Samson and the Wedding Garments


In the wedding story of Matthew 22:1-14 there were two important issues – the first was simply to show up for the wedding and the second was to have on a wedding garment. If you showed up to the wedding but did not have on a garment then you would be thrown out of the wedding into outer darkness – a place with no light, thus no Spirit, and no salvation.


In the wedding story of Matthew 25:1-13 we have several important issues – the first was to be ready for when the Bridegroom comes, and the second was to have lamps and oil in them to find your way to where the wedding feast is and to get in the door. If you were ready to go in but no oil in the lamp to provide light then you would remain in outer darkness and have no acknowledgement by the Bridegroom.


Both of these stories have similar lessons that were taught in the wedding story with Samson in Judges 14:10-20. All Bible stories have reinforcing and recurring thoughts so that when all of the stories are added together we may see a whole picture of the gospel according to the Spirit of Christ (I Peter 1:10-12). In this story Samson is going to marry a woman that God had forbidden to marry because she was not of the same faith (II Corinthians 6:14-18; I Kings 11:1-11). None the less God was going to use Samson’s human reasoning to accomplish His purposes of starting to deliver Israel from the control of the Philistines (Judges 14:4).


In this wedding feast Samson, and his family, arranged for Samson to have 30 companions to participate in the 7 days of the wedding feast. During the early festivities Samson offers a wager about a riddle/parable that he would share. The bet was if no one could answer the riddle each of the companions would give Samson an undergarment and an outer garment. If they found out the answer to the question then Samson would provide the same for them. After resorting to deception with Samson’s wife the 30 companions win the wager and provide the answer to the riddle. So Samson chastises them and then goes to get the garments by the first level of starting to deliver Israel from the Philistines. The Holy Spirit comes upon Samson and he goes to one of the five major cities of the Philistines and kills 30 men and gives these garments to the companions at the wedding feast.


Since the Holy Spirit inspired this event we must look as the literal as well as the spiritual components of the story. It is clear that Samson was not happy to lose his bet, and especially by deception, and even more so by his wife’s betrayal of his trust. Samson then acted on impulse, went to find clothing from a large group of people, and then killed 30 men to fulfill his part of the bet. That would be a nice simple literal presentation.


On the other hand if Samson was a type of Christ then we would have some of the qualities of the wedding feasts of Matthew 22 and 25. In that case the 30 men showed up to the wedding feast. So they at least came, and they heard the gospel story of the answer to the riddle and the story of how the gospel came out of the death of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. But none, which we know of, were able to hear with spiritual ears the depth of the story, nor did they recognize the opportunity of responding to the gospel. These 30 men were in reach of everlasting life and could not see this blessing so they did not take it. In addition they did not know that Samson was a type of Jesus, nor did they understand yet that their very lives were at stake, for Samson was a type of Jesus in reference to the presentation of the gospel and that Samson was a type of Jesus in being a judge of spiritual things. These 30 men did not know that their lives were hanging in the balance for Samson could have judged rightly, acknowledged their deception, and their violation of his relationship with his wife, and judged that these 30 men were worthy of death. Samson could just as well have killed these 30 men as he did kill the 30 men of Askelon. But part of the presentation of the gospel is to allow all men to recognize that the gospel is full of mercy, faith, as well as judgment. Samson, through the Holy Spirit, allowed them to live even though they were worthy of death.


Another aspect of this story is that Samson is also a type of the church of Laodicea. Laodicea is also involved in sharing the gospel with the world and as priests after the order of Melchisedec (I Peter 2:1-9; Hebrews 7:11-25) God’s last day people would also be involved with the gospel as well as the judgment. It is our job to be in harmony with the intercessory ministry of Christ and as He judges so will we judge, and as He grants mercy in His gospel so we will do likewise. But as in the case of Samson there will also come times of judgment and we to will be moved by the Holy Spirit to respond to unusual circumstances.


One last part of the story is that Samson, and his wife, were types of Jesus and His church. By the church’s association with the world she sometimes is persuaded to do certain things but she does not understand the power of the Lord’s Anointed. She will sometimes do things out of fear because she does not have the faith to rest in the care of her husband (Ephesians 5:22-33). Samson did not destroy his wife because of her betrayal and this is a type of the gospel relationship that Jesus has with His wife. She has often betrayed Jesus and His people and yet Jesus is willing to continue to grant her forgiveness knowing that somewhere in time even her probationary period will come to an end.


Before closing this section of our study I wanted to remind everyone that garments are a very important component in the gospel story. The study of garments started long ago in Eden. We know that Adam and Eve were covered with garments of light (Patriarchs and Prophets pages 45, 57; Psalms 104:2) and when they sinned against their Creator – Jesus, they lost their garments and felt naked. They tried to take care of this problem by making themselves garments made out of fig leaves (Genesis 3:7). When Jesus came looking for them they were afraid of He who created them in love, and they could not tell Him the truth of the matter. After Jesus confronted their sins, then He offered them the gospel in the prophecy of His death. Then Jesus offered them garments that He had made (Genesis 3:21). This exchange of old garments for new garments is one of the ongoing metaphors of righteousness by faith (Zechariah 3:1-8; Luke 15:17-24 – notice the robe). In all Bible stories what a person is wearing before and after their contacts with Jesus is an important part of the story. In Revelation 7:9-14 the great multitude is presented as wearing white robes, washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. Whenever clothing is associated with a story it us usually a gospel presentation of the righteousness of Christ (Revelation 19:6-9 for the marriage feast and notice the condition of the fine linen, clean and white in the righteousness of the saints for those saints have washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb).


In conclusion, Samson spares the 30 men, and gives them the opportunity to meditate on the gospel presentations that he has shared with them. As if often the case in Bible stories we do not know how those 30 men eventually responded for it is possible that they might have ended up being killed among the 1000 men in Judges 15:15 or if they ended up in the temple and died in the destruction of that same temple on their judgment day in Judges 16:27. But we do have the assurance that as in the case of Rahab and her family if there is a heart to believe Jesus will know where that heart is at and will bring safety and deliverance for this world or the next. Let us rejoice now in the fact that we too have experienced the extended mercies of Jesus that we have lived down to the time that we can read of the grace of Jesus in the life and testimony of His servants Samson, and Laodicea.