Question:

What is the symbolism of Samson killing the lion and what was bad about Samson giving his parents the honey that the bees had made in the lion's dead carcass?


Answer:

I don't recall God stating that Samson killing the lion symbolized anything in particular. It did illustrate the strength of Samson since few men would be able to kill an attacking lion with their bare hands (Judges 14:5-6). The killing of the young lion is our first introduction to the great strength of Samson. I'm sure people have applied this event to other things, but it is always dangerous to read more into an event than God states is there.

The point about eating the honey has to do with the Nazirite laws (Numbers 6:2-21). A Nazirite was a person who has made a special vow to God. While under that vow, the Nazirite was not to:

  • Shave his head
  • Eat or drink anything from the grape plant
  • Eat anything unclean

Breaking the terms required the person to restart his vow from the beginning. Samson was placed under the Nazirite vow by God from the time he was conceived. Yet, in eating the honey from the lion's carcass, he ate something unclean because anything dead is unclean and anything that comes in contact with something dead is also unclean.

Worse, Samson pulled his parents into his sin by giving them the same honey and not telling them about its source.