Judges 18

Samson and Delilah

16 Samson went to zGaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her. The Gazites were told, Samson has come here. And they asurrounded 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 bthe lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, cSeduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to dhumble 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 dsubdue you.

Samson said to her, If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, ethen 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 fnew 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.1 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, gHow 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 hwhen 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, iA 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 jthe 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 kto 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 lthe 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. mAnd he ground at the mill in the prison. 22 But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.

The Death of Samson

23 Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to nDagon 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, othey 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.2 25 And pwhen 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 qon 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, rplease 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 sbetween Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had judged Israel twenty years.

Micah and the Levite

17 There was a man of tthe hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Micah. And he said to his mother, The 1,100 pieces of silver that were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse, and also spoke it in my ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it. And his mother said, uBlessed be my son by the Lord. And he restored the 1,100 pieces of silver to his mother. And his mother said, I dedicate the silver to the Lord from my hand for my son, to make va carved image and wa metal image. Now therefore I will restore it to you. So when he restored the money to his mother, his mother xtook 200 pieces of silver and gave it to the silversmith, who made it into a carved image and a metal image. And it was in the house of Micah. And the man Micah had a shrine, and he made yan ephod and zhousehold gods, and aordained1 one of his sons, who became his priest. bIn those days there was no king in Israel. cEveryone did what was right in his own eyes.

Now there was a young man of dBethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there. And the man departed from the town of Bethlehem in Judah to sojourn where he could find a place. And as he journeyed, he came to ethe hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah. And Micah said to him, Where do you come from? And he said to him, I am a Levite of Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to sojourn where I may find a place. 10 And Micah said to him, Stay with me, and be to me fa father and a priest, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year and a suit of clothes and your living. And the Levite went in. 11 And the Levite gwas content to dwell with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons. 12 And Micah hordained the Levite, and the young man ibecame his priest, and was in the house of Micah. 13 Then Micah said, Now I know that the Lord will prosper me, because I have a Levite as priest.

Danites Take the Levite and the Idol

18 jIn those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days kthe tribe of the people of Dan was seeking for itself an inheritance to dwell in, for until then no inheritance among the tribes of Israel had fallen to them. So the people of Dan sent five able men from the whole number of their tribe, lfrom Zorah and from Eshtaol, mto spy out the land and to explore it. And they said to them, Go and explore the land. And they came nto the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there. When they were by the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young Levite. And they turned aside and said to him, Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What is your business here? And he said to them, This is how Micah dealt with me: ohe has hired me, and I have become his priest. And they said to him, pInquire of God, please, that we may know whether the journey on which we are setting out will succeed. And the priest said to them, qGo in peace. The journey on which you go is under the eye of the Lord.

Then the five men departed and came to rLaish and saw the people who were there, how they lived in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, squiet and unsuspecting, lacking1 nothing that is in the earth and possessing wealth, and how tthey were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone. And when they came to their brothers at uZorah and Eshtaol, their brothers said to them, What do you report? They said, vArise, and let us go up against them, for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. wAnd will you do nothing? xDo not be slow to go, to enter in and possess the land. 10 As soon as you go, you will come to an yunsuspecting people. The land is spacious, for God has given it into your hands, za place where there is no lack of anything that is in the earth.

11 So 600 men of the tribe of Dan, aarmed with weapons of war, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol, 12 and went up and encamped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. On this account that place is called bMahaneh-dan2 to this day; behold, it is west of cKiriath-jearim. 13 And they passed on from there to dthe hill country of Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah.

14 Then the five men who had gone to scout out the country of Laish said to their brothers, Do you know that ein these houses there are an ephod, household gods, a carved image, and a metal image? Now therefore consider what you will do. 15 And they turned aside there and came to the house of the young Levite, at the home of Micah, and fasked him about his welfare. 16 Now the 600 men of the Danites, garmed with their weapons of war, stood by the entrance of the gate. 17 And hthe five men who had gone to scout out the land went up and entered and took ithe carved image, the ephod, the household gods, and the metal image, while the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the 600 men armed with weapons of war. 18 And when these went into Micah's house and took ithe carved image, the ephod, the household gods, and the metal image, the priest said to them, What are you doing? 19 And they said to him, Keep quiet; jput your hand on your mouth and come with us and be to us ka father and a priest. Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and clan in Israel? 20 And the priest's heart was glad. He took the ephod and the household gods and the carved image and went along with the people.

21 So they turned and departed, putting the little ones and the livestock and lthe goods in front of them. 22 When they had gone a distance from the home of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah's house were called out, and they overtook the people of Dan. 23 And they shouted to the people of Dan, who turned around and said to Micah, What is the matter with you, that you come with such a company? 24 And he said, mYou take my gods that I made and the priest, and go away, and what have I left? How then do you ask me, What is the matter with you? 25 And the people of Dan said to him, Do not let your voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows fall upon you, and you lose your life with the lives of your household. 26 Then the people of Dan went their way. And when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his home.

27 But the people of Dan took what Micah had made, and the priest who belonged to him, and they came to Laish, to a people nquiet and unsuspecting, and ostruck them with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire. 28 And there was no deliverer because it was pfar from Sidon, and they had no dealings with anyone. It was in the valley that belongs to qBeth-rehob. Then they rebuilt the city and lived in it. 29 And they named the city rDan, after the name of Dan their ancestor, who was born to Israel; but sthe name of the city was Laish at the first. 30 And the people of Dan set up the carved image for themselves, and Jonathan the son of Gershom, tson of Moses,3 uand his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day vof the captivity of the land. 31 So they set up Micah's carved image that he made, was long as the house of God was at Shiloh.

A Levite and His Concubine

19 In those days, xwhen there was no king in Israel, a certain Levite was sojourning in the remote parts of ythe hill country of Ephraim, who took to himself a concubine from zBethlehem in Judah. And his concubine was unfaithful to1 him, and she went away from him to her father's house at Bethlehem in Judah, and was there some four months. Then her husband arose and went after her, to speak kindly to her and bring her back. He had with him his servant and a couple of donkeys. And she brought him into her father's house. And when the girl's father saw him, he came with joy to meet him. And his father-in-law, the girl's father, made him stay, and he remained with him three days. So they ate and drank and spent the night there. And on the fourth day they arose early in the morning, and he prepared to go, but the girl's father said to his son-in-law, aStrengthen your heart with a morsel of bread, and after that you may go. So the two of them sat and ate and drank together. And the girl's father said to the man, Be pleased to spend the night, and blet your heart be merry. And when the man rose up to go, his father-in-law pressed him, till he spent the night there again. And on the fifth day he arose early in the morning to depart. And the girl's father said, cStrengthen your heart and wait until the day declines. So they ate, both of them. And when the man and his concubine and his servant rose up to depart, his father-in-law, the girl's father, said to him, Behold, now the day has waned toward evening. Please, spend the night. Behold, the day draws to its close. Lodge here and let your heart be merry, and tomorrow you shall arise early in the morning for your journey, and go home.

10 But the man would not spend the night. He rose up and departed and arrived opposite dJebus (that is, Jerusalem). He had with him a couple of saddled donkeys, and his concubine was with him. 11 When they were near Jebus, the day was nearly over, and the servant said to his master, Come now, let us turn aside to this city of the Jebusites and spend the night in it. 12 And his master said to him, We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners, who do not belong to the people of Israel, but we will pass on to eGibeah. 13 And he said to his young man, Come and let us draw near to one of these places and spend the night at Gibeah or at fRamah. 14 So they passed on and went their way. And the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin, 15 and they turned aside there, to go in and spend the night at Gibeah. And he went in and sat down in the open square of the city, gfor no one took them into his house to spend the night.

16 And behold, an old man was coming from his work in the field at evening. The man was from hthe hill country of Ephraim, and he was sojourning in Gibeah. iThe men of the place were Benjaminites. 17 And he lifted up his eyes and saw the traveler in the open square of the city. And the old man said, Where are you going? And where do you come from? 18 And he said to him, We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah to the remote parts of the hill country of Ephraim, from which I come. I went to Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going jto the house of the Lord,2 gbut no one has taken me into his house. 19 We have straw and feed for our donkeys, with bread and wine for me and your female servant and the young man with your servants. kThere is no lack of anything. 20 And the old man said, lPeace be to you; I will care for all your wants. mOnly, do not spend the night in the square. 21 So he brought him into his house and gave the donkeys feed. nAnd they washed their feet, and ate and drank.

Gibeah's Crime

22 As they were omaking their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, worthless fellows, psurrounded the house, beating on the door. And they said to the old man, the master of the house, Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may know him. 23 And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, No, my brothers, qdo not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, rdo not do this vile thing. 24 sBehold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine. Let me bring them out now. tViolate them and do with them what seems good to you, but against this man rdo not do this outrageous thing. 25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and made her go out to them. And they knew her and abused her all night until the morning. And as the dawn began to break, they let her go. 26 And as morning appeared, the woman came and fell down at the door of the man's house where her master was, until it was light.

27 And her master rose up in the morning, and when he opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his way, behold, there was his concubine lying at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, Get up, let us be going. uBut there was no answer. Then he put her on the donkey, and the man rose up and went away to his home. 29 And when he entered his house, he took a knife, and taking hold of his concubine he vdivided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel. 30 wAnd all who saw it said, Such a thing has never happened or been seen from the day that the people of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt until this day; xconsider it, take counsel, and speak.

Israel's War with the Tribe of Benjamin

20 Then yall the people of Israel came out, zfrom Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead, and the congregation assembled as one man to the Lord at aMizpah. And the bchiefs of all the people, of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, 400,000 men on foot cthat drew the sword. (Now the people of Benjamin heard that the people of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) And the people of Israel said, Tell us, how did this evil happen? And the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, dI came to Gibeah that belongs to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to spend the night. eAnd the leaders of Gibeah rose against me and surrounded the house against me by night. They meant to kill me, and they violated my concubine, and she is dead. fSo I took hold of my concubine and cut her in pieces and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel, for they have committed abomination and goutrage in Israel. Behold, you people of Israel, all of you, hgive your advice and counsel here.

And all the people arose as one man, saying, None of us will go to his tent, and none of us will return to his house. But now this is what we will do to Gibeah: we will go up against it by lot, 10 and we will take ten men of a hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred of a thousand, and a thousand of ten thousand, to bring provisions for the people, that when they come they may repay Gibeah of Benjamin for all the outrage that they have committed in Israel. 11 So all the men of Israel gathered against the city, united as one man.

12 iAnd the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, What evil is this that has taken place among you? 13 Now therefore give up the men, jthe worthless fellows in Gibeah, that we may put them to death kand purge evil from Israel. But the Benjaminites would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the people of Israel. 14 Then the people of Benjamin came together out of the cities to Gibeah to go out to battle against the people of Israel. 15 And the people of Benjamin mustered out of their cities on that day l26,000 men mwho drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who mustered 700 chosen men. 16 Among all these were 700 chosen men who were nleft-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss. 17 And the men of Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered m400,000 men who drew the sword; all these were men of war.

18 The people of Israel arose and went up to oBethel and inquired of God, pWho shall go up first for us to fight against the people of Benjamin? And the Lord said, pJudah shall go up first.

19 Then the people of Israel rose in the morning and encamped against Gibeah. 20 And the men of Israel went out to fight against Benjamin, and the men of Israel drew up the battle line against them at Gibeah. 21 qThe people of Benjamin came out of Gibeah and destroyed on that day 22,000 men of the Israelites. 22 But the people, the men of Israel, took courage, and again formed the battle line in the same place where they had formed it on the first day. 23 rAnd the people of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until the evening. And they inquired of the Lord, Shall we again draw near to fight against our brothers, the people of Benjamin? And the Lord said, Go up against them.

24 So the people of Israel came near against the people of Benjamin the second day. 25 And Benjamin swent against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed 18,000 men of the people of Israel. All these were men who tdrew the sword. 26 Then all the people of Israel, the whole army, went up and came to uBethel and wept. They sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. 27 And the people of Israel inquired of the Lord v(for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28 and wPhinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, xministered before it in those days), saying, Shall we go out once more to battle against our brothers, the people of Benjamin, or shall we cease? And the Lord said, Go up, for tomorrow I will give them into your hand.

29 ySo Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah. 30 And the people of Israel went up against the people of Benjamin on the third day and set themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times. 31 And the people of Benjamin went out against the people and were drawn away from the city. And as at other times they began to strike and kill some of the people in the highways, zone of which goes up to aBethel and the other to Gibeah, and in the open country, about thirty men of Israel. 32 And the people of Benjamin said, bThey are routed before us, as at the first. But the people of Israel said, Let us flee and draw them away from the city to the highways. 33 And all the men of Israel rose up out of their place and set themselves in array at Baal-tamar, and the men of Israel who were in ambush rushed out of their place from Maareh-geba.1 34 And there came against Gibeah 10,000 chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was hard, cbut the Benjaminites did not know that disaster was close upon them. 35 And the Lord defeated Benjamin before Israel, and the people of Israel destroyed 25,100 men of Benjamin that day. All these were men who ddrew the sword. 36 So the people of Benjamin saw that they were defeated.

The men of Israel gave ground to Benjamin, because they trusted the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah. 37 eThen the men in ambush hurried and rushed against Gibeah; the men in ambush moved out and struck all the city with the edge of the sword. 38 Now the appointed signal between the men of Israel and the men in the main ambush was that when they made a great cloud of smoke rise up out of the city 39 the men of Israel should turn in battle. Now Benjamin had begun to strike and kill about thirty men of Israel. They said, fSurely they are defeated before us, as in the first battle. 40 But when the signal began to rise out of the city in a column of smoke, the Benjaminites looked behind them, and behold, gthe whole of the city went up in smoke to heaven. 41 Then the men of Israel turned, and the men of Benjamin were dismayed, hfor they saw that disaster was close upon them. 42 Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel in ithe direction of the wilderness, but the battle overtook them. And those who came out of the cities were destroying them in their midst. 43 Surrounding the Benjaminites, they pursued them and trod them down from Nohah2 as far as opposite Gibeah on the east. 44 Eighteen thousand men of Benjamin fell, all of them men of valor. 45 And they turned iand fled toward the wilderness to the rock of jRimmon. Five thousand men of them were cut down in the highways. And they were pursued hard to Gidom, and 2,000 men of them were struck down. 46 So all who fell that day of Benjamin were 25,000 men who drew the sword, all of them men of valor. 47 But 600 men turned and ifled toward the wilderness to the rock of jRimmon and remained at the rock of Rimmon four months. 48 And the men of Israel turned back against the people of Benjamin and struck them with the edge of the sword, the city, men and beasts and all that they found. And all the towns that they found they set on fire.