Philistines Oppress Again

13 Now the sons of Israel (A)again did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord handed them over to the Philistines for forty years.

And there was a man of (B)Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was infertile and had not given birth to any children. (C)Then the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold now, you are infertile and have not given birth; but you will conceive and give birth to a son. And now, be careful (D)not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any [a]unclean thing. (E)For behold, you will conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a (F)Nazirite to God from the womb; and he will begin to save Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, “(G)A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. So I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. But he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any [b]unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”

Then Manoah pleaded with the Lord and said, “Lord, please let (H)the man of God whom You have sent come to us again so that he may teach us what we are to do for the boy who is to be born.” And God listened to the voice of Manoah; and (I)the angel of God came again to the woman as she was sitting in the field, but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 So the woman hurried and ran, and told her [c]husband, “Behold, (J)the man who [d]came the other day has appeared to me!” 11 So Manoah got up and followed his wife, and when he came to the man he said to him, “Are you (K)the man who spoke to the woman?” And he said, “I am.” 12 Then Manoah said, “Now when your words [e]are fulfilled, what shall be the boy’s way of life and his vocation?” 13 And (L)the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “(M)The woman shall pay attention [f]to all that I said. 14 She shall not eat anything that comes from the (N)vine nor drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing; she shall keep all that I commanded.”

15 Then Manoah said to (O)the angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain you so that we may prepare a young goat for you.” 16 But the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Though you detain me, (P)I will not eat your [g]food, but if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord.” For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord. 17 And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “(Q)What is your name, so that when your words [h]are fulfilled, we may honor you?” 18 But the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, for it is [i](R)wonderful?” 19 So (S)Manoah took the young goat along with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to the Lord; and He performed wonders while Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 For it came about when the flame went up from the altar toward heaven, that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they (T)fell on their faces to the ground.

21 Now the angel of the Lord did not appear to Manoah or his wife again. (U)Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. 22 So Manoah said to his wife, “(V)We will certainly die, for we have seen God.” 23 But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have (W)shown us all these things, nor would He have let us hear things like this at this time.”

24 So the woman gave birth to a son, and named him Samson; and the (X)child grew up and the Lord blessed him. 25 And (Y)the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him when he was in [j](Z)Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Samson’s Marriage

14 Then Samson went down to Timnah, and he saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines. So he came [k]back and told his father and [l]mother, “I saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines; so now, get her for me as a wife.” But his father and his mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your (AA)relatives, or among all [m]our people, that you go to (AB)take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” Yet Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, because she is right [n]for me.” However, his father and mother did not know that (AC)this was of the Lord, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. And at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.

Then Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came as far as the vineyards of Timnah; and behold, a young lion came roaring toward him. And (AD)the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, so that (AE)he tore it apart as one tears apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done. So he went down and talked to the woman; and she [o]looked pleasing to Samson. When he returned later to take her, he turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion; and behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the body of the lion. So he took out [p]the honey on his [q]hands and went on, eating as he went. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them and they ate it; but he did not tell them that he had took the honey out of the body of the lion.

10 Then his father went down to the woman; and Samson held a feast there, for the young men customarily did this. 11 When they saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him.

Samson’s Riddle

12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me now (AF)propose a riddle for you; if you actually tell me [r]the answer within the seven days of the feast, and solve it, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty (AG)outfits of clothes. 13 But if you are unable to tell me, then you shall give me thirty linen wraps and thirty outfits of clothes.” And they said to him, “Propose your riddle, so that we may hear it.” 14 So he said to them,

“Out of the eater came something to eat,
And out of the strong came something sweet.”

But they could not tell the answer to the riddle in three days.

15 Then it came about on the [s]fourth day that they said to Samson’s wife, “(AH)Entice your husband, so that he will tell us the riddle, (AI)or we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us? Is this not so?” 16 So Samson’s wife wept in front of him and said, “(AJ)You only hate me, and you do not love me; you have proposed a riddle to the sons of my people, and have not told it to me.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told it to my father or mother; so should I tell you?” 17 However she wept before him for seven days while their feast lasted. And on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard. She then told the riddle to the sons of her people. 18 So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,

“What is sweeter than honey?
And what is stronger than a lion?”

And he said to them,

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
You would not have found out my riddle.”

19 Then (AK)the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty men of them and took what they were wearing and gave the outfits of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house. 20 But Samson’s wife was (AL)given to his companion who had been his [t]friend.

Samson Burns Philistine Crops

15 But after a while, in the time of wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife (AM)with a young goat, and said, “I will go in to my wife in her room.” But her father did not let him enter. Her father said, “I really thought that you hated her intensely; so I (AN)gave her to your companion. Is her younger sister not [u]more beautiful than she? Please let her be yours [v]instead.” Samson then said to them, “This time I will have been blameless regarding the Philistines when I do them harm.” And Samson went and caught three hundred jackals, and took torches, and turned the jackals tail to tail and put one torch in the middle between two tails. When he had set fire to the torches, he released the jackals into the standing grain of the Philistines and set fire to both the bundled heaps and the standing grain, along with the vineyards and olive groves. Then the Philistines said, “Who did this?” And some said, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because [w]he took his wife and gave her to his companion.” So the Philistines came up and (AO)burned her and her father to death with fire. Then Samson said to them, “If this is how you act, I will certainly take revenge on you, and only after that will I stop.” So he struck them [x]ruthlessly with a great slaughter; and afterward 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 three thousand men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Do you not know (AP)that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then 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 Then they said to him, “We have come down to bind you so that we may hand you over to the Philistines.” And Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not [y]kill me.” 13 So they said to [z]him, “No, but we will bind you tightly and give you into their hands; but we certainly will not kill you.” 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 (AQ)the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him so that the ropes that were on his arms were like flax that has burned with fire, and his restraints [aa]dropped from his hands. 15 Then he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, so he reached out with his hand and took it, and [ab]killed (AR)a thousand men with it. 16 And Samson said,

“With the jawbone of a donkey,
[ac]Heaps upon heaps,
With the jawbone of a donkey
I have [ad]killed a thousand men.”

17 When he had finished speaking, he threw the jawbone from his hand; and he named that place [ae]Ramath-lehi. 18 Then he became very thirsty, and he (AS)called to the Lord and said, “You have [af]handed this great [ag]victory over to Your servant, and now [ah]am I to die of thirst [ai]and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 But God split the hollow place that is in Lehi so that water came out of it. When he drank, (AT)his [aj]strength returned and he revived. Therefore he named it [ak]En-hakkore, which is in Lehi to this day. 20 So (AU)he judged Israel for twenty years in (AV)the days of the Philistines.

Samson’s Weakness

16 Now Samson went to (AW)Gaza and saw a prostitute there, and had relations with her. When it was reported to the Gazites, saying, “Samson has come here,” they (AX)surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the gate of the city. And they kept silent all night, saying, “Let’s wait until the morning light, then we will kill him.” Now Samson lay asleep until midnight, and at midnight he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate and the two doorposts, and pulled them up along with the bars; then he put them on his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of the mountain which is opposite Hebron.

After this it came about that he was in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. So the (AY)governors of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “(AZ)Entice him, and see where his great strength lies and [al]how we can overpower him so that we may bind him to humble him. Then we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and [am]how you can be bound to humble you.” And Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh [an]animal tendons that have not been dried, then I will become weak and be like any other man.” Then the governors of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh [ao]animal tendons that had not been dried, and she bound him with them. Now she had men prepared for an ambush in an inner room. And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he tore the tendons to pieces just like a thread of flax is torn apart when it [ap]comes too close to fire. So his strength was not discovered.

10 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Behold, you have toyed with me and told me lies; now please tell me [aq]how you may be bound.” 11 Then He said to her, “If they bind me tightly with new ropes [ar]which have not been used, then I will become weak and be like any other man.” 12 So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” For the men in the ambush were waiting in the inner room. But he tore [as]the ropes from his arms like thread.

13 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Up to now you have toyed with me and told me lies; tell me [at]how you may be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my [au]hair with the [av]web [aw][and fasten it with the pin, then I will be weak like any other man.” 14 So while he slept, Delilah wove the seven locks of his [ax]hair with the web]. And she fastened it with the pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled out the pin of the loom and the web.

Delilah Extracts His Secret

15 Then she said to him, “(BA)How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have toyed with me these three times and have not told me where your great strength is.” 16 And it came about, when she pressed him daily with her words and urged him, that his soul was [ay]annoyed to death. 17 So he told her all that was in his heart and said to her, “A razor has never come on my head, for I have been a (BB)Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me and I will become weak and be like any other man.”

18 When Delilah saw that he had told her all that was in his heart, she sent word and called the governors of the Philistines, saying, “Come up once more, for he has told me all that is in his heart.” Then the governors of the Philistines came up to her and brought up the money in their hands. 19 And she made him sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to humble him, and his strength left him. 20 She said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that (BC)the Lord had departed from him. 21 Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and restrained him with bronze chains, and he became a grinder in the prison. 22 However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it was shaved off.

23 Now the governors of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to (BD)Dagon their god, and to celebrate, for they said,

“Our god has handed Samson our enemy over to us.”

24 When the people saw him, (BE)they praised their god, for they said,

“Our god has handed our enemy over to us,
Even the destroyer of our country,
Who has killed many of us.”

25 It so happened when [az]they were in high spirits, that they said, “Call for Samson, that he may amuse us.” So they called for Samson from the prison, and he [ba]entertained them. And they made him stand between the pillars. 26 Then Samson said to the boy who was holding his hand, “[bb]Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, so that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the house was full of men and women, and all the governors of the Philistines were there. And about three thousand men and women were on the roof looking on while Samson was entertaining them.

Samson Is Avenged

28 (BF)Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “Lord [bc]God, please remember me and please strengthen me just this time, O God, that I may at once (BG)take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and braced himself against them, the one with his right hand and the other with his left. 30 And Samson said, “Let [bd]me die with the Philistines!” And he pushed outwards powerfully, so that the house fell on the governors and all the people who were in it. And the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed during his lifetime. 31 Then his brothers and all his father’s household came down and took him, and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. (BH)So he had judged Israel for twenty years.


  1. Judges 13:4 I.e., ritually unclean
  2. Judges 13:7 I.e., ritually unclean
  3. Judges 13:10 Lit husband, and said to him
  4. Judges 13:10 Lit came to me
  5. Judges 13:12 Lit come
  6. Judges 13:13 Lit from
  7. Judges 13:16 Lit bread
  8. Judges 13:17 Lit come
  9. Judges 13:18 I.e., incomprehensible
  10. Judges 13:25 I.e., the camp of Dan
  11. Judges 14:2 Lit up
  12. Judges 14:2 Lit mother, and said,
  13. Judges 14:3 Lit my
  14. Judges 14:3 Lit in my eyes
  15. Judges 14:7 Lit was right in Samson’s eyes
  16. Judges 14:9 Lit it
  17. Judges 14:9 Lit palms
  18. Judges 14:12 Lit it
  19. Judges 14:15 As in some ancient versions; MT seventh
  20. Judges 14:20 Or best man
  21. Judges 15:2 Lit better
  22. Judges 15:2 Lit instead of her
  23. Judges 15:6 I.e., the Timnite
  24. Judges 15:8 Lit thigh on loin
  25. Judges 15:12 Lit fall upon me yourselves
  26. Judges 15:13 Lit him, saying
  27. Judges 15:14 Lit melted
  28. Judges 15:15 Lit struck
  29. Judges 15:16 Lit Heap, two heaps; Heb is same root as donkey
  30. Judges 15:16 Lit struck
  31. Judges 15:17 I.e., the high place of the jawbone
  32. Judges 15:18 Or given...victory by the hand of Your
  33. Judges 15:18 Lit deliverance
  34. Judges 15:18 Or I shall...uncircumcised
  35. Judges 15:18 Or or
  36. Judges 15:19 Lit spirit
  37. Judges 15:19 I.e., the spring of him who called
  38. Judges 16:5 Lit by what
  39. Judges 16:6 Lit by what
  40. Judges 16:7 I.e., of a butchered animal, that shrink and hold when drying
  41. Judges 16:8 See note v 7
  42. Judges 16:9 Lit smells
  43. Judges 16:10 Lit by what
  44. Judges 16:11 Lit with which work has not been done
  45. Judges 16:12 Lit them
  46. Judges 16:13 Lit by what
  47. Judges 16:13 Lit head
  48. Judges 16:13 I.e., in weaving, the warp of a loom
  49. Judges 16:13 The passage in brackets is found in LXX but not in any Heb mss
  50. Judges 16:14 Lit head
  51. Judges 16:16 Lit impatient to the point of
  52. Judges 16:25 Lit their heart was pleasant
  53. Judges 16:25 Lit made sport before them
  54. Judges 16:26 Or Let go of me, and let me feel
  55. Judges 16:28 Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord
  56. Judges 16:30 Lit my soul

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