March 22

Judges 14:1 — 16:31

14 Then Samson went down to Timnah and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 So he went up and told his father and his mother and said: “There is a woman that I have seen in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines, and now get her for me as a wife.” 3 But his father and his mother said to him: “Is there not among the daughters of your brothers and among all my people a woman, so that you are going to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” Still Samson said to his father: “Get just her for me, because she is the one just right in my eyes.” 4 As for his father and his mother, they did not know that that was from Jehovah, that he was looking for an opportunity against the Philistines, as at that particular time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.

5 Accordingly Samson went on down with his father and his mother to Timnah. When he got as far as the vineyards of Timnah, why, look! a maned young lion roaring upon meeting him. 6 Then Jehovah’s spirit became operative upon him, so that he tore it in two, just as someone tears a male kid in two, and there was nothing at all in his hand. And he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. 7 And he continued on his way down and began to speak to the woman; and she was still right in Samson’s eyes.

8 Now after a while he went on back to take her home. Meantime he turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion, and there there was a swarm of bees in the lion’s corpse, and honey. 9 So he scraped it out into his palms and walked on, eating as he walked. When he rejoined his father and his mother, he at once gave them some, and they began to eat. And he did not tell them that it was out of the corpse of the lion that he had scraped the honey.

10 And his father continued on his way down to the woman, and Samson proceeded to hold a banquet there; for that was the way the young fellows used to do. 11 And it came about that, on their seeing him, they immediately took thirty groomsmen, that these should keep with him. 12 Then Samson said to them: “Let me, please, propound a riddle to YOU. If YOU will without fail tell it to me during the seven days of the banquet and YOU do solve it, I shall in that case have to give YOU thirty undergarments and thirty outfits of clothing. 13 But if YOU are unable to tell it to me, YOU yourselves also must give me thirty undergarments and thirty outfits of clothing.” At this they said to him: “Do propound your riddle, and let us hear it.” 14 So he said to them:

“Out of the eater something to eat came forth,

And out of the strong something sweet came forth.”

And they proved unable to tell the riddle for three days. 15 And it came about on the fourth day that they began to say to Samson’s wife: “Fool your husband that he may tell us the riddle. Otherwise we shall burn you and the house of your father with fire. Was it to take our possessions that YOU people invited us here?” 16 Consequently Samson’s wife began to weep over him and to say: “You only hate me, you do, and you do not love me. There was a riddle that you propounded to the sons of my people, but to me you have not told it.” At this he said to her: “Why, to my own father and my own mother I have not told it, and ought I to tell it to you?” 17 But she kept weeping over him the seven days that the banquet continued for them, and it came about on the seventh day that finally he told her, because she had pressured him. Then she told the riddle to the sons of her people. 18 So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before ever he could go into the interior room:

“What is sweeter than honey,

And what is stronger than a lion?”

In turn he said to them:

“If YOU had not plowed with my young cow,

YOU would not have solved my riddle.”

19 And Jehovah’s spirit became operative upon him, so that he went down to Ashkelon and struck down thirty men of theirs and took what he stripped off them and gave the outfits to the tellers of the riddle. And his anger continued hot, and he went his way up to his father’s house.

20 And Samson’s wife came to belong to a groomsman of his who had associated with him.

15 And it came about after a while, in the days of wheat harvest, that Samson went visiting his wife with a kid of the goats. So he said: “I will go in to my wife in the interior room.” And her father did not allow him to go in. 2 But her father said: “I really said to myself, ‘You must unquestionably hate her.’ Hence I gave her to your groomsman. Is not her younger sister better than she is? Let her, please, become yours instead of the other.” 3 However, Samson said to them: “This time I must be free of guilt against the Philistines in case I am dealing with them to their injury.”

4 And Samson went his way and proceeded to catch three hundred foxes and to take torches and turn tail to tail and put one torch between two tails, right in the middle. 5 With that he set fire to the torches and sent them out into the fields of standing grain of the Philistines. Thus he set on fire everything from sheaf to standing grain and the vineyards and the olive groves.

6 And the Philistines began to say: “Who did this?” Then they said: “It was Samson the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he took his wife and then gave her to his groomsman.” At that the Philistines went up and burned her and her father with fire. 7 In turn Samson said to them: “If YOU do like this, there is nothing but for me to avenge myself upon YOU, and afterward I shall quit.” 8 And he went smiting them, piling legs upon thighs with a great slaughter, after which he went down and began to dwell in a cleft of the crag Etam.

9 Later the Philistines came up and camped in Judah and went tramping about in Lehi. 10 Then the men of Judah said: “Why have YOU come up against us?” to which they said: “It is to tie Samson that we have come up, to do to him just as he has done to us.” 11 So three thousand men of Judah went down to the cleft of the crag Etam and said to Samson: “Do you not know that the Philistines are ruling over us? So what does this mean that you have done to us?” Then he said to them: “Just as they did to me is the way I have done to them.” 12 But they said to him: “It is to tie you that we have come down, to give you into the hand of the Philistines.” At that Samson said to them: “Swear to me that YOU yourselves will not assault me.” 13 And they went on to say to him: “No, but we shall merely tie you, and we will give you into their hand; but we shall by no means put you to death.”

Accordingly they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up out of the crag. 14 He, for his part, came as far as Lehi, and the Philistines, for their part, shouted exultantly at meeting him. And Jehovah’s spirit became operative upon him, and the ropes that were upon his arms came to be like linen threads that have been scorched with fire, so that his fetters melted off his hands. 15 He now found a moist jawbone of a male ass and thrust his hand out and took it and went striking down a thousand men with it. 16 Then Samson said:

“With the jawbone of a male ass—one heap, two heaps!

With the jawbone of a male ass I have struck down a thousand men.”

17 And it came about that when he finished speaking, he immediately threw the jawbone out of his hand and called that place Ramath-lehi. 18 Now he became very thirsty, and he began to call on Jehovah and say: “It was you that gave this great salvation into the hand of your servant, and now shall I die of thirst and must I fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?” 19 So God split open a mortar-shaped hollow that was in Lehi, and water began to come out of it, and he proceeded to drink, after which his spirit returned and he revived. That is why he called its name En-hakkore, which is in Lehi down to this day.

20 And he continued to judge Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

16 Once Samson went to Gaza and saw a prostitute woman there and came in to her. 2 And report was made to the Gazites, saying: “Samson has come in here.” So they surrounded him and lay in wait for him all night long in the city gate. And they kept quiet the whole night, saying: “As soon as the morning gets light, we must also kill him.”

3 However, Samson kept lying till midnight and then rose at midnight and grabbed hold of the doors of the city gate and the two side posts and pulled them out along with the bar and put them upon his shoulders and went carrying them up to the top of the mountain that is in front of Hebron.

4 And it came about after that that he fell in love with a woman in the torrent valley of Sorek, and her name was Delilah. 5 And the axis lords of the Philistines proceeded to come up to her and to say to her: “Fool him and see in what his great power is and with what we can prevail over him and with what we are certain to tie him so as to master him; and we, for our part, shall give you each one thousand one hundred silver pieces.”

6 Later Delilah said to Samson: “Do tell me, please, In what is your great power and with what can you be tied for one to master you?” 7 Then Samson said to her: “If they tie me with seven still-moist sinews that have not been dried out, I must also grow weak and become like an ordinary man.” 8 So the axis lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven still-moist sinews that had not been dried out. Later she tied him with them. 9 Now the ambush was sitting in the interior room of hers, and she began to say to him: “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” At that he tore the sinews in two, just as a twisted thread of tow is torn in two when it smells fire. And his power did not become known.

10 Subsequently Delilah said to Samson: “Look! You have trifled with me that you might speak lies to me. Now tell me, do please, with what you can be tied.” 11 So he said to her: “If they tie me tight with new ropes with which no work has been done, I must also grow weak and become like an ordinary man.” 12 So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them and said to him: “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” All the while the ambush was sitting in the interior room. At that he tore them in two from off his arms like a thread.

13 After that Delilah said to Samson: “Up till now you have trifled with me that you might speak lies to me. Do tell me with what you can be tied.” Then he said to her: “If you will weave the seven braids of my head with the warp thread.” 14 Accordingly she fixed them with the pin, after which she said to him: “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep and pulled out the loom pin and the warp thread.

15 She now said to him: “How dare you say, ‘I do love you,’ when your heart is not with me? These three times you have trifled with me and have not told me in what your great power is.” 16 And it came about that because she pressured him with her words all the time and kept urging him, his soul got to be impatient to the point of dying. 17 Finally he disclosed to her all his heart and said to her: “A razor has never come upon my head, because I am a Nazirite of God from my mother’s belly. If I did get shaved, my power also would certainly depart from me, and I should indeed grow weak and become like all other men.”

18 When Delilah got to see that he had disclosed to her all his heart, she immediately sent and called the Philistine axis lords, saying: “Come up this time, for he has disclosed to me all his heart.” And the Philistine axis lords came up to her that they might bring up the money in their hand. 19 And she proceeded to make him sleep upon her knees. Then she called the man and had him shave off the seven braids of his head, after which she started to show the mastery of him, and his power kept departing from upon him. 20 Now she said: “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” At that he woke up from his sleep and said: “I shall go out as at other times and shake myself free.” And he himself did not know that it was Jehovah that had departed from him. 21 So the Philistines grabbed hold of him and bored his eyes out and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with two fetters of copper; and he came to be a grinder in the prison house. 22 Meanwhile the hair of his head started to grow luxuriantly as soon as he had been shaved.

23 As for the Philistine axis lords, they gathered together to sacrifice a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and for rejoicing, and they kept saying: “Our god has given into our hand Samson our enemy!” 24 When the people got to see him, they at once gave way to praising their god, “because,” said they, “our god has given into our hand our enemy and the devastator of our land and the one who multiplied our slain.”

25 And it came about that because their heart was merry, they began to say: “Call Samson that he may offer us some amusement.” So they called Samson out of the prison house that he might make sport before them; and they proceeded to stand him between the pillars. 26 Then Samson said to the boy that was holding him by his hand: “Do permit me to feel the pillars upon which the house is firmly established and let me lean against them.” 27 (Incidentally, the house was full of men and women and all the Philistine axis lords were there; and upon the roof there were about three thousand men and women who were looking on while Samson offered some amusement.)

28 Samson now called to Jehovah and said: “Sovereign Lord Jehovah, remember me, please, and strengthen me, please, just this once, O you the [true] God, and let me avenge myself upon the Philistines with vengeance for one of my two eyes.”

29 With that Samson braced himself against the two middle pillars upon which the house was firmly established, and got a grasp on them, one with his right and the other with his left hand. 30 And Samson proceeded to say: “Let my soul die with the Philistines.” Then he bent himself with power, and the house went falling upon the axis lords and upon all the people that were in it, so that the dead that he put to death in his own death came to be more than those he had put to death during his lifetime.

31 Later his brothers and all the household of his father came on down and lifted him up and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the burial place of Manoah his father. As for him, he had judged Israel twenty years.