45) and did not get help until Jesus Himself sent help in the form of the women at the grave and then Jesus Himself came to explain it in a Bible study (Luke 24:27, 36-48)
In the story of Samson’s parable his companions did not understand and they solved it in a Philistine manner (Leviticus 18:24-30) – they did not pray, they did not ask the God of Israel, they did not consult with a Godly prophet, or with the Word of God, they came to Samson’s wife, a type of the harlot of Revelation 17, and they threatened her with being burned up (Revelation 17:16) unless she should deceive her husband and betray her trust with him and get the answer from the source of the parable, Jesus through Samson by the Holy Spirit of God.
The wife, a symbol of a church (II Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:22-32; Jeremiah 6:2), kept working on Samson until he told her the answer. He told his wife the answer on the 7th day of the festival, and then she told her kinsmen, and then they told Samson. They answered him and said: “What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?” It does not appear that they understood the depths of the parable but they gave sufficient answer to win the bet. Samson immediately knew that his woman (his heifer in Judges 14:18) had betrayed him to her kinsmen.
But even though the Philistines did not understand the riddle, it is given to us to understand the riddle and again we gain information about Jesus. The Bible tells us that we are to learn His truths in the Biblically appointed way – “Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall He make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk (Hebrews 5:12-14), and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line, here a little and there a little. (Isaiah 28:9-13)” It is our responsibility to ask what does God mean by honey, for we have already discussed the issue of what a lion is. (http://www.the1844way.com/samsonlion.html)
In the Bible honey is a way of describing the Word of God (Ezekiel 2:9-3:3; Revelation 10:8-11). In the Bible it says that the manna, the living Word of God (John 6:32-68), as originally given to
As a result of this experience Samson was discouraged from his wife and he left her in a fit of anger. While he was gone his wife was given to another man whom Samson had used as a friend. It is my opinion that this man was a type of Satan.
There are several issues in Judges 14 that have not been addressed in this study but I will follow them up in further studies. But the sum of this chapter is that Samson was acting like a prophet in sharing the parable of the lion and the honey and was thus giving out the gospel to all who had ears to hear, may we be one of that special group.