Judges 14:8 MEANING

Judges 14:8
(8) After a time.--There is nothing to show how long this time was. A betrothal might last a year. In Judges 11:4 the same phrase ("after days ") is used of many years.

To take her.--To lead her to his own home after the bridal feast.

A swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion.--This incident has been questioned, because it is truly said that bees hate all putrescence and decomposition, and that the notion of bees being generated in the rotting bodies of oxen (which we find in Virgil, Georgic 4, &c.) is a vulgar error. But it is overlooked that the word "carcase" here means (as the Syriac renders it) "skeleton." The fierce sun of the East dries up all the animal moisture of a dead body, and reduces it to a skeleton with extreme rapidity, and bees have no dislike to dried bones as a place in which to swarm. Thus Herodotus tells us (v. 114) that when the Amathusians cut off the head of Onesilus, because he besieged them, and hung it over their gates, a swarm of bees filled the skull with their combs and honey. Rosenmller also quotes the authority of the physician Aldrovand for the story that swarms of bees built their combs between the skeletons of two sisters who were buried in the Church of Santa Croce, at Verona, in 1566. (Comp. Plin. H. N., xi. 24; Varro, R. R., 3:16.)

Verse 8. - He returned to take her. All the preliminaries being settled between the parents, he returned to Timnath to take his bride by the same road which he and his parents had travelled by before, and, remembering his feat in killing the lion, very naturally turned aside to see what had become of the carcase. And, behold, there was a swarm of bees, etc. This has been objected to as improbable, because bees are very dainty, and would not approach a putrefying body. But as a considerable time had elapsed, it is very possible that either the mere skeleton was left, or that the heat of the sun had dried up the body and reduced it to the state of a mummy without decomposition, as is said to happen often in the desert of Arabia.

14:5-9 By enabling him to kill a lion, God let Samson know what he could do in the strength of the Spirit of the Lord, that he might never be afraid to look the greatest difficulties in the face. He was alone in the vineyards, whither he had rambled. Young people consider not how they exposed themselves to the roaring lion that seeks to devour, when they wander from their prudent, pious parents. Nor do men consider what lions lurk in the vineyards, the vineyards of red wines. Our Lord Jesus having conquered Satan, that roaring lion, believers, like Samson, find honey in the carcass abundant strength and satisfaction, enough for themselves, and for all their friends.And after a time he returned to take her,.... Matters being agreed on, and settled on both sides, and the espousals made, he and his parents returned, and, at the proper usual time for the consummation of the marriage, he went again to Timnath for that purpose. It is in the Hebrew text, "after days" (c), which sometimes signifies a year, see Genesis 4:3 and so Ben Gersom interprets it, that a year after this woman became Samson's wife (i.e. betrothed to him) he returned to take her to himself to wife; and it seems, adds he, that twelve months were given her to prepare herself; and some considerable time must have elapsed, as appears from what had happened to the carcass of the lion, next related:

and he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion: just before he came to Timnath he thought of the lion he had slain some time ago, and he went a little out of the way to see what was become of it, or had happened to it. Josephus says (d), when he slew it he threw it into a woody place, perhaps among some bushes, a little out of the road; for which reason it had not been seen and removed, and was in a more convenient place for what was done in it:

and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass of the lion; and though naturalists (e) tell us that bees are averse to flesh, and will not touch any, yet in the course of time that the carcass of this lion had lain, its flesh might have been clean eaten off by the fowls of the air, or was quite dried away and consumed, so that it was nothing but a mere skeleton; a bony carcass, as the Syriac version. Josephus (f) says, the swarm was in the breast of the lion; and it is no more unlikely that a swarm of bees should settle in it, and continue and build combs, and lay up their honey there, than that the like should be done in the skull of Onesilus king of Cyprus, when hung up and dried, as Herodotus (g) relates. Besides, according to Virgil (h), this was a method made use of to produce a new breed of bees, even from the corrupt gore and putrid bowels of slain beasts; and Pythagoras (i) observes, they are produced from thence. This may be an emblem of those sweet blessings of grace, which come to the people of Christ through his having destroyed Satan the roaring lion, and all his works; particularly which came to the poor Gentiles, when the devil was cast out from them, and his empire there demolished.

(c) "a diebus", Montanus; "post dies", Vatablus. (d) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 5. c. 8. sect. 5.) (e) Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 40. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 21. (f) Ut supra, (Antiqu. l. 5. c. 8.) sect. 6. (g) Terpsichore, sive, l. 5. c. 114. (h) "----quoquo modo caesis", &c. Georgic. l. 4. ver. 284, &c. "Liguefacta boum per viscera", &c. Ib ver. 555. (i) Apud Ovid. Melamorph. l. 15. fab. 4. ver. 365, 366.

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