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Samson Defeats the Philistines

15 After a while, at the time of the wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife with a young goat.[a] He said, “I want to go to my wife’s private room.” But her father would not allow him to enter. Her father said, “I really thought that you hated her, so I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister more beautiful than she? Please, take her instead.”[b] And Samson said to them, “This time, as far as the Philistines are concerned, when I do something evil I am without blame.” And Samson went and captured three hundred foxes, and he took torches. He turned them tail to tail, and he put one torch between two tails. He set fire to the torches and let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and he burned both the stacks[c] of sheaves and the standing grain, up to the vineyards[d] of olive groves. And the Philistines said, “Who has done this?” And they said, “Samson the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he took his wife and gave her to his companion.” And the Philistines went up and burned her and her father with fire. Samson said to them, “If you want to behave like this, I swear I will not rest unless I have taken revenge on you.” And he gave them a thorough beating,[e] and he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam.

Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah, and they overran Lehi. 10 And the men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” And they said, “To bind Samson; to do to him just as he did to us.” 11 Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and they said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines are ruling over us? What is this that you have done to us?” And he said to them, “Just as they did to me, so I have done to them.” 12 They said to him, “We have come down to bind you and give you over into the hand 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 hand; we will certainly not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes, and they brought him up from the rock.

14 As he came up to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him; and the Spirit of Yahweh rushed on him, and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax that has burned with fire, and his bindings melted from his hands. 15 And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey; he reached down and took it and killed one thousand men with it. 16 And Samson said,

“With the jawbone of the donkey,
    heap upon heap;
with the jawbone of the donkey,
    I struck dead one thousand men.”

17 And it happened, when he finished speaking he threw the jawbone from his hand; and he called that place Ramath Lehi.[f]

18 And he was very thirsty, and he called to Yahweh and said, “You gave this great victory into the hand of your servant, but now I must die of thirst and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?” 19 So God split the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came out from it; and he drank, and his spirit returned, and he was revived. Thus he called its name The Spring of Ha-Qore,[g] which is at Lehi to this day. 20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.


  1. Judges 15:1 Literally “kid of goat”
  2. Judges 15:2 Literally “let her be in the place of her”
  3. Judges 15:5 Hebrew “stack”
  4. Judges 15:5 Hebrew “vineyard”
  5. Judges 15:8 Literally “he struck them hip and thigh with a great blow”
  6. Judges 15:17 That is, “Hill of the Jawbone”
  7. Judges 15:19 Literally “the spring of the one who called” or “En-hakkore”