Judges 12-15New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Jephthah and His Successors
12 Then the men of Ephraim were summoned, and they crossed [a]to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, “Why did you cross over to fight against the sons of Ammon without calling us to go with you? We will burn your house down on you.” 2 Jephthah said to them, “I and my people were at great strife with the sons of Ammon; when I called you, you did not deliver me from their hand. 3 When I saw that you would not deliver me, I [b]took my life in my hands and crossed over against the sons of Ammon, and the Lord gave them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day to fight against me?” 4 Then Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought Ephraim; and the men of Gilead [c]defeated Ephraim, because they said, “You are fugitives of Ephraim, O Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim and in the midst of Manasseh.” 5 The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan opposite Ephraim. And it happened when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead would say to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” 6 then they would say to him, “Say now, ‘Shibboleth.’” But he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not [d]pronounce it correctly. Then they seized him and slew him at the fords of the Jordan. Thus there fell at that time 42,000 of Ephraim.
7 Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.
8 Now Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel after him. 9 He had thirty sons, and thirty daughters whom he [e]gave in marriage outside the family, and he brought in thirty daughters from outside for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.
11 Now Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel after him; and he judged Israel ten years. 12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.
13 Now Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel after him. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy donkeys; and he judged Israel eight years. 15 Then Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried at Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.
Philistines Oppress Again
13 Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, so that the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines forty years.
2 There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had borne no children. 3 Then the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son. 4 Now therefore, be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing. 5 For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” 6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, “A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. And I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. 7 But he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”
8 Then Manoah entreated the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom You have sent come to us again that he may teach us what to do for the boy who is to be born.” 9 God listened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again to the woman as she was sitting in the field, but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 So the woman ran quickly and told her [f]husband, “Behold, the man who [g]came the other day has appeared to me.” 11 Then Manoah arose and followed his wife, and when he came to the man he said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to the woman?” And he said, “I am.” 12 Manoah said, “Now when your words come to pass, what shall be the boy’s mode of life and his vocation?” 13 So the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Let the woman pay attention [h]to all that I said. 14 She should not eat anything that comes from the vine nor drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing; let her observe all that I commanded.”
15 Then Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain you so that we may prepare a young goat for you.” 16 The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Though you detain me, I will not eat your [i]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 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that when your words come to pass, we may honor you?” 18 But the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is [j]wonderful?” 19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to the Lord, and He performed wonders while Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 For it came about when the flame went up from the altar toward heaven, that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground.
21 Now the angel of the Lord did not appear to Manoah or his wife again. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. 22 So Manoah said to his wife, “We will surely die, for we have seen God.” 23 But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have let us hear things like this at this time.”
24 Then the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson; and the child grew up and the Lord blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in [k]Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
14 Then Samson went down to Timnah and saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 So he came [l]back and told his father and [m]mother, “I saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife.” 3 Then his father and his mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your [n]relatives, or among all [o]our people, that you go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she [p]looks good to me.” 4 However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.
5 Then Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came as far as the vineyards of Timnah; and behold, a young lion came roaring toward him. 6 The Spirit of the Lord [q]came upon him mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a young goat though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done. 7 So he went down and talked to the woman; and she [r]looked good to Samson. 8 When he returned later to take her, he turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion; and behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the body of the lion. 9 So he scraped [s]the honey into his [t]hands and went on, eating as he went. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them and they ate it; but he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey out of the body of the lion.
10 Then his father went down to the woman; and Samson made a feast there, for the young men customarily did this. 11 When they saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him.
12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me now propound a riddle to you; if you will indeed tell it to me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes. 13 But if you are unable to tell me, then you shall give me thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Propound your riddle, that we may hear it.” 14 So he said to them,
“Out of the eater came something to eat,
But they could not tell the riddle in three days.
15 Then it came about on the [u]fourth day that they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband, so that he will tell us the riddle, or we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us? Is this not so?” 16 Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You only hate me, and you do not love me; you have propounded a riddle to the sons of my people, and have not told it to me.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told it to my father or mother; so should I tell you?” 17 However she wept before him seven days while their feast lasted. And on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard. She then told the riddle to the sons of her people. 18 So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,
“What is sweeter than honey?
And he said to them,
“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
19 Then the Spirit of the Lord [v]came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house. 20 But Samson’s wife was given to his companion who had been his [w]friend.
Samson Burns Philistine Crops
15 But after a while, in the time of wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife with a young goat, and said, “I will go in to my wife in her room.” But her father did not let him enter. 2 Her father said, “I really thought that you hated her intensely; so I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister [x]more beautiful than she? Please let her be yours [y]instead.” 3 Samson then said to them, “This time I shall be blameless in regard to the Philistines when I do them harm.” 4 Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned the foxes tail to tail and put one torch in the middle between two tails. 5 When he had set fire to the torches, he released [z]the foxes into the standing grain of the Philistines, thus burning up both the shocks and the standing grain, along with the vineyards and groves. 6 Then the Philistines said, “Who did this?” And they said, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because [aa]he took his wife and gave her to his companion.” So the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire. 7 Samson said to them, “Since you act like this, I will surely take revenge on you, but after that I will quit.” 8 He struck them [ab]ruthlessly with a great slaughter; and he went down and lived in the cleft of the rock of Etam.
9 Then the Philistines went up and camped in Judah, and spread out in Lehi. 10 The men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” And they said, “We have come up to bind Samson in order 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 I have done to them.” 12 They said to him, “We have come down to bind you so that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines.” And Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not [ac]kill me.” 13 So they said to [ad]him, “No, but we will bind you fast and give you into their hands; yet surely we will not kill you.” Then they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock.
14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they met him. And the Spirit of the Lord [ae]came upon him mightily so that the ropes that were on his arms were as flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds [af]dropped from his hands. 15 He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, so he [ag]reached out and took it and [ah]killed a thousand men with it. 16 Then Samson said,
17 When he had finished speaking, he threw the jawbone from his hand; and he named that place [ak]Ramath-lehi. 18 Then he became very thirsty, and he called to the Lord and said, “You have given this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant, and now [al]shall I die of thirst [am]and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 But God split the hollow place that is in Lehi so that water came out of it. When he drank, his [an]strength returned and he revived. Therefore he named it [ao]En-hakkore, which is in Lehi to this day. 20 So he judged Israel twenty years in the days of the Philistines.
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