Judges 16

Samson's Marriage

14 rSamson went down to sTimnah, 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. tNow get her for me as my wife. But his father and mother said to him, Is there not a woman among the daughters uof your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the vuncircumcised 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 wfrom the Lord, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. xAt 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. yThen 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, zLet me now put a riddle to you. If you can tell me what it is, within athe seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty bchanges 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 fourth1 day they said to Samson's wife, cEntice your husband to tell us what the riddle is, dlest 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, eYou 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 fshe 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 gAnd the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and he went down to hAshkelon 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 ihis companion, jwho had been his best man.

Samson Defeats the Philistines

15 After some days, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife with ka 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, lso 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 mand given her to his companion. And the Philistines came up and nburned 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 ocleft of the rock of Etam.

Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah and pmade a raid on qLehi. 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 rthe 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 snew ropes and brought him up from the rock.

14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. tThen 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, uand 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 vwas called Ramath-lehi.1

18 And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the Lord and said, wYou 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 vat Lehi, and water came out from it. And when he drank, xhis spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore the name of it was called En-hakkore;2 it is at Lehi to this day. 20 And he judged Israel yin the days of the Philistines twenty years.

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.