And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments:
And Samson said unto them,.... His thirty companions, very likely on the first day of the feast:
I will now put forth a riddle to you: a secret, hidden, abstruse thing, not easy to be understood; a dark saying, wrapped up in figurative terms; and this he proposed as an amusement to them, to exercise their wits, which it seems was usual to entertain guests with, and might be both pleasing and profitable:
if you can certainly declare it unto me within the seven days of the feast; for so long the nuptial feast was usually kept, see
Genesis 29:27. If they could find it out; and with clearness and certainty explain the riddle to him within that period of time, which was giving them time enough to do it in:
then I will give you thirty sheets, and thirty change of garments: that is, every man one of each. By "sheets" he means, as Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it, a covering of the body in the night next to the flesh, in which a man lies, and was made of linen; meaning either what we call shirts, or bed sheet, and by change of raiment, a suit of clothes worn in the daytime.