Riddle

Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

(counsel). Oriental peoples fond of riddles. Hebrew riddles embraced proverbs (Prov. 1:66To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. (Proverbs 1:6)); oracles (Num. 12:88With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? (Numbers 12:8)); songs (Psa. 49:44I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp. (Psalm 49:4)); parables (Ezek. 17:22Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel; (Ezekiel 17:2)); intricate sentences, questions, and problems (Judg. 14:12-1412And 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: 13But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it. 14And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle. (Judges 14:12‑14); 1 Kings 10:11And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions. (1 Kings 10:1); 2 Chron. 9:11And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. (2 Chronicles 9:1); Dan. 8:2323And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. (Daniel 8:23)).

Concise Bible Dictionary:

A dark or hidden saying, as that which Samson put forth respecting the carcass of the lion (Judg. 14:12-1912And 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: 13But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it. 14And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle. 15And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson's wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father's house with fire: have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so? 16And Samson's wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee? 17And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people. 18And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down, What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? And he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle. 19And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house. (Judges 14:12‑19)); and that of Ezekiel concerning the great eagle, but this is also called a “parable” (Ezek. 17:22Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel; (Ezekiel 17:2)). The word is chidah, and is also translated “dark saying, sentence, speech,” “hard question,” and once “proverb.”

From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

The Hebrews, in common with all Oriental people, were very fond of riddles, and amused themselves with them, especially at ordinary meals and feasts. Even princes sometimes competed in their solution. The queen of Sheba tested Solomon’s wisdom with them. See 1 Kings 10:11And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions. (1 Kings 10:1), where the plural of the word which is here tendered riddle is translated “hard questions.”