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Samson as Judge

Judges 13:1-16:31
Judges 13:1-16:31
Judges 13:1-16:31
Judges 13:1-16:31

Judges 13-16

13:1 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.

There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” Then the woman came and told her husband, “A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name, but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”

Then Manoah prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.” And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field. But Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.” 11 And Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the man and said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to this woman?” And he said, “I am.” 12 And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the child's manner of life, and what is his mission?” 13 And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. 14 She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe.”

15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain you and prepare a young goat for you.” 16 And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “If you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord.” (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord.) 17 And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?” 18 And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” 19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. 20 And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.

21 The angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. 22 And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” 23 But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.” 24 And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

14:1 Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. Then he came up and told his father and mother, “I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. Now get her for me as my wife.” But his father and mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.”

His father and mother did not know that it was from the Lord, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel.

Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah, and they came to the vineyards of Timnah. And behold, a young lion came toward him roaring. Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. Then he went down and talked with the woman, and she was right in Samson's eyes.

After some days he returned to take her. And he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion, and behold, there was a swarm of bees in the body of the lion, and honey. He scraped it out into his hands and went on, eating as he went. And he came to his father and mother and gave some to them, and they ate. But he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey from the carcass of the lion.

10 His father went down to the woman, and Samson prepared a feast there, for so the young men used to do. 11 As soon as the people saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him. 12 And Samson said to them, “Let me now put a riddle to you. If you can tell me what it is, within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes, 13 but if you cannot tell me what it is, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Put your riddle, that we may hear it.” 14 And he said to them,

“Out of the eater came something to eat.
Out of the strong came something sweet.”

And in three days they could not solve the riddle.

15 On the fourth day they said to Samson's wife, “Entice your husband to tell us what the riddle is, lest we burn you and your father's house with fire. Have you invited us here to impoverish us?” 16 And Samson's wife wept over him and said, “You only hate me; you do not love me. You have put a riddle to my people, and you have not told me what it is.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told my father nor my mother, and shall I tell you?” 17 She wept before him the seven days that their feast lasted, and on the seventh day he told her, because she pressed him hard. Then she told the riddle to her people. 18 And 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.”

19 And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and struck down thirty men of the town and took their spoil and gave the garments to those who had told the riddle. In hot anger he went back to his father's house. 20 And Samson's wife was given to his companion, who had been his best man.

15:1 After some days, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife with a young goat. And he said, “I will go in to my wife in the chamber.” But her father would not allow him to go in. And her father said, “I really thought that you utterly hated her, so I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister more beautiful than she? Please take her instead.” And Samson said to them, “This time I shall be innocent in regard to the Philistines, when I do them harm.” So Samson went and caught 300 foxes and took torches. And he turned them tail to tail and put a torch between each pair of tails. And when he had set fire to the torches, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines and set fire to the stacked grain and the standing grain, as well as the olive orchards. Then the Philistines said, “Who has done this?” And they said, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife and given her to his companion.” And the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire. And Samson said to them, “If this is what you do, I swear I will be avenged on you, and after that I will quit.” And he struck them hip and thigh with a great blow, and he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam.

Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah and made a raid on Lehi. 10 And the men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” They said, “We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him as he did to us.” 11 Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?” And he said to them, “As they did to me, so have I done to them.” 12 And they said to him, “We have come down to bind you, that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines.” And Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not attack me yourselves.” 13 They said to him, “No; we will only bind you and give you into their hands. We will surely not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock.

14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. 15 And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men. 16 And Samson said,

“With the jawbone of a donkey,
heaps upon heaps,
with the jawbone of a donkey
have I struck down a thousand men.”

17 As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone out of his hand. And that place was called Ramath-lehi.

18 And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the Lord and said, “You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 And God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came out from it. And when he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore the name of it was called En-hakkore; it is at Lehi to this day. 20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

16:1 Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her. The Gazites were told, “Samson has come here.” And they surrounded the place and set an ambush for him all night at the gate of the city. They kept quiet all night, saying, “Let us wait till the light of the morning; then we will kill him.” But Samson lay till midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts, and pulled them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron.

After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you.”

Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she bound him with them. Now she had men lying in ambush in an inner chamber. And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he snapped the bowstrings, as a thread of flax snaps when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known.

10 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Behold, you have mocked me and told me lies. Please tell me how you might be bound.” 11 And he said to her, “If they bind me with new ropes that have not been used, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 12 So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And the men lying in ambush were in an inner chamber. But he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread.

13 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you might be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and fasten it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 14 So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his head and wove them into the web. And she made them tight with the pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled away the pin, the loom, and the web.

15 And she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies.” 16 And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death. 17 And he told her all his heart, and said to her, “A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.”

18 When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up again, for he has told me all his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. 19 She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. 20 And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him. 21 And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison. 22 But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.

23 Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.” 24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god. For they said, “Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us.” 25 And when their hearts were merry, they said, “Call Samson, that he may entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. They made him stand between the pillars. 26 And Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the house was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about 3,000 men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained.

28 Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. 30 And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life. 31 Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had judged Israel twenty years.

Samson Is Born

1 Once again the Israelites started disobeying the Lord. So he let the Philistines take control of Israel for 40 years.

2 Manoah from the tribe of Dan lived in the town of Zorah. His wife was not able to have children, 3-5 but one day an angel from the Lord appeared to her and said:

You have never been able to have any children, but very soon you will be pregnant and have a son. He will belong to God from the day he is born, so his hair must never be cut. And even before he is born, you must not drink any wine or beer or eat any food forbidden by God's laws.

Your son will begin to set Israel free from the Philistines.

6 She went to Manoah and said, “A prophet who looked like an angel of God came and talked to me. I was so frightened, that I didn't even ask where he was from. He didn't tell me his name, 7 but he did say that I'm going to have a baby boy. I'm not supposed to drink any wine or beer or eat any food forbidden by God's laws. Our son will belong to God for as long as he lives.”

8 Then Manoah prayed, “Our Lord, please send that prophet again and let him tell us what to do for the son we are going to have.”

9 God answered Manoah's prayer, and the angel went back to Manoah's wife while she was resting in the fields. Manoah wasn't there at the time, 10 so she found him and said, “That same man is here again! He's the one I saw the other day.”

11 Manoah went with his wife and asked the man, “Are you the one who spoke to my wife?”

“Yes, I am,” he answered.

12 Manoah then asked, “When your promise comes true, what rules must he obey and what will be his work?”

13 “Your wife must be careful to do everything I told her,” the Lord's angel answered. 14 “She must not eat or drink anything made from grapes. She must not drink wine or beer or eat anything forbidden by God's laws. I told her exactly what to do.”

15 “Please,” Manoah said, “stay here with us for just a little while, and we'll fix a young goat for you to eat.” 16 Manoah didn't realize that he was really talking to one of the Lord's angels.

The angel answered, “I can stay for a little while, although I won't eat any of your food. But if you would like to offer the goat as a sacrifice to the Lord, that would be fine.”

17 Manoah said, “Tell us your name, so we can honor you after our son is born.”

18 “No,” the angel replied. “You don't need to know my name. And if you did, you couldn't understand it.”

19 So Manoah took a young goat over to a large rock he had chosen for an altar, and he built a fire on the rock. Then he killed the goat, and offered it with some grain as a sacrifice to the Lord. But then an amazing thing happened. 20 The fire blazed up toward the sky, and the Lord's angel went up toward heaven in the fire. Manoah and his wife bowed down low when they saw what happened.

21 Although the angel didn't appear to them again, they realized he was one of the Lord's angels. 22 Manoah said, “We have seen an angel. Now we're going to die.”

23 “The Lord isn't going to kill us,” Manoah's wife responded. “The Lord accepted our sacrifice and grain offering, and he let us see something amazing. Besides, he told us that we're going to have a son.”

24 Later, Manoah's wife did give birth to a son, and she named him Samson. As the boy grew, the Lord blessed him. 25 Then, while Samson was staying at Dan's Camp between the towns of Zorah and Eshtaol, the Spirit of the Lord took control of him.

Samson Gets Married

1 One day, Samson went to Timnah, where he saw a Philistine woman. 2 When he got back home, he told his parents, “I saw a Philistine woman in Timnah, and I want to marry her. Get her for me!”

3 His parents answered, “There are a lot of women in our clan and even more in the rest of Israel. Those Philistines are pagans. Why would you want to marry one of their women?”

“She looks good to me,” Samson answered. “Get her for me!”

4 At that time, the Philistines were in control of Israel, and the Lord wanted to stir up trouble for them. That's why he made Samson desire that woman.

5 As Samson and his parents reached the vineyards near Timnah, a fierce young lion suddenly roared and attacked Samson. 6 But the Lord's Spirit took control of Samson, and with his bare hands he tore the lion apart, as though it had been a young goat. His parents didn't know what he had done, and he didn't tell them.

7 When they got to Timnah, Samson talked to the woman, and he was sure that she was the one for him.

8 Later, Samson returned to Timnah for the wedding. And when he came near the place where the lion had attacked, he left the road to see what was left of the lion. He was surprised to see that bees were living in the lion's skeleton, and that they had made some honey. 9 He scooped up the honey in his hands and ate some of it as he walked along. When he got back to his parents, he gave them some of the honey, and they ate it too. But he didn't tell them he had found the honey in the skeleton of a lion.

10 While Samson's father went to make the final arrangements with the bride and her family, Samson threw a big party, as grooms usually did. 11 When the Philistines saw what Samson was like, they told 30 of their young men to stay with him at the party.

12 Samson told the 30 young men, “This party will last for seven days. Let's make a bet: I'll tell you a riddle, and if you can tell me the answer before the party is over, I'll give each of you a shirt and a full change of clothing. 13 But if you can't tell me the answer, then each of you will have to give me a shirt and a full change of clothing.”

“It's a bet!” the Philistines said. “Tell us the riddle.”

14 Samson said:

Once so strong and mighty—

now so sweet and tasty!

Three days went by, and the Philistine young men had not come up with the right answer. 15 Finally, on the seventh day of the party they went to Samson's bride and said, “You had better trick your husband into telling you the answer to his riddle. Have you invited us here just to rob us? If you don't find out the answer, we will burn you and your family to death.”

16 Samson's bride went to him and started crying in his arms. “You must really hate me,” she sobbed. “If you loved me at all, you would have told me the answer to your riddle.”

“But I haven't even told my parents the answer!” Samson replied. “Why should I tell you?”

17 For the entire seven days of the party, she had been whining and trying to get the answer from him. But that seventh day she put so much pressure on Samson that he finally gave in and told her the answer. She went straight to the young men and told them.

18 Before sunset that day, the men of the town went to Samson with this answer:

A lion is the strongest—

honey is the sweetest!

Samson replied,

This answer you have given me

doubtless came

from my bride-to-be.

19 Then the Lord's Spirit took control of Samson. He went to Ashkelon, where he killed 30 men and took their clothing. Samson then gave it to the 30 young men at Timnah and stormed back home to his own family.

20 The father of the bride made Samson's wife marry one of the 30 young men that had been at Samson's party.

1 Later, during the wheat harvest, Samson went to visit the young woman he thought was still his wife. He brought along a young goat as a gift and said to her father, “I want to go into my wife's bedroom.”

“You can't do that,” he replied. 2 “When you left the way you did, I thought you were divorcing her. So I arranged for her to marry one of the young men who were at your party. But my younger daughter is even prettier, and you can have her as your wife.”

3 “This time,” Samson answered, “I have a good reason for really hurting some Philistines.”

Samson Takes Revenge

4 Samson went out and caught 300 foxes and tied them together in pairs with oil-soaked rags around their tails. 5 Then Samson took the foxes into the Philistine wheat fields that were ready to be harvested. He set the rags on fire and let the foxes go. The wheat fields went up in flames, and so did the stacks of wheat that had already been cut. Even the Philistine vineyards and olive orchards burned.

6 Some of the Philistines started asking around, “Who could have done such a thing?”

“It was Samson,” someone told them. “He married the daughter of that man in Timnah, but then the man gave Samson's wife to one of the men at the wedding.”

The Philistine leaders went to Timnah and burned to death Samson's wife and her father.

7 When Samson found out what they had done, he went to them and said, “You killed them! And I won't rest until I get even with you.” 8 Then Samson started hacking them to pieces with his sword.

Samson left Philistia and went to live in the cave at Etam Rock. 9 But it wasn't long before the Philistines invaded Judah and set up a huge army camp at Jawbone.

10 The people of Judah asked, “Why have you invaded our land?”

The Philistines answered, “We've come to get Samson. We're going to do the same things to him that he did to our people.”

11 Three thousand men from Judah went to the cave at Etam Rock and said to Samson, “Don't you know that the Philistines rule us, and they will punish us for what you did?”

“I was only getting even with them,” Samson replied. “They did the same things to me first.”

12 “We came here to tie you up and turn you over to them,” said the men of Judah.

“I won't put up a fight,” Samson answered, “but you have to promise not to hurt me yourselves.”

13-14 “We promise,” the men said. “We will only tie you up and turn you over to the Philistines. We won't kill you.” Then they tied up his hands and arms with two brand-new ropes and led him away from Etam Rock.

When the Philistines saw that Samson was being brought to their camp at Jawbone, they started shouting and ran toward him. But the Lord's Spirit took control of Samson, and Samson broke the ropes, as though they were pieces of burnt cloth. 15 Samson glanced around and spotted the jawbone of a donkey. The jawbone had not yet dried out, so it was still hard and heavy. Samson grabbed it and started hitting Philistines—he killed 1,000 of them! 16 After the fighting was over, he made up this poem about what he had done to the Philistines:

I used a donkey's jawbone

to kill a thousand men;

I beat them with this jawbone

over and over again.

17 Samson tossed the jawbone on the ground and decided to call the place Jawbone Hill. It is still called that today.

18 Samson was so thirsty that he prayed, “Our Lord, you helped me win a battle against a whole army. Please don't let me die of thirst now. Those heathen Philistines will carry off my dead body.”

19 Samson was tired and weary, but God sent water gushing from a rock. Samson drank some and felt strong again.

Samson named the place Caller Spring, because he had called out to God for help. The spring is still there at Jawbone.

20 Samson was a leader of Israel for 20 years, but the Philistines were still the rulers of Israel.

Samson Carries Off the Gates of Gaza

1 One day while Samson was in Gaza, he saw a prostitute and went to her house to spend the night. 2 The people who lived in Gaza found out he was there, and they decided to kill him at sunrise. So they went to the city gate and waited all night in the guardrooms on each side of the gate.

3 But Samson got up in the middle of the night and went to the town gate. He pulled the gate doors and doorposts out of the wall and put them on his shoulders. Then he carried them all the way to the top of the hill that overlooks Hebron, where he set the doors down, still closed and locked.

Delilah Tricks Samson

4 Some time later, Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in Sorek Valley. 5 The Philistine rulers went to Delilah and said, “Trick Samson into telling you what makes him so strong and what can make him weak. Then we can tie him up so he can't get away. If you find out his secret, we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.”

6 The next time Samson was at Delilah's house, she asked, “Samson, what makes you so strong? How can I tie you up so you can't get away? Come on, you can tell me.”

7 Samson answered, “If someone ties me up with seven new bowstrings that have never been dried, it will make me just as weak as anyone else.”

8-9 The Philistine rulers gave seven new bowstrings to Delilah. They also told some of their soldiers to go to Delilah's house and hide in the room where Samson and Delilah were. If the bowstrings made Samson weak, they would be able to capture him.

Delilah tied up Samson with the bowstrings and shouted, “Samson, the Philistines are attacking!”

Samson snapped the bowstrings, as though they were pieces of scorched string. The Philistines had not found out why Samson was so strong.

10 “You lied and made me look like a fool,” Delilah said. “Now tell me. How can I really tie you up?”

11 Samson answered, “Use some new ropes. If I'm tied up with ropes that have never been used, I'll be just as weak as anyone else.”

12 Delilah got new ropes, and again some Philistines hid in the room. Then she tied up Samson's arms and shouted, “Samson, the Philistines are attacking!”

Samson snapped the ropes as if they were threads.

13 “You're still lying and making a fool of me,” Delilah said. “Tell me how I can tie you up!”

“My hair is in seven braids,” Samson replied. “If you weave my braids into the threads on a loom and nail the loom to a wall, then I will be as weak as anyone else.”

14 While Samson was asleep, Delilah wove his braids into the threads on a loom and nailed the loom to a wall. Then she shouted, “Samson, the Philistines are attacking!”

Samson woke up and pulled the loom free from its posts in the ground and from the nails in the wall. Then he pulled his hair free from the woven cloth.

15 “Samson,” Delilah said, “you claim to love me, but you don't mean it! You've made me look like a fool three times now, and you still haven't told me why you are so strong.” 16 Delilah started nagging and pestering him day after day, until he couldn't stand it any longer.

17 Finally, Samson told her the truth. “I have belonged to God ever since I was born, so my hair has never been cut. If it were ever cut off, my strength would leave me, and I would be as weak as anyone else.”

18 Delilah realized that he was telling the truth. So she sent someone to tell the Philistine rulers, “Come to my house one more time. Samson has finally told me the truth.”

The Philistine rulers went to Delilah's house, and they brought along the silver they had promised her. 19 Delilah had lulled Samson to sleep with his head resting in her lap. She signaled to one of the Philistine men as she began cutting off Samson's seven braids. And by the time she was finished, Samson's strength was gone. Delilah tied him up 20 and shouted, “Samson, the Philistines are attacking!”

Samson woke up and thought, “I'll break loose and escape, just as I always do.” He did not realize that the Lord had stopped helping him.

21 The Philistines grabbed Samson and poked out his eyes. They took him to the prison in Gaza and chained him up. Then they put him to work, turning a millstone to grind grain. 22 But they didn't cut his hair any more, so it started growing back.

23 The Philistine rulers threw a big party and sacrificed a lot of animals to their god Dagon. The rulers said:

Samson was our enemy,

but our god Dagon

helped us capture him!

24-25 Everyone there was having a good time, and they shouted, “Bring out Samson—he's still good for a few more laughs!”

The rulers had Samson brought from the prison, and when the people saw him, this is how they praised their god:

Samson ruined our crops

and killed our people.

He was our enemy,

but our god helped us

capture him.

They made fun of Samson for a while, then they told him to stand near the columns that supported the roof. 26 A young man was leading Samson by the hand, and Samson said to him, “I need to lean against something. Take me over to the columns that hold up the roof.”

27 The Philistine rulers were celebrating in a temple packed with people and with 3,000 more on the flat roof. They had all been watching Samson and making fun of him.

28 Samson prayed, “Please remember me, Lord God. The Philistines poked out my eyes, but make me strong one last time, so I can take revenge for at least one of my eyes!”

29 Samson was standing between the two middle columns that held up the roof. He felt around and found one column with his right hand, and the other with his left hand. 30 Then he shouted, “Let me die with the Philistines!” He pushed against the columns as hard as he could, and the temple collapsed with the Philistine rulers and everyone else still inside. Samson killed more Philistines when he died than he had killed during his entire life.

31 His brothers and the rest of his family went to Gaza and took his body back home. They buried him in his father's tomb, which was located between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Samson was a leader of Israel for 20 years.

The Birth of Samson

1 The Israelites sinned against the Lord again, and he let the Philistines rule them for forty years.

2 At that time there was a man named Manoah from the town of Zorah. He was a member of the tribe of Dan. His wife had never been able to have children. 3 The Lord's angel appeared to her and said, “You have never been able to have children, but you will soon be pregnant and have a son. 4 Be sure not to drink any wine or beer, or eat any forbidden food; 5 and after your son is born, you must never cut his hair, because from the day of his birth he will be dedicated to God as a nazirite. He will begin the work of rescuing Israel from the Philistines.”

6 Then the woman went and told her husband, “A man of God has come to me, and he looked as frightening as the angel of God. I didn't ask him where he came from, and he didn't tell me his name. 7 But he did tell me that I would become pregnant and have a son. He told me not to drink any wine or beer, or eat any forbidden food, because the boy is to be dedicated to God as a nazirite as long as he lives.”

8 Then Manoah prayed to the Lord, “Please, Lord, let the man of God that you sent come back to us and tell us what we must do with the boy when he is born.”

9 God did what Manoah asked, and his angel came back to the woman while she was sitting in the field. Her husband Manoah was not with her, 10 so she ran at once and told him, “Look! The man who came to me the other day has appeared to me again.”

11 Manoah got up and followed his wife. He went to the man and asked, “Are you the man who talked to my wife?”

“Yes,” he answered.

12 Then Manoah said, “Now then, when your words come true, what must the boy do? What kind of a life must he lead?”

13 The Lord's angel answered, “Your wife must be sure to do everything that I have told her. 14 She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine; she must not drink any wine or beer, or eat any forbidden food. She must do everything that I have told her.”

15-16 Not knowing that it was the Lord's angel, Manoah said to him, “Please do not go yet. Let us cook a young goat for you.”

But the angel said, “If I do stay, I will not eat your food. But if you want to prepare it, burn it as an offering to the Lord.”

17 Manoah replied, “Tell us your name, so that we can honor you when your words come true.”

18 The angel asked, “Why do you want to know my name? It is a name of wonder.”

19 So Manoah took a young goat and some grain, and offered them on the rock altar to the Lord who works wonders. 20-21 While the flames were going up from the altar, Manoah and his wife saw the Lord's angel go up toward heaven in the flames. Manoah realized then that the man had been the Lord's angel, and he and his wife threw themselves face downward on the ground. They never saw the angel again.

22 Manoah said to his wife, “We are sure to die, because we have seen God!”

23 But his wife answered, “If the Lord had wanted to kill us, he would not have accepted our offerings; he would not have shown us all this or told us such things at this time.”

24 The woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson. The child grew and the Lord blessed him. 25 And the Lord's power began to strengthen him while he was between Zorah and Eshtaol in the Camp of Dan.

Samson and the Woman from Timnah

1 One day Samson went down to Timnah, where he noticed a certain young Philistine woman. 2 He went back home and told his father and mother, “There is a Philistine woman down at Timnah who caught my attention. Get her for me; I want to marry her.”

3 But his father and mother asked him, “Why do you have to go to those heathen Philistines to get a wife? Can't you find someone in our own clan, among all our people?”

But Samson told his father, “She is the one I want you to get for me. I like her.”

4 His parents did not know that it was the Lord who was leading Samson to do this, for the Lord was looking for a chance to fight the Philistines. At this time the Philistines were ruling Israel.

5 So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother. As they were going through the vineyards there, he heard a young lion roaring. 6 Suddenly the power of the Lord made Samson strong, and he tore the lion apart with his bare hands, as if it were a young goat. But he did not tell his parents what he had done.

7 Then he went and talked to the young woman, and he liked her. 8 A few days later Samson went back to marry her. On the way he left the road to look at the lion he had killed, and he was surprised to find a swarm of bees and some honey inside the dead body. 9 He scraped the honey out into his hands and ate it as he walked along. Then he went to his father and mother and gave them some. They ate it, but Samson did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the dead body of a lion.

10 His father went to the woman's house, and Samson gave a banquet there. This was a custom among the young men. 11 When the Philistines saw him, they sent thirty young men to stay with him. 12-13 Samson said to them, “Let me tell you a riddle. I'll bet each one of you a piece of fine linen and a change of fine clothes that you can't tell me its meaning before the seven days of the wedding feast are over.”

“Tell us your riddle,” they said. “Let's hear it.”

14 He said,

“Out of the eater came something to eat;

Out of the strong came something sweet.”

Three days later they had still not figured out what the riddle meant.

15 On the fourth day they said to Samson's wife, “Trick your husband into telling us what the riddle means. If you don't, we'll set fire to your father's house and burn you with it. You two invited us so that you could rob us, didn't you?”

16 So Samson's wife went to him in tears and said, “You don't love me! You just hate me! You told my friends a riddle and didn't tell me what it means!”

He said, “Look, I haven't even told my father and mother. Why should I tell you?” 17 She cried about it for the whole seven days of the feast. But on the seventh day he told her what the riddle meant, for she nagged him so about it. Then she told the Philistines. 18 So on the seventh day, before Samson went into the bedroom, the men of the city said to him,

“What could be sweeter than honey?

What could be stronger than a lion?”

Samson replied,

“If you hadn't been plowing with my cow,

You wouldn't know the answer now.”

19 Suddenly the power of the Lord made him strong, and he went down to Ashkelon, where he killed thirty men, stripped them, and gave their fine clothes to the men who had solved the riddle. After that, he went back home, furious about what had happened, 20 and his wife was given to the man that had been his best man at the wedding.

1 Some time later Samson went to visit his wife during the wheat harvest and took her a young goat. He told her father, “I want to go to my wife's room.”

But he wouldn't let him go in. 2 He told Samson, “I really thought that you hated her, so I gave her to your friend. But her younger sister is prettier, anyway. You can have her, instead.”

3 Samson said, “This time I'm not going to be responsible for what I do to the Philistines!” 4 So he went and caught three hundred foxes. Two at a time, he tied their tails together and put torches in the knots. 5 Then he set fire to the torches and turned the foxes loose in the Philistine wheat fields. In this way he burned up not only the wheat that had been harvested but also the wheat that was still in the fields. The olive orchards were also burned. 6 When the Philistines asked who had done this, they learned that Samson had done it because his father-in-law, a man from Timnah, had given Samson's wife to a friend of Samson's. So the Philistines went and burned the woman to death and burned down her father's house.

7 Samson told them, “So this is how you act! I swear that I won't stop until I pay you back!” 8 He attacked them fiercely and killed many of them. Then he went and stayed in the cave in the cliff at Etam.

Samson Defeats the Philistines

9 The Philistines came and camped in Judah, and attacked the town of Lehi. 10 The men of Judah asked them, “Why are you attacking us?”

They answered, “We came to take Samson prisoner and to treat him as he treated us.” 11 So these three thousand men of Judah went to the cave in the cliff at Etam and said to Samson, “Don't you know that the Philistines are our rulers? What have you done to us?”

He answered, “I did to them just what they did to me.”

12 They told him, “We have come here to tie you up, so we can hand you over to them.”

Samson said, “Give me your word that you won't kill me yourselves.”

13 “All right,” they said, “we are only going to tie you up and hand you over to them. We won't kill you.” So they tied him up with two new ropes and brought him back from the cliff.

14 When he got to Lehi, the Philistines came running toward him, shouting at him. Suddenly the power of the Lord made him strong, and he broke the ropes around his arms and hands as if they were burnt thread. 15 Then he found a jawbone of a donkey that had recently died. He reached down and picked it up, and killed a thousand men with it. 16 So Samson sang,

“With the jawbone of a donkey I killed a thousand men;

With the jawbone of a donkey I piled them up in piles.”

17 After that, he threw the jawbone away. The place where this happened was named Ramath Lehi.

18 Then Samson became very thirsty, so he called to the Lord and said, “You gave me this great victory; am I now going to die of thirst and be captured by these heathen Philistines?” 19 Then God opened a hollow place in the ground there at Lehi, and water came out of it. Samson drank it and began to feel much better. So the spring was named Hakkore; it is still there at Lehi.

20 Samson led Israel for twenty years while the Philistines ruled the land.

Samson at Gaza

1 One day Samson went to the Philistine city of Gaza, where he met a prostitute and went to bed with her. 2 The people of Gaza found out that Samson was there, so they surrounded the place and waited for him all night long at the city gate. They were quiet all night, thinking to themselves, “We'll wait until daybreak, and then we'll kill him.” 3 But Samson stayed in bed only until midnight. Then he got up and took hold of the city gate and pulled it up—doors, posts, lock, and all. He put them on his shoulders and carried them far off to the top of the hill overlooking Hebron.

Samson and Delilah

4 After this, Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in Sorek Valley. 5 The five Philistine kings went to her and said, “Trick Samson into telling you why he is so strong and how we can overpower him, tie him up, and make him helpless. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.”

6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me what makes you so strong. If someone wanted to tie you up and make you helpless, how could he do it?”

7 Samson answered, “If they tie me up with seven new bowstrings that are not dried out, I'll be as weak as anybody else.”

8 So the Philistine kings brought Delilah seven new bowstrings that were not dried out, and she tied Samson up. 9 She had some men waiting in another room, so she shouted, “Samson! The Philistines are coming!” But he snapped the bowstrings just as thread breaks when fire touches it. So they still did not know the secret of his strength.

10 Delilah told Samson, “Look, you've been making a fool of me and not telling me the truth. Please tell me how someone could tie you up.”

11 He told her, “If they tie me with new ropes that have never been used, I'll be as weak as anybody else.”

12 So Delilah got some new ropes and tied him up. Then she shouted, “Samson! The Philistines are coming!” The men were waiting in another room. But he snapped the ropes off his arms like thread.

13 Delilah said to Samson, “You're still making a fool of me and not telling me the truth. Tell me how someone could tie you up.”

He told her, “If you weave my seven locks of hair into a loom, and make it tight with a peg, I'll be as weak as anybody else.”

14 Delilah then lulled him to sleep, took his seven locks of hair, and wove them into the loom. She made it tight with a peg and shouted, “Samson! The Philistines are coming!” But he woke up and pulled his hair loose from the loom.

15 So she said to him, “How can you say you love me, when you don't mean it? You've made a fool of me three times, and you still haven't told me what makes you so strong.” 16 She kept on asking him, day after day. He got so sick and tired of her bothering him about it 17 that he finally told her the truth. “My hair has never been cut,” he said. “I have been dedicated to God as a nazirite from the time I was born. If my hair were cut, I would lose my strength and be as weak as anybody else.”

18 When Delilah realized that he had told her the truth, she sent a message to the Philistine kings and said, “Come back one more time. He has told me the truth.” Then they came and brought the money with them. 19 Delilah lulled Samson to sleep in her lap and then called a man, who cut off Samson's seven locks of hair. Then she began to torment him, for he had lost his strength. 20 Then she shouted, “Samson! The Philistines are coming!” He woke up and thought, “I'll get loose and go free, as always.” He did not know that the Lord had left him. 21 The Philistines captured him and put his eyes out. They took him to Gaza, chained him with bronze chains, and put him to work grinding at the mill in the prison. 22 But his hair started growing back.

The Death of Samson

23 The Philistine kings met together to celebrate and offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon. They sang, “Our god has given us victory over our enemy Samson!” 24-25 They were enjoying themselves, and so they said, “Call Samson, and let's make him entertain us!” When they brought Samson out of the prison, they made him entertain them and made him stand between the columns. When the people saw him, they sang praise to their god: “Our god has given us victory over our enemy, who devastated our land and killed so many of us!” 26 Samson said to the boy who was leading him by the hand, “Let me touch the columns that hold up the building. I want to lean on them.” 27 The building was crowded with men and women. All five Philistine kings were there, and there were about three thousand men and women on the roof, watching Samson entertain them.

28 Then Samson prayed, “Sovereign Lord, please remember me; please, God, give me my strength just this one time more, so that with this one blow I can get even with the Philistines for putting out my two eyes.” 29 So Samson took hold of the two middle columns holding up the building. Putting one hand on each column, he pushed against them 30 and shouted, “Let me die with the Philistines!” He pushed with all his might, and the building fell down on the five kings and everyone else. Samson killed more people at his death than he had killed during his life.

31 His brothers and the rest of his family came down to get his body. They took him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. He had been Israel's leader for twenty years.

Samson’s Birth

13:1 The Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord handed them over to the Philistines for forty years.

2 There was a man named Manoah from Zorah, from the Danite tribe. His wife was infertile and childless. 3 The Lord’s angelic messenger appeared to the woman and said to her, “You are infertile and childless, but you will conceive and have a son. 4 Now be careful! Do not drink wine or beer, and do not eat any food that will make you ritually unclean. 5 Look, you will conceive and have a son. You must never cut his hair, for the child will be dedicated to God from birth. He will begin to deliver Israel from the power of the Philistines.”

6 The woman went and said to her husband, “A man sent from God came to me! He looked like God’s angelic messenger – he was very awesome. I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name. 7 He said to me, ‘Look, you will conceive and have a son. So now, do not drink wine or beer and do not eat any food that will make you ritually unclean. For the child will be dedicated to God from birth till the day he dies.’”

8 Manoah prayed to the Lord, “Please, Lord, allow the man sent from God to visit us again, so he can teach us how we should raise the child who will be born.” 9 God answered Manoah’s prayer. God’s angelic messenger visited the woman again while she was sitting in the field. But her husband Manoah was not with her. 10 The woman ran at once and told her husband, “Come quickly, the man who visited me the other day has appeared to me!” 11 So Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he met the man, he said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to my wife?” He said, “Yes.” 12 Manoah said, “Now, when your announcement comes true, how should the child be raised and what should he do?” 13 The Lord’s messenger told Manoah, “Your wife should pay attention to everything I told her. 14 She should not drink anything that the grapevine produces. She must not drink wine or beer, and she must not eat any food that will make her ritually unclean. She should obey everything I commanded her to do.” 15 Manoah said to the Lord’s messenger, “Please stay here awhile, so we can prepare a young goat for you to eat.” 16 The Lord’s messenger said to Manoah, “If I stay, I will not eat your food. But if you want to make a burnt sacrifice to the Lord, you should offer it.” (He said this because Manoah did not know that he was the Lord’s messenger.) 17 Manoah said to the Lord’s messenger, “Tell us your name, so we can honor you when your announcement comes true.” 18 The Lord’s messenger said to him, “You should not ask me my name, because you cannot comprehend it.” 19 Manoah took a young goat and a grain offering and offered them on a rock to the Lord. The Lord’s messenger did an amazing thing as Manoah and his wife watched. 20 As the flame went up from the altar toward the sky, the Lord’s messenger went up in it while Manoah and his wife watched. They fell facedown to the ground.

21 The Lord’s messenger did not appear again to Manoah and his wife. After all this happened Manoah realized that the visitor had been the Lord’s messenger. 22 Manoah said to his wife, “We will certainly die, because we have seen a supernatural being!” 23 But his wife said to him, “If the Lord wanted to kill us, he would not have accepted the burnt offering and the grain offering from us. He would not have shown us all these things, or have spoken to us like this just now.”

24 Manoah’s wife gave birth to a son and named him Samson. The child grew and the Lord empowered him. 25 The Lord’s spirit began to control him in Mahaneh Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Samson’s Unconsummated Marriage

14:1 Samson went down to Timnah, where a Philistine girl caught his eye. 2 When he got home, he told his father and mother, “A Philistine girl in Timnah has caught my eye. Now get her for my wife.” 3 But his father and mother said to him, “Certainly you can find a wife among your relatives or among all our people! You should not have to go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines.” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, because she is the right one for me.” 4 Now his father and mother did not realize this was the Lord’s doing, because he was looking for an opportunity to stir up trouble with the Philistines (for at that time the Philistines were ruling Israel).

5 Samson went down to Timnah. When he approached the vineyards of Timnah, he saw a roaring young lion attacking him. 6 The Lord’s spirit empowered him and he tore the lion in two with his bare hands as easily as one would tear a young goat. But he did not tell his father or mother what he had done.

7 Samson continued on down to Timnah and spoke to the girl. In his opinion, she was just the right one. 8 Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to see the lion’s remains. He saw a swarm of bees in the lion’s carcass, as well as some honey. 9 He scooped it up with his hands and ate it as he walked along. When he returned to his father and mother, he offered them some and they ate it. But he did not tell them he had scooped the honey out of the lion’s carcass.

10 Then Samson’s father accompanied him to Timnah for the marriage. Samson hosted a party there, for this was customary for bridegrooms to do. 11 When the Philistines saw he had no attendants, they gave him thirty groomsmen who kept him company. 12 Samson said to them, “I will give you a riddle. If you really can solve it during the seven days the party lasts, I will give you thirty linen robes and thirty sets of clothes. 13 But if you cannot solve it, you will give me thirty linen robes and thirty sets of clothes.” They said to him, “Let us hear your riddle.” 14 He said to them,

“Out of the one who eats came something to eat;

out of the strong one came something sweet.”

They could not solve the riddle for three days.

15 On the fourth day they said to Samson’s bride, “Trick your husband into giving the solution to the riddle. If you refuse, we will burn up you and your father’s family. Did you invite us here to make us poor?” 16 So Samson’s bride cried on his shoulder and said, “You must hate me; you do not love me! You told the young men a riddle, but you have not told me the solution.” He said to her, “Look, I have not even told my father or mother. Do you really expect me to tell you?” 17 She cried on his shoulder until the party was almost over. Finally, on the seventh day, he told her because she had nagged him so much. Then she told the young men the solution to the riddle. 18 On the seventh day, before the sun set, the men of the city said to him,

“What is sweeter than honey?

What is stronger than a lion?”

He said to them,

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,

you would not have solved my riddle!”

19 The Lord’s spirit empowered him. He went down to Ashkelon and murdered thirty men. He took their clothes and gave them to the men who had solved the riddle. He was furious as he went back home. 20 Samson’s bride was then given to his best man.

Samson Versus the Philistines

15:1 Sometime later, during the wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat as a gift and went to visit his bride. He said to her father, “I want to have sex with my bride in her bedroom!” But her father would not let him enter. 2 Her father said, “I really thought you absolutely despised her, so I gave her to your best man. Her younger sister is more attractive than she is. Take her instead!” 3 Samson said to them, “This time I am justified in doing the Philistines harm!” 4 Samson went and captured three hundred jackals and got some torches. He tied the jackals in pairs by their tails and then tied a torch to each pair. 5 He lit the torches and set the jackals loose in the Philistines’ standing grain. He burned up the grain heaps and the standing grain, as well as the vineyards and olive groves. 6 The Philistines asked, “Who did this?” They were told, “Samson, the Timnite’s son-in-law, because the Timnite took Samson’s bride and gave her to his best man.” So the Philistines went up and burned her and her father. 7 Samson said to them, “Because you did this, I will get revenge against you before I quit fighting.” 8 He struck them down and defeated them. Then he went down and lived for a time in the cave in the cliff of Etam.

9 The Philistines went up and invaded Judah. They arrayed themselves for battle in Lehi. 10 The men of Judah said, “Why are you attacking us?” The Philistines said, “We have come up to take Samson prisoner so we can do to him what he has done to us.” 11 Three thousand men of Judah went down to the cave in the cliff of Etam and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines rule over us? Why have you done this to us?” He said to them, “I have only done to them what they have done to me.” 12 They said to him, “We have come down to take you prisoner so we can hand you over to the Philistines.” Samson said to them, “Promise me you will not kill me.” 13 They said to him, “We promise! We will only take you prisoner and hand you over to them. We promise not to kill you.” They tied him up with two brand new ropes and led him up from the cliff. 14 When he arrived in Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they approached him. But the Lord’s spirit empowered him. The ropes around his arms were like flax dissolving in fire, and they melted away from his hands. 15 He happened to see a solid jawbone of a donkey. He grabbed it and struck down a thousand men. 16 Samson then said,

“With the jawbone of a donkey

I have left them in heaps;

with the jawbone of a donkey

I have struck down a thousand men!”

17 When he finished speaking, he threw the jawbone down and named that place Ramath Lehi.

18 He was very thirsty, so he cried out to the Lord and said, “You have given your servant this great victory. But now must I die of thirst and fall into hands of the Philistines?” 19 So God split open the basin at Lehi and water flowed out from it. When he took a drink, his strength was restored and he revived. For this reason he named the spring En Hakkore. It remains in Lehi to this very day. 20 Samson led Israel for twenty years during the days of Philistine prominence.

Samson’s Downfall

16:1 Samson went to Gaza. There he saw a prostitute and went in to have sex with her. 2 The Gazites were told, “Samson has come here!” So they surrounded the town and hid all night at the city gate, waiting for him to leave. They relaxed all night, thinking, “He will not leave until morning comes; then we will kill him!” 3 Samson spent half the night with the prostitute; then he got up in the middle of the night and left. He grabbed the doors of the city gate, as well as the two posts, and pulled them right off, bar and all. He put them on his shoulders and carried them up to the top of a hill east of Hebron.

4 After this Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in the Sorek Valley. 5 The rulers of the Philistines went up to visit her and said to her, “Trick him! Find out what makes him so strong and how we can subdue him and humiliate him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred silver pieces.”

6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me what makes you so strong and how you can be subdued and humiliated.” 7 Samson said to her, “If they tie me up with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I will become weak and be just like any other man.” 8 So the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings which had not been dried and they tied him up with them. 9 They hid in the bedroom and then she said to him, “The Philistines are here, Samson!” He snapped the bowstrings as easily as a thread of yarn snaps when it is put close to fire. The secret of his strength was not discovered.

10 Delilah said to Samson, “Look, you deceived me and told me lies! Now tell me how you can be subdued.” 11 He said to her, “If they tie me tightly with brand new ropes that have never been used, I will become weak and be just like any other man.” 12 So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them and said to him, “The Philistines are here, Samson!” (The Philistines were hiding in the bedroom.) But he tore the ropes from his arms as if they were a piece of thread.

13 Delilah said to Samson, “Up to now you have deceived me and told me lies. Tell me how you can be subdued.” He said to her, “If you weave the seven braids of my hair into the fabric on the loom and secure it with the pin, I will become weak and be like any other man.” 14 So she made him go to sleep, wove the seven braids of his hair into the fabric on the loom, fastened it with the pin, and said to him, “The Philistines are here, Samson!” He woke up and tore away the pin of the loom and the fabric.

15 She said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you will not share your secret with me? Three times you have deceived me and have not told me what makes you so strong.” 16 She nagged him every day and pressured him until he was sick to death of it. 17 Finally he told her his secret. He said to her, “My hair has never been cut, for I have been dedicated to God from the time I was conceived. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me; I would become weak, and be just like all other men.” 18 When Delilah saw that he had told her his secret, she sent for the rulers of the Philistines, saying, “Come up here again, for he has told me his secret.” So the rulers of the Philistines went up to visit her, bringing the silver in their hands. 19 She made him go to sleep on her lap and then called a man in to shave off the seven braids of his hair. She made him vulnerable and his strength left him. 20 She said, “The Philistines are here, Samson!” He woke up and thought, “I will do as I did before and shake myself free.” But he did not realize that the Lord had left him. 21 The Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and bound him in bronze chains. He became a grinder in the prison. 22 His hair began to grow back after it had been shaved off.

Samson’s Death and Burial

23 The rulers of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate. They said, “Our god has handed Samson, our enemy, over to us.” 24 When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, “Our god has handed our enemy over to us, the one who ruined our land and killed so many of us!”

25 When they really started celebrating, they said, “Call for Samson so he can entertain us!” So they summoned Samson from the prison and he entertained them. They made him stand between two pillars. 26 Samson said to the young man who held his hand, “Position me so I can touch the pillars that support the temple. Then I can lean on them.” 27 Now the temple was filled with men and women, and all the rulers of the Philistines were there. There were three thousand men and women on the roof watching Samson entertain. 28 Samson called to the Lord, “O Master, Lord, remember me! Strengthen me just one more time, O God, so I can get swift revenge against the Philistines for my two eyes!” 29 Samson took hold of the two middle pillars that supported the temple and he leaned against them, with his right hand on one and his left hand on the other. 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” He pushed hard and the temple collapsed on the rulers and all the people in it. He killed many more people in his death than he had killed during his life. 31 His brothers and all his family went down and brought him back. They buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had led Israel for twenty years.

The Creation
Adam and Eve
Cain and Abel
The Great Flood
The Tower of Babel
God Calls Abraham
Sodom and Gomorrah
Abraham's Obedience
Isaac Marries Rebekah
Esau's Birthright
Isaac Blesses Jacob
Jacob and Laban
Jacob Wrestles
Revenge against Shechem
Joseph in Prison
Joseph as a Ruler
Family Reunion
Moses' Birth
The Burning Bush
The Ten Plagues
The Exodus
The Red Sea
The Gold Calf
Exploring the Land
Rebellion in the Ranks
Balak and Balaam
Rahab and the Spies
Jericho Falls
Gibeon's Con Artists
Deborah and Barak
Gideon as Judge
Abimelech's Ambition
Samson as Judge
Ruth, Naomi and Boaz
Samuel is Born
Samuel the Prophet
Saul Becomes King
Jonathan's Bravery
Saul's Disobedience
David Kills Goliath
David and Jonathan
Nabal and Abigail
Saul's Death
David's Success
David and Bathsheba
Amnon and Tamar
Absalom
Solomon's Wisdom
Jeroboam and Rehoboam
Elijah's Challenge
God Speaks to Elijah
Micaiah the Prophet
Chariot of Fire
Elisha Heals Naaman
Famine and Unbelief
Joash and Jehoiada
Hezekiah Trusts God
Josiah's Reign
Fall of Jerusalem
David's Power
David's Census
Jehoshaphat and Ahab
Ezra Rebuilds the Altar
Nehemiah Builds the Wall
Enemy Opposition
Nehemiah's Justice
Esther Saves the Jews
Job is Tested
Ezekiel's Vision
The Fiery Furnace
The Lions' Den
Jonah
Jesus is Born
Wise Men and King Herod
Jesus is Tempted
Jesus Feeds 5,000
The Bread of Life
Jesus Walks on Water
The Good Samaritan
The Lost Son
Jesus Raises Lazarus
Jesus and Zacchaeus
The Triumphal Entry
The Last Supper
Jesus' Trial
Jesus' Crucifixion
Jesus' Resurrection
Jesus' Ascension
The Holy Spirit Comes
The Apostles' Courage
Ananias and Sapphira
Philip and the Eunuch
Saul Encounters Jesus
Peter and Cornelius
Paul in Corinth
Paul in Ephesus
Paul Goes to Rome