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Samson and Delilah

16 Samson went down to Gaza; there he saw a prostitute and had sex with her.[a] The Gazites were told, “Samson has come here,” so they surrounded the place and lay in ambush for him all night at the city gate. They kept silent all night, saying, “We will wait until the morning light, and then we will kill him.” But Samson lay until the middle of the night; he got up in the middle of the night and took hold of the doors of the city gate and the two door posts, tore them loose with the bar, put them on his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of the hill that is in front of[b] Hebron.

After this he fell in love with a woman in the wadi[c] of Sorek, and her name was Delilah. And the rulers of the Philistines came up to her and said, “Entice him and find out what makes his strength so great, and how we can overpower him, so that we may bind him up in order to subdue him; each of us will give you eleven hundred pieces of silver. So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me what makes your strength so great, and with what can you be tied up to subdue you?” Samson said to her, “If you tie me up with seven fresh bowstrings that are not dried up, I will become weak like everyone else.” So the rulers of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings that were not dried up, and she tied him up with them. The ambush was sitting in wait for her in an inner room. And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you Samson!” And he snapped the bowstrings just as flax fiber snaps when it comes close to fire. And the secret of his strength remained unknown. 10 Delilah said to Samson, “Look, you have mocked me and told me lies. Please tell me how you can be bound.” 11 He said to her, “If they tie me tightly with new ropes that have not been used, I will become weak and be like everyone else.” 12 So Delilah took new ropes and tied him up with them, and she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” (The ambush was sitting in an inner room.) But he snapped them from his arms like thread.

13 And Delilah said to Samson, “Until now you have mocked me and told lies to me. Tell me how you can be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave seven locks of my head with warp-threads.”[d] 14 She fastened it with the pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And Samson woke up from his sleep and tore loose the loom pin of the web and the warp-threads.[e]

15 And she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me how your strength is so great.” 16 And because she nagged him day after day with her words, and pestered him, his soul grew impatient to the point of death.[f] 17 So he confided everything to her,[g] and he said to her, “A razor has never touched[h] my head, for I am a Nazirite of God[i] from birth.[j] If I am shaved my strength will leave me, and I will become weak, like everyone else.

18 Delilah realized that he had confided in her,[k] so she sent and called the rulers of the Philistines, saying, “Come up one more time, for he has confided in me.”[l] And the rulers of the Philistines came up, and they brought the money with them.[m] 19 And she put him to sleep on her lap; then she called the men[n] and shaved off seven locks of his head. Then she began to subdue him,[o] and his strength went away from him. 20 And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he woke up from his sleep and said, “I will go out just like every other time and shake myself free,” but he did not know that Yahweh had left him. 21 And the Philistines seized him, gouged his eyes, and brought him to Gaza. They tied him up with bronze shackles, and he became a grinder in the prison.[p] 22 But the hair of his head began to grow back after it had been shaved off.

23 The rulers of the Philistines had gathered to sacrifice a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice. And they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.” 24 And the people saw him, and they praised their god, for they said, “Our god has given into our hand those who hate us, devastate our land, and have killed many of us.”[q] 25 After awhile, when their hearts[r] were merry, they said, “Call Samson and let him entertain us.” And they called Samson from the prison,[s] and he entertained them.[t] And they made him stand between the pillars. 26 Then Samson said to the servant who was holding him by his hand, “Position me so that I can touch the pillars on which the house[u] rests, so I can lean on them.” 27 And the house[v] was full of men and women, and all of the rulers of the Philistines were there—about three thousand men and women were on the roof watching the performance of Samson.

Samson’s Revenge

28 And Samson called to Yahweh and said, “My Lord Yahweh, remember me! Please give me strength this one time, O God, so that I can repay with one act of revenge to the Philistines for my eyes.” 29 And Samson reached out and held two of the middle pillars on which the house[w] was resting, and he leaned on them, one on his right and one on his left. 30 And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” And he pushed[x] with all his strength, and the house[y] fell on the rulers and all of the people who were with him. And the dead whom he killed in his death were more than those he killed in his life.

31 His brothers and his whole family[z] came down and picked him up; and they brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father; he judged Israel twenty years.


  1. Judges 16:1 Literally “went into her”
  2. Judges 16:3 Literally “on the face of”
  3. Judges 16:4 A valley that is dry most of the year, but contains a stream during the rainy season
  4. Judges 16:13 Many modern translations include an additional phrase found in the Greek translation: “and fasten it with a pin, then I will become weak and be like everyone else. So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his head and wove them”
  5. Judges 16:14 Hebrew “warp-thread”
  6. Judges 16:16 Literally “his inner self grew tired/impatient to death”
  7. Judges 16:17 Literally “he told her all his heart”
  8. Judges 16:17 Literally “has never gone up”
  9. Judges 16:17 Literally “consecrated of God” or “devoted of God”
  10. Judges 16:17 Literally “from the womb of my mother”
  11. Judges 16:18 Literally “he had told her all his heart”
  12. Judges 16:18 Literally “he has told me all his heart”
  13. Judges 16:18 Literally “in their hand”
  14. Judges 16:19 Hebrew “man”
  15. Judges 16:19 Or “humiliate him”
  16. Judges 16:21 Literally “in the house of the prisoners”
  17. Judges 16:24 Literally “made numerous our slain”
  18. Judges 16:25 Hebrew “heart”
  19. Judges 16:25 Literally “from the house of the prisoner”
  20. Judges 16:25 Literally “he made sport before them”
  21. Judges 16:26 Or “temple”
  22. Judges 16:27 Or “temple”
  23. Judges 16:29 Or “temple”
  24. Judges 16:30 Or “he caused to bend”
  25. Judges 16:30 Or “temple”
  26. Judges 16:31 Literally “all the house of his father”