Samson's wife betrayed him on the last day of the wedding feast by revealing the secret of the riddle to the Philistine wedding guests. He left his wife in a rage. After he had cooled down, Judges 15:

1 Later on, at the time of the wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat and went to visit his wife. “I want to go to my wife in her room,” he said. But her father would not let him enter.

2“I was sure that you thoroughly hated her,” said her father, “so I gave her to one of the men who accompanied you. Is not her younger sister more beautiful than she? Please take her instead.”

His wife did him wrong. Now his father-in-law seemed to have done him wrong. He decided to take it out on some unrelated Philistines.

3 Samson said to them, “This time I will be blameless in doing harm to the Philistines.”

4 Then Samson went out and caught three hundred foxes. And he took torches, turned the foxes tail-to-tail, and fastened a torch between each pair of tails. 5Then he lit the torches and released the foxes into the standing grain of the Philistines, burning up the piles of grain and the standing grain, as well as the vineyards and olive groves.

This seems to be an act of terror on some random Philistines.

What was Samson's logic in verse 3?

1 Answer 1


The Hebrew word rendered "blameless" in the version quoted in the question is נִקֵּ֥יתִי, or "niq·qê·ṯî" (H5352). This word is in the Nifal form of the verb, which means it is a passive-voice verb. It can be variously translated as:

  • to be cleaned out, be purged out
  • to be clean, be free from guilt, be innocent
  • to be free, be exempt from punishment
  • to be free, be exempt from obligation

As these meanings show, Samson may not have meant "blameless" so much as "exempt from punishment." It seems he felt he had a legitimate excuse.

The KJV translates it slightly differently:

And Samson said concerning them, Now shall I be more blameless than the Philistines, though I do them a displeasure. (Judges 15:3, KJV)

Basically, Samson felt his actions were justified.

Indeed, when the lords of the Philistines made investigation afterward, they seemed to agree with Samson that he had been wronged.

Then the Philistines said, Who hath done this? And they answered, Samson, the son in law of the Timnite, because he had taken his wife, and given her to his companion. And the Philistines came up, and burnt her and her father with fire. (Judges 15:6, KJV)

So the Philistines punished those who had offended Samson. It is worthy of note that they did not, instead, call for war against Samson, nor seek vengeance against him at this time.

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