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Judges 15Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Samson’s Revenge

15 Later on, during the wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat as a gift and visited his wife. “I want to go to my wife in her room,” he said. But her father would not let him enter.

“I was sure you hated her,” her father said, “so I gave her to one of the men who accompanied you. Isn’t her younger sister more beautiful than she is? Why not take her instead?”

Samson said to them, “This time I won’t be responsible when I harm the Philistines.” So he went out and caught 300 foxes. He took torches, turned the foxes tail-to-tail, and put a torch between each pair of tails. Then he ignited the torches and released the foxes into the standing grain of the Philistines. He burned up the piles of grain and the standing grain as well as the vineyards and olive groves.

Then the Philistines asked, “Who did this?”

They were told, “It was Samson, the Timnite’s son-in-law, because he has taken Samson’s wife and given her to another man.” So the Philistines went to her and her father and burned them to death.

Then Samson told them, “Because you did this, I swear that I won’t rest until I have taken vengeance on you.” He tore them limb from limb[a] with a great slaughter, and he went down and stayed in the cave at the rock of Etam.

The Philistines went up, camped in Judah, and raided Lehi. 10 So the men of Judah said, “Why have you attacked us?”

They replied, “We have come to arrest Samson and pay him back for what he did to us.”

11 Then 3,000 men of Judah went to the cave at the rock of Etam, and they asked Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines rule over us? What have you done to us?”

“I have done to them what they did to me,” he answered.[b]

12 They said to him, “We’ve come to arrest you and hand you over to the Philistines.”

Then Samson told them, “Swear to me that you yourselves won’t kill me.”

13 “No,” they said,[c] “we won’t kill you, but we will tie you up securely and hand you over to them.” So they tied him up with two new ropes and led him away from the rock.

14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came to meet him shouting. The Spirit of the Lord took control of[d] him, and the ropes that were on his arms became like burnt flax and his bonds fell off his wrists. 15 He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached out his hand, took it, and killed 1,000 men with it. 16 Then Samson said:

With the jawbone of a donkey
I have piled them in a heap.
With the jawbone of a donkey
I have killed 1,000 men.

17 When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone and named that place Ramath-lehi.[e] 18 He became very thirsty and called out to the Lord: “You have accomplished this great victory through[f] Your servant. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 So God split a hollow place in the ground at Lehi, and water came out of it. After Samson drank, his strength returned, and he revived. That is why he named it En-hakkore,[g] which is in Lehi to this day. 20 And he judged Israel 20 years in the days of the Philistines.


  1. Judges 15:8 Lit He struck them hip on thigh
  2. Judges 15:11 Lit answered them
  3. Judges 15:13 Lit said to him
  4. Judges 15:14 Lit Lord rushed on
  5. Judges 15:17 = High Place of the Jawbone
  6. Judges 15:18 Lit through the hand of
  7. Judges 15:19 = Spring of the One Who Cried Out

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