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A reader asked if we could explain what was going on with this passages from Judges 14:12-17:
"Let me tell you a riddle," Samson said to them. "If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes. If you can't tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes." "Tell us your riddle," they said. "Let's hear it." He replied, "Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet." For three days they could not give the answer. On the fourth day, they said to Samson's wife, "Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father's household to death. Did you invite us here to rob us?" Then Samson's wife threw herself on him, sobbing, "You hate me! You don't really love me. You've given my people a riddle, but you haven't told me the answer." "I haven't even explained it to my father or mother," he replied, "so why should I explain it to you?" She cried the whole seven days of the feast. So on the seventh day he finally told her, because she continued to press him. She in turn explained the riddle to her people.
The problem? How could Mrs. Samson cry "the whole seven days of the feast" if she only got Samson's refusal on the fourth day?
Some might suppose there's a copyist error involved, and although textual criticism does show that this is correct in verse 15 (the KJV's "seventh day" in v. 15 is incorrect; "fourth day" is preferred), it doesn't assist anywhere else.
What it seems to boil down to -- according to both conservative and liberal scholars -- is that the meaning "the rest of the seven days" is implied. I'd like this idea a lot better if a parallel could be produced -- but perhaps it is enough to say that such an obvious problem would not have passed scrutiny.