Verses 1-3, Timnath was a frontier town on the edge of Dan’s territory and the Philistine border. It seems the Philistines and Israelites may have co-mingled there with a semblance of peace.
–The her of verse 3 is emphatic. Samson wanted that particular Philistine woman.
Verse 4, The writer inserts an explanatory note to let us know that God was working in this situation. This does not mean that God sanctioned all of Samson’s actions, but it tells us that even in Samson’s mistakes God’s purposes and designs would not be frustrated.
–God is sovereign and His ultimate will shall be accomplished. We all have the opportunity to find joy and blessing or pain and sorrow in the midst of the divine process. God is sovereign, but it matters very much to us personally if we respond to God’s sovereign will like Judas or John the apostle!
–This should also encourage those of us who do earnestly and sincerely desire God’s will in our lives. Even in our mistakes, though God does not condone them, His atonement is powerful enough to turn those mistakes into tools to further His own will. Rom. 8:28.
Verses 5-6, This incident is remarkable however you view it. Samson may not have known just how powerfully God was working in him till this moment. Hence, our private victorious or salvations should tell us something about God. See 1 Samuel 17:34-37.
Verses 7-9, Again we see the odd admixture of the noble and ignoble in this man Samson. He willingly and thoughtfully shares with his parents, but also willing decieves and ignores his Nazarite vow in touching a dead carcase.
Verses 10-15, The wedding feast begins–the word for feast in verse 10 denotes a drinking feast. Usually these were held in the home of the brides father for a week.
–The use of the riddle was a common occurrence and reveals Samson’s wit.
Verses 16-17, The way his wife presses him is the same as in 16:16. Here we see Samson’s first defeat and notable weakness reveal itself.
Verses 18-19, Samson knows he was tricked and exacts his revenge on 30 notable individuals of Ashkelon. Three thoughts:
1) It is better to be angry with the Philistines than in love with them.
2) We must not be shocked when our enemies betray us.
3) The wrongs done to us in this world should make us long for our Father’s house.
Verse 20, Seeing Samson’s anger, his father-in-law gives Samson’s near wife to the best man.