Judges 16International Children’s Bible (ICB)
Samson Goes to the City of Gaza
16 One day Samson went to Gaza. He saw a prostitute there. He went in to spend the night with her. 2 Someone told the people of Gaza, “Samson has come here!” So they surrounded the place and hid and waited for him. Remaining very quiet, they stayed near the city gate all night. They said to each other, “When dawn comes, we will kill Samson!”
3 But Samson only stayed with the prostitute until midnight. Then he got up and took hold of the doors and the two posts of the city gate. He tore them loose, along with the bar. Then he put them on his shoulders. And he carried them to the top of the hill that faces the city of Hebron!
Samson and Delilah
4 After this, Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah. She lived in the Valley of Sorek. 5 The kings of the Philistines went to Delilah. They said, “Try to find out what makes Samson so strong. Try to trick him into telling you. Find out how we could capture him and tie him up. Then we will be able to control him. If you do this, each one of us will give you 28 pounds of silver.”
6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me why you are so strong. How could someone tie you up and take control of you?”
7 Samson answered, “Someone would have to tie me up. He would have to use seven new bowstrings that have not been dried. If he did that, I would be as weak as any other man.”
8 Then the kings of the Philistines brought seven new bowstrings to Delilah. They had not been dried. She tied Samson with them. 9 Some men were hiding in another room. Delilah said to Samson, “Samson, the Philistines are about to capture you!” But Samson easily broke the bowstrings. They broke like pieces of string burned in a fire. So the Philistines did not find out the secret of Samson’s strength.
10 Then Delilah said to Samson, “You’ve made me look foolish. You lied to me. Please tell me. How could someone tie you up?”
11 Samson said, “They would have to tie me with new ropes that have not been used before. Then I would become as weak as any other man.”
12 So Delilah took new ropes and tied Samson. Some men were hiding in another room. Then she called out to him, “Samson, the Philistines are about to capture you!” But he broke the ropes as easily as if they were threads.
13 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Until now, you have made me look foolish. You have lied to me. Tell me how someone could tie you up.”
He said, “Use the loom.[a] Weave the seven braids of my hair into the cloth. Tighten it with a pin. Then I will become as weak as any other man.”
Then Samson went to sleep. So Delilah wove the seven braids of his hair into the cloth. 14 Then she fastened it with a pin.
Again she called out to him, “Samson, the Philistines are about to capture you!” Samson woke up and pulled up the pin and the loom with the cloth.
15 Then Delilah said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you don’t even trust me? This is the third time you have made me look foolish. You haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” 16 She kept bothering Samson about his secret day after day. He became so tired of it he felt he was going to die!
17 So he told her everything. He said, “I have never had my hair cut. I have been set apart to God as a Nazirite since I was born. If someone shaved my head, then I would lose my strength. I would become as weak as any other man.”
18 Delilah saw that he had told her everything sincerely. So she sent a message to the kings of the Philistines. She said, “Come back one more time. He has told me everything.” So the kings of the Philistines came back to Delilah. They brought the silver they had promised to give her. 19 Delilah got Samson to go to sleep. He was lying in her lap. Then she called in a man to shave off the seven braids of Samson’s hair. In this way she began to make him weak. And Samson’s strength left him.
20 Then she called out to him, “Samson, the Philistines are about to capture you!”
He woke up and thought, “I’ll get loose as I did before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.
21 Then the Philistines captured Samson. They tore out his eyes. And they took him down to Gaza. They put bronze chains on him. They put him in prison and made him grind grain. 22 But his hair began to grow again.
23 The kings of the Philistines gathered to celebrate. They were going to offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon. They said, “Our god has given us Samson our enemy.” 24 When they saw him, they praised their god. They said,
“This man destroyed our country.
25 The people were having a good time at the celebration. They said, “Bring Samson out to perform for us.” So they brought Samson from the prison. He performed for them. They made him stand between the pillars of the temple of Dagon. 26 A servant was holding his hand. Samson said to him, “Let me feel the pillars that hold up the temple. I want to lean against them.” 27 Now the temple was full of men and women. All the kings of the Philistines were there. There were about 3,000 men and women on the roof.[b] They watched Samson perform. 28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord. He said, “Lord God, remember me. God, please give me strength one more time. Let me pay these Philistines back for putting out my two eyes!” 29 Then Samson held the two center pillars of the temple. These two pillars supported the whole temple. He braced himself between the two pillars. His right hand was on one, and his left hand was on the other. 30 Samson said, “Let me die with these Philistines!” Then he pushed as hard as he could. And the temple fell on the kings and all the people in it. So Samson killed more of the Philistines when he died than when he was alive.
31 Samson’s brothers and his whole family went down to get his body. They brought him back and buried him in the tomb of Manoah, his father. That tomb is between the cities of Zorah and Eshtaol. Samson was a judge for the people of Israel for 20 years.
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