Moses commanded the Israelites not to marry a gentile in Deuteronomy 7:

3 Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons,

God wanted Samson to pursue a gentile woman in Judges 14:

1 Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. 2When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.”

3His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?”

But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.” 4 (His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)

Did God want Samson to violate a statute of Moses? Did Samson sin?

As suggested by חִידָה's comment: Why would YHVH cause an Israelite to violate His Torah?

  • Are you not really asking : Why would YHVH cause an Israelite to violate His Torah? Mar 24, 2021 at 13:43
  • 1
    Good point. I added to my question.
    – user35953
    Mar 24, 2021 at 13:46
  • The full context of Deuteronomy 7:1-3: "the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites .... do not intermarry with them." Marriage with the Philistines wasn't a violation of the letter, if the spirit, of the law
    – b a
    Mar 24, 2021 at 13:50
  • @b a - Philistines were not Canaanites, but just inhabited Canaan? Mar 24, 2021 at 13:58
  • 1
    Right. I corrected the typo. Thanks.
    – user35953
    Mar 24, 2021 at 17:29

2 Answers 2


Moses in Midian, unable to marry a Hebrew, married Jethro's daughter.

Moses, again, in the wilderness unable to find a suitable wife amongst the rebellious multitude, married an Ethiopian.

So Samson, at a time when Israel was slumped under Philistine rule, and was not attempting to overthrow such a rule, chose not to marry a Jew but a Philistine so he could have an occasion against the overlord's of God's people.

This is not sin, it is in alignment with whom and with what God is and is in alignment with his ultimate purposes in Israel and the coming Messiah.


The purpose of God appointing Samson as Judge of Israel is stated by the Angel before Samson's birth in Judges 13:5 -

For behold, you will conceive and give birth to a son. And no razor shall come over his head, because the boy will be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hand of the Philistines.”

The fact that Samson was not doing this and becoming too "friendly" with the Philistines meant that God had to show him the error of Samson's ways and the consequences of his actions.

Thus, Samson was allowed to arrange an illegal marriage which resulted in the death of 30 men. However, notice that Samson's marriage to the woman never occured as described in Judges 14:19, 20 -

And burning with anger, Samson returned to his father’s house, 20and his wife was given to one of the men who had accompanied him.

Thus, the Torah was not violated in this case.

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