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Judges 16 Good News Translation (GNT)

Samson at Gaza

16 One day Samson went to the Philistine city of Gaza, where he met a prostitute and went to bed with her. The people of Gaza found out that Samson was there, so they surrounded the place and waited for him all night long at the city gate. They were quiet all night, thinking to themselves, “We'll wait until daybreak, and then we'll kill him.” But Samson stayed in bed only until midnight. Then he got up and took hold of the city gate and pulled it up—doors, posts, lock, and all. He put them on his shoulders and carried them far off to the top of the hill overlooking Hebron.

Samson and Delilah

After this, Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in Sorek Valley. The five Philistine kings went to her and said, “Trick Samson into telling you why he is so strong and how we can overpower him, tie him up, and make him helpless. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.”

So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me what makes you so strong. If someone wanted to tie you up and make you helpless, how could he do it?”

Samson answered, “If they tie me up with seven new bowstrings that are not dried out, I'll be as weak as anybody else.”

So the Philistine kings brought Delilah seven new bowstrings that were not dried out, and she tied Samson up. She had some men waiting in another room, so she shouted, “Samson! The Philistines are coming!” But he snapped the bowstrings just as thread breaks when fire touches it. So they still did not know the secret of his strength.

10 Delilah told Samson, “Look, you've been making a fool of me and not telling me the truth. Please tell me how someone could tie you up.”

11 He told her, “If they tie me with new ropes that have never been used, I'll be as weak as anybody else.”

12 So Delilah got some new ropes and tied him up. Then she shouted, “Samson! The Philistines are coming!” The men were waiting in another room. But he snapped the ropes off his arms like thread.

13 Delilah said to Samson, “You're still making a fool of me and not telling me the truth. Tell me how someone could tie you up.”

He told her, “If you weave my seven locks of hair into a loom, and make it tight with a peg, I'll be as weak as anybody else.”

14 Delilah then lulled him to sleep, took his seven locks of hair, and wove them into the loom.[a] She made it tight with a peg and shouted, “Samson! The Philistines are coming!” But he woke up and pulled his hair loose from the loom.

15 So she said to him, “How can you say you love me, when you don't mean it? You've made a fool of me three times, and you still haven't told me what makes you so strong.” 16 She kept on asking him, day after day. He got so sick and tired of her bothering him about it 17 that he finally told her the truth. “My hair has never been cut,” he said. “I have been dedicated to God as a nazirite[b] from the time I was born. If my hair were cut, I would lose my strength and be as weak as anybody else.”

18 When Delilah realized that he had told her the truth, she sent a message to the Philistine kings and said, “Come back one more time. He has told me the truth.” Then they came and brought the money with them. 19 Delilah lulled Samson to sleep in her lap and then called a man, who cut off[c] Samson's seven locks of hair. Then she began to torment him, for he had lost his strength. 20 Then she shouted, “Samson! The Philistines are coming!” He woke up and thought, “I'll get loose and go free, as always.” He did not know that the Lord had left him. 21 The Philistines captured him and put his eyes out. They took him to Gaza, chained him with bronze chains, and put him to work grinding at the mill in the prison. 22 But his hair started growing back.

The Death of Samson

23 The Philistine kings met together to celebrate and offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon. They sang, “Our god has given us victory over our enemy Samson!” 24-25 They were enjoying themselves, and so they said, “Call Samson, and let's make him entertain us!”[d] When they brought Samson out of the prison, they made him entertain them[e] and made him stand between the columns. When the people saw him, they sang praise to their god: “Our god has given us victory over our enemy, who devastated our land and killed so many of us!” 26 Samson said to the boy who was leading him by the hand, “Let me touch the columns that hold up the building. I want to lean on them.” 27 The building was crowded with men and women. All five Philistine kings were there, and there were about three thousand men and women on the roof, watching Samson entertain them.[f]

28 Then Samson prayed, “Sovereign Lord, please remember me; please, God, give me my strength just this one time more, so that with this one blow I can get even with the Philistines for putting out my two eyes.” 29 So Samson took hold of the two middle columns holding up the building. Putting one hand on each column, he pushed against them 30 and shouted, “Let me die with the Philistines!” He pushed with all his might, and the building fell down on the five kings and everyone else. Samson killed more people at his death than he had killed during his life.

31 His brothers and the rest of his family came down to get his body. They took him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. He had been Israel's leader for twenty years.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 16:14 One ancient translation and make it tight (in verse 13) … into the loom (in verse 14); Hebrew does not have these words.
  2. Judges 16:17 See 13.5.
  3. Judges 16:19 Probable text who cut off; Hebrew and she cut off.
  4. Judges 16:24 make him entertain us; or make fun of him.
  5. Judges 16:24 made him entertain them; or made fun of him.
  6. Judges 16:27 entertain them; or and making fun of him.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Judges 16 New International Version (NIV)

Samson and Delilah

16 One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. The people of Gaza were told, “Samson is here!” So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, “At dawn we’ll kill him.”

But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.

Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels[a] of silver.”

So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.”

Samson answered her, “If anyone ties me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I’ll become as weak as any other man.”

Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she tied him with them. With men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the bowstrings as easily as a piece of string snaps when it comes close to a flame. So the secret of his strength was not discovered.

10 Then Delilah said to Samson, “You have made a fool of me; you lied to me. Come now, tell me how you can be tied.”

11 He said, “If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I’ll become as weak as any other man.”

12 So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them. Then, with men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the ropes off his arms as if they were threads.

13 Delilah then said to Samson, “All this time you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied.”

He replied, “If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” So while he was sleeping, Delilah took the seven braids of his head, wove them into the fabric 14 and[b] tightened it with the pin.

Again she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and pulled up the pin and the loom, with the fabric.

15 Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength. 16 With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it.

17 So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.”

18 When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. 19 After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him.[c] And his strength left him.

20 Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!”

He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.

21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. 22 But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.

The Death of Samson

23 Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.”

24 When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying,

“Our god has delivered our enemy
    into our hands,
the one who laid waste our land
    and multiplied our slain.”

25 While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them.

When they stood him among the pillars, 26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. 28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.

31 Then his brothers and his father’s whole family went down to get him. They brought him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had led[d] Israel twenty years.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 16:5 That is, about 28 pounds or about 13 kilograms
  2. Judges 16:14 Some Septuagint manuscripts; Hebrew replied, “I can if you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom.” 14 So she
  3. Judges 16:19 Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts and he began to weaken
  4. Judges 16:31 Traditionally judged
New International Version (NIV)

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