15 Later, during the time of the wheat harvest, Samson tried to return to his wife, bringing with him a young goat.
Samson: I want to go in and be with my wife.
But his father-in-law refused.
Samson’s Father-in-law: 2 When you left us, I thought you didn’t want her anymore. So I gave her to your companion from the feast. Anyway her younger sister is much prettier than she is. Why don’t you take her instead?
Samson: 3 This time no one will blame me when I hurt the Philistines.
4 Samson went and caught 300 foxes. Tying them tail-to-tail, he put a torch between each pair of tails 5 so that when they were lit, the foxes ran into the fields of the Philistines and burned everything up. The grain standing in the fields burned, as well as the grain that had been gathered up along with the olive groves and the vineyards.
Philistines (seeing the disaster): 6 Who did this?
Other Philistines: Samson, the son-in-law of the man from Timnah, because he gave Samson’s wife away to his best man.
So the Philistines went and set their house afire, and Samson’s wife and her father were burned alive.
Samson: 7 Is this how it’s going to be? Then I won’t stop until I have taken great revenge on you.
8 So he fought them mercilessly and killed many of them. And then he went and hid out in a cave near the rock of Etam.
9 A company of Philistines went up then and camped in Judah, where they made a raid against Lehi.
Men of Judah (to the company of Philistines): 10 Why are you doing this?
Philistines: We’ve come up to capture Samson, to make him suffer the way he has made us suffer.
Then 3,000 men of Judah went to the rock of Etam to talk to Samson.
Men of Judah (to Samson): 11 Are you crazy? The Philistines are our masters! They have the upper hand. Don’t you know what you’re doing to us?
Samson: I’m only paying them back for what they have done to me.
Men of Judah: 12 We’ve come to capture you and take you to the Philistines.
Samson: Will you swear not to kill me yourselves?
Men of Judah: 13 We agree not to kill you, but we will tie you up and hand you over to them.
So they tied him with two new ropes and led him away from the cave near the rock of Etam. 14 When the Philistines at Lehi saw them coming, they raised a mighty shout and ran to seize Samson. At that moment, the Spirit of the Eternal came upon Samson, and he immediately had great strength. He broke free of the ropes on his arms, as if they were no more than string burned with fire, and the bonds fell from his hands. 15 Grabbing up a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he began fighting them. That day he killed 1,000 Philistines.
16 Samson (singing): With the jawbone of a donkey,
I have piled them high.
With the jawbone of a donkey,
I have killed 1,000 men.
17 When he finished his triumphant song, he threw away the jawbone, and he called that place Ramath-lehi, “the high place of the jawbone.” 18 He was now very thirsty from his exertion, and he cried to the Eternal.
Samson: You have given this great victory into my hands. But am I going to die of thirst now and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised Philistines?
19 Then God split open a place in the rock at Lehi so that water gushed out. When Samson drank, he found his strength returned and his spirit revived. So that place was called En-hakkore, “the spring of the one who called,” and it is still in Lehi to this day.
20 Samson judged and delivered Israel during the days of the Philistines for 20 years.