The Woman From Timnah: The First Wife of Samson

Seeds of Promise Series by Shenica Graham

The Woman From Timnah: The First Wife of Samson

Women of The Bible

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Seeds of Promise Women of the Bible The Woman From Timnah: The First Wife of Samson Judges 14, Judges 15 Audio

Devotional Reading: Judges 14:1-3 AMP

1 Samson went down to Timnah and at Timnah saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up and told his father and mother, I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah; now get her for me as my wife. But his father and mother said to him, Is there not a woman among the daughters of your kinsmen or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?

Since Samson was bound by God in a Nazirite vow, he was not to cut his hair, drink alcohol, or intermingle with non-Israelites. Samson’s attraction to the woman of Timnah was his first step toward a weakness that would cost him the presence of the Spirit of God within him. The Philistines ruled over the Israelites at that time. Samson’s mother who had kept him in strict compliance to his Nazirite vow in his youth and his father, were now trying to reason with Samson that he should not be found guilty of breaking his vow.

Devotional Reading: Judges 14:4-5 AMP

4 And Samson said to his father, Get her for me, for she is all right in my eyes. 5 His father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord, and that He sought an occasion for assailing the Philistines. At that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.

Apparently, God was plotting against the Philistines, though Samson’s marriage would violate the law that he should not be joined to a foreign woman. God was still with Samson despite this act of disobedience.At the very least, the union would be briefly honored since it was a formal marriage and not a sexual immorality. However, it was still a demarcation of Samson’s insatiable appetite for foreign women. Ultimately, though he was married to the woman from Timnah, he was punished for his lust.

Devotional Reading: Judges 14:8-19 AMP

Samson convinced his parents to do down with him to Timnah to seek the woman to wife. Later, Samson’s father went to Timnah and Samson made a feast there to celebrate the marriage. Samson put a riddle to the people in apparent entertainment at the feast. Samson was finally enticed by his new wife, who sold him out to the Philistines by nagging Samson and ultimately extracting the answer to the riddle. The woman of Timnah told the her countrymen the answer to the riddle and Samson had to slay men in order to fulfill the debt promised in return for the riddle’s answer.

Devotional Reading: Judges 14:20 AMP

20 But Samson’s wife was [given] to his companion who was his [best] friend.

The Philistines had good reason to hate Samson, seeing that he slaughtered many of them. Whilst Samson was still angry about the treason of his wife against him and the subsequent slayings, he went up to his father’s house. While Samson was away, the father of the woman of Timnah gave Samson’s wife to one of his friends.

Devotional Reading: Judges 15:1-6 AMP

1 But some days later, in the time of wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife, taking along a kid [as a token of reconciliation]; and he said, I will go unto my wife in the inner chamber. But her father would not allow him to go in. And her father said, I truly thought you utterly hated her, so I gave her to your companion. Is her younger sister not fairer than she? Take her, I pray you, instead. And Samson said of them, This time shall I be blameless as regards the Philistines, though I do them evil. So Samson went and caught 300 foxes or jackals and took torches and turning the foxes tail to tail, he put a torch between each pair of tails. And when he had set the torches ablaze, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and he burned up the shocks and the standing grain, along with the olive orchards. Then the Philistines said, Who has done this? And they were told, Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he [the Timnite] has taken his [Samson’s] wife and has given her to his companion. And the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire.

When Samson’s anger had subsided over the previous injunction, he went back to Timnah and so bearing gifts. To his dismay, his father-in-law would not allow him to sleep with his wife, saying that she had been given to his best friend. Samson was enraged and determined to exact his revenge. He did so. When the Philistines knew that Samson had burned much land by fire, and the reason being that he was cheated of taking his wife whom he had married and not treated as a harlot, the Philistines burned the Timnite woman and her father with fire. So, while Samson ravaged the Philistines concerning the conspiracy with his wife, he was still unable to receive her again to himself since the Philistines killed her for being the “cause” of the slaughter and vengeance of Samson. So Samson’s first wife died.


[1] Jewish Women’s Archive. Women in Samson’s Life: Midrash and Aggadah. Accessed April 4, 2015

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