So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,
“What is sweeter than honey?
What is stronger than a lion?”

And he said to them,
“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
you would not have found out my riddle.” Bible see other translations

“plowed with my heifer.” This refers to the common custom of plowing with a goad, a sharpened stick that was used in training and directing the animal pulling the plow. The goad comes up several times in Scripture (Judg. 3:31; 1 Sam. 13:21; Eccles. 12:11; Acts 26:14). The word “heifer,” referring to a young female cow, was a term used of women, like a woman might be called a “chick” today (or a “bird” in England). Cows were valuable and watched over, and the word “cow” is used of women in Amos 4:1. Thus, in essence, Samson was saying, “If you have not threatened my young woman with pain, you would not have found out my riddle.”

Commentary for: Judges 14:18