I will now put forth a riddle - Probably this was one part of the amusements at a marriage-feast; each in his turn proposing a riddle, to be solved by any of the rest on a particular forfeit; the proposer forfeiting, if solved, the same which the company must forfeit if they could not solve it.
Thirty sheets - I have no doubt that the Arab hayk, or hake, is here meant; a dress in which the natives of the East wrap themselves, as a Scottish Highlander does in his plaid. In Asiatic countries the dress scarcely ever changes; being nearly the same now that it was 2000 years ago. Mr. Jackson, in his account of the Empire of Morocco, thus mentions the Moorish dress: "It resembles," says he, "that of the ancient patriarchs, as represented in paintings; (but the paintings are taken from Asiatic models); that of the men consists of a red cap and turban, a (kumja ) shirt, which hangs outside of the drawers, and comes down below the knee; a (caftan ) coat, which buttons close before, and down to the bottom, with large open sleeves; over which, when they go out of doors, they throw carelessly, and sometimes elegantly, a hayk, or garment of white cotton, silk, or wool, five or six yards long, and five feet wide. The Arabs often dispense with the caftan, and even with the shirt, wearing nothing but the hayk ." When an Arab does not choose to wrap himself in the hayk, he throws it over his left shoulder, where it hangs till the weather, etc., obliges him to wrap it round him. The hayk is either mean or elegant, according to the quality of the cloth, and of the person who wears it. I have myself seen the natives of Fez, with hayks, or hykes, both elegant and costly. By the changes of garments, it is very likely that the kumja and caftan are meant, or at least the caftan; but most likely both: for the Hebrew has בגדים חליפות chaliphoth begadim, changes or succession of garments. Samson, therefore, engaged to give or receive thirty hayks, and thirty kumjas and caftans, on the issue of the interpretation or non-interpretation of his riddle: these were complete suits.
See the marginal references. Riddles formed one of the amusements of these protracted feasts.
Sheets - Rather “linen shirts;” the “garments” which follow are the outward garments worn by the Orientals.
The angel's prohibition included “every unclean thing.” The distinction between articles of food as clean and unclean was not a merely ceremonial and arbitrary regulation, but was based upon sanitary principles. To the observance of this distinction may be traced, in a great degree, the marvelous vitality which for thousands of years has distinguished the Jewish people. The principles of temperance must be carried further than the mere use of spirituous liquors. The use of stimulating and indigestible food is often equally injurious to health, and in many cases sows the seeds of drunkenness. True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful and to use judiciously that which is healthful. There are few who realize as they should how much their habits of diet have to do with their health, their character, their usefulness in this world, and their eternal destiny. The appetite should ever be in subjection to the moral and intellectual powers. The body should be servant to the mind, and not the mind to the body. PP 562.1
The divine promise to Manoah was in due time fulfilled in the birth of a son, to whom the name of Samson was given. As the boy grew up it became evident that he possessed extraordinary physical strength. This was not, however, as Samson and his parents well knew, dependent upon his well-knit sinews, but upon his condition as a Nazarite, of which his unshorn hair was a symbol. Had Samson obeyed the divine commands as faithfully as his parents had done, his would have been a nobler and happier destiny. But association with idolaters corrupted him. The town of Zorah being near the country of the Philistines, Samson came to mingle with them on friendly terms. Thus in his youth intimacies sprang up, the influence of which darkened his whole life. A young woman dwelling in the Philistine town of Timnath engaged Samson's affections, and he determined to make her his wife. To his God-fearing parents, who endeavored to dissuade him from his purpose, his only answer was, “She pleaseth me well.” The parents at last yielded to his wishes, and the marriage took place. PP 562.2Read in context »