Enigmatic or puzzling statement, often based on the clever use of the ambiguities of language. The classic biblical example of a riddle is that posed by Samson to the Philistines. This riddle is in poetic form (judg 14:12-12), and the question, “What is it?” is implied. The Philistines’ reply is in the form of another riddle (v 18a) whose original answer was probably “love.” Samson’s retort may reflect yet another commonly known, and rather risque’ riddle (v 18b).

The Hebrew word for “riddle” also appears elsewhere in the OT. The Lord spoke with Moses directly, not in “riddles” (KJV, NASB). The Queen of Sheba tested Solomon with “hard questions” or riddles (1 Kings 10:1-13). Riddles were a form of poetic expression (Ps 49:4); a mark of wisdom was the ability to solve them (Prov 1:6). Daniel had such wisdom (Dan 5:12).

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