Judges 14:15 NASB

Then it came about on the fourth day that they said to Samson's wife, "Entice your husband, so that he will tell us the riddle, or we will burn you and your father's house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us? Is this not so? "

Judges 14:15 (NKJV)

But it came to pass on the seventh a day that they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband, that he may explain the riddle to us, or else we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us in order to take what is ours? Is that not so? ”

How can the above texts be reconciled?

  • 1
    The fourth day seems more likely in context (see verses 14 and 17).
    – Lucian
    Apr 19 '18 at 21:10

There seems to be a confusion here.

They are not different biblical texts reflecting different traditions from different authors that may or may not be reconciled, but different versions of the same original biblical text and author. The MT reads the "seventh", while the Septuagint and Syriac read the "fourth". That is the reason for the difference between the KJV and the NASB; the former follows the MT while the latter follows the LXX. They obviously cannot be reconciled, and it would be futile to attempt do so. You should follow whichever text you think is generally more reliable.


They may be reconciled by posing that the 'seventh day' of verse 15 actually meant 'sabbath day', while the 'seventh day' of verses 17-18 referenced the last day of the seven-day feast of Samson. The reason then that it would be translated 'fourth day' would be to reconcile how it was that Samson's wife could have commenced inquiry of him on the last day of the seven-day feast(vss. 15-16), she having been apparently motivated to do so by her fellow countrymen, if she had inquired of him prior thereto, during that week(vs. 17 - 'while their feast lasted'). Now it's clear that she would have been in the least motivated to begin weeping after the third day, whether or not they had asked her to do so at that time, she perhaps learning of their inability to answer the riddle at that time, making thus the last day the day on which they formally asked her to entice her husband to reveal the answer, something she would have already striven to do; but, this would mean she would have been crying before they asked her to do so, which while possible, does not seem as likely, which is why I am led to say the phrase on the one hand meant 'sabbath', and on the other hand the last day of the feast, though this is by no means conclusive. Suffice to say, this latter postulation may serve as a likely cause for redaction from the Hebrew.


The answer from Bach points very well the reason for the difference: according to the old Greek version we read "forth day" and in Hebrew we read "seventh day".

I'm inclined to go with the Greek version as other English translations (NIV, NLT, ESV, BSB, BST, ...). Why? As Lucian hints in a comment to the question,

The fourth day seems more likely in context (see verses 14 and 17).

More specifically, Judges 14:17 reads

  • NASB

However she wept before him for seven days while their feast lasted. And on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard. She then told the riddle to the sons of her people.

  • KJV

And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people.

In both instances, as Benson notes, we're dealing with "the rest of the seven days", which is something that Matthew Pole agrees ("while their feast lasted").

If the correct was "seven" days, then she'd have wept for a very short period of time and he'd not be able to hold the secret for any time (telling her nearly right away)... while possible, the wording suggests more time was involved; hence my opinion.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.