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Samson Strikes Down the Philistines

15 Now it happened that after a while, in the time of the wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife (A)with a young goat and said, “I will go in to my wife in her room.” But her father did not let him enter. And her father said, “I really thought that you hated her intensely; so I (B)gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister better than she? Please let her be yours [a]instead.” Samson then 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 turned the foxes tail to tail and put one torch in the middle between two tails. Then he set fire to the torches and sent [b]the foxes into the standing grain of the Philistines. So he caused both the shocks and the standing grain, along with the vineyards and groves, to burn. Then the Philistines said, “Who did this?” And they said, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because [c]he took his wife and gave her to his companion.” So the Philistines came up and (C)burned her and her father with fire. Then Samson said to them, “If you act like this, then I will surely take revenge on you, but after that I will cease.” And he struck them [d]ruthlessly with a great slaughter; and he went down and lived in the cleft of the rock of Etam.

Then the Philistines went up and camped in Judah and spread out in Lehi. 10 So 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 (D)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 And they said to him, “We have come down to bind you so that we may give you into the hand of the Philistines.” And Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you yourselves will not [e]kill me.” 13 So they said to [f]him, “No, but we will bind you fast and give you into their hands; yet surely we will not put you to death.” 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 (E)the Spirit of Yahweh [g]came upon him mightily so that the ropes that were on his arms were as flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds [h]dropped from his hands. 15 And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, so he sent forth his hand and took it and struck down (F)1,000 men with it. 16 Then Samson said,

“With the jawbone of a donkey,
[i]Heaps upon heaps,
With the jawbone of a donkey
I have struck down 1,000 men.”

17 Now it happened that when he had finished speaking, he threw the jawbone from his hand; and he named that place [j]Ramath-lehi. 18 Then he became very thirsty, and he (G)called to Yahweh and said, “You have given this great salvation by the hand of Your slave, but now [k]shall I die of thirst [l]and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 So God split the hollow place that is in Lehi and water came out of it. Then he drank, (H)and his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore he named it [m]En-hakkore, which is in Lehi to this day. 20 And (I)he judged Israel twenty years in (J)the days of the Philistines.


  1. Judges 15:2 Lit instead of her
  2. Judges 15:5 Lit them
  3. Judges 15:6 The Timnite
  4. Judges 15:8 Lit leg on thigh
  5. Judges 15:12 Lit fall upon me
  6. Judges 15:13 Lit him, saying
  7. Judges 15:14 Lit succeeded, rushed upon
  8. Judges 15:14 Lit were melted
  9. Judges 15:16 Lit Heap, two heaps; Heb is same root as donkey
  10. Judges 15:17 Lit the high place of the jawbone
  11. Judges 15:18 Or I shall...uncircumcised
  12. Judges 15:18 Or or
  13. Judges 15:19 Lit the spring of him who called