Samson Troubles the Philistines
15 At the time of the wheat harvest [C late May or early June], Samson went to visit his wife, taking a young goat with him [C as a gift]. He said, “I’m going to my wife’s room,” but her father would not let him go in.
2 He said to Samson, “I thought you really hated your wife, so I gave her to your ·best man [companion; 14:20]. ·Her younger sister is [L Is not her younger sister…?] more beautiful. Take her instead.”
3 But Samson said to them, “This time ·no one will blame me [I am justified/blameless/innocent] for hurting you Philistines!” 4 So Samson went out and caught three hundred ·foxes [or jackals]. He took two at a time, tied their tails together, and then tied a torch to the tails of each pair of ·foxes [or jackals]. 5 After he lit the torches, he let the ·foxes [or jackals] loose in the grainfields of the Philistines so that he burned up their standing grain, the ·piles [heaps; shocks] of grain, their vineyards, and their olive trees.
6 The Philistines asked, “Who did this?”
Someone told them, “Samson, the son-in-law of the ·man from Timnah [L Timnite], did because his father-in-law gave his wife to his ·best man [companion].”
So the Philistines burned Samson’s wife and her father to death. 7 Then Samson said to the Philistines, “Since you did this, I won’t stop until I ·pay you back [get revenge on you]!” 8 Samson ·attacked the Philistines and killed many of them [L struck them down calf on thigh with a great slaughter]. Then he went down and stayed in a cave in the rock of Etam.
9 The Philistines went up and camped in the land of Judah, ·near a place named [spreading out near; or overrunning/raiding] Lehi. 10 The men of Judah asked them, “Why have you come here to fight us?”
They answered, “We have come to make Samson our prisoner, to ·pay him back for what he did to our people [L do to him as he did to us].”
11 Then three thousand men of Judah went to the ·cave [cleft] in the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “What have you done to us? Don’t you know that the Philistines rule over us?”
Samson answered, “I only ·paid them back for [L did to them] what they did to me.”
12 Then they said to him, “We have come to ·tie you up [bind you] and to hand you over to the Philistines.”
Samson said to them, “Promise me you will not ·hurt [attack; come against] me yourselves.”
13 The men from Judah said, “·We agree [L No; C meaning they wouldn’t hurt him]. We will just ·tie you up [bind you] and give you to the Philistines. We will not kill you.” So they tied Samson with two new ropes and led him up from the cave in the rock. 14 When Samson came to the Lehi, the Philistines came to meet him, ·shouting for joy [or with shouts of triumph; L shouting]. Then the Spirit of the Lord ·entered Samson and gave him great power [came upon/rushed upon/empowered him; 14:19]. The ropes on him weakened like burned ·strings [flax] and [L his bonds] fell off his hands! 15 Samson found the ·jawbone [L fresh jawbone; C not yet decayed] of a ·dead donkey [T ass], took it, and ·killed [L struck down] a thousand men with it!
16 Then Samson said,
“With a donkey’s jawbone
I ·made donkeys out of them [or have piled them in heaps].
With a donkey’s jawbone
I ·killed [L struck down] a thousand men!”
17 When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone. So that place was named Ramath Lehi [C Jawbone Hill].
18 Samson was very thirsty, so he cried out to the Lord, “You gave me, your servant, this great victory. Do I have to die of thirst now? Do I have to be captured by ·people who are not circumcised [or these pagans; L the uncircumcised]?” 19 Then God ·opened up a hole in the ground [L split open the basin/hollow place] at Lehi, and water came out. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he ·felt better [revived]. So he named that spring ·Caller’s Spring [or Spring of the One Who Cries Out; L En Hakkore], which is still in Lehi.
20 Samson ·judged [led] Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.