Samson’s Weakness

16 Now Samson went to (A)Gaza and saw a prostitute there, and had relations with her. When it was reported to the Gazites, saying, “Samson has come here,” they (B)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 (C)governors of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “(D)Entice him, and see where his great strength lies and [a]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 [b]how you can be bound to humble you.” And Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh [c]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 [d]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 [e]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 [f]how you may be bound.” 11 Then He said to her, “If they bind me tightly with new ropes [g]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 [h]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 [i]how you may be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my [j]hair with the [k]web [l][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 [m]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, “(E)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 [n]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 (F)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 (G)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 (H)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, (I)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 [o]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 [p]entertained them. And they made him stand between the pillars. 26 Then Samson said to the boy who was holding his hand, “[q]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 (J)Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “Lord [r]God, please remember me and please strengthen me just this time, O God, that I may at once (K)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 [s]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. (L)So he had judged Israel for twenty years.

Micah’s Idolatry

17 Now there was a man of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Micah. And he said to his mother, “The 1,100 pieces of silver that were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse and also spoke it in my hearing, behold, the silver is with me; I took it.” And his mother said, “Blessed be my son by the Lord.” He then returned the 1,100 pieces of silver to his mother, and his mother said, “I wholly consecrate the silver from my hand to the Lord for my son (M)to make a carved image and a cast metal image; so now I will return [t]them to you.” So when he returned the silver to his mother, his mother took two hundred pieces of silver and gave them to the silversmith, who made [u]them into a carved image and a cast metal image, and [v]they were in the house of Micah. And the man Micah had a [w](N)shrine and he made an (O)ephod and [x](P)household idols, and [y]consecrated one of his sons, (Q)so that he might become his priest. In those days (R)there was no king in Israel; (S)everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Now there was a young man from (T)Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite; and he was [z]staying there. Then the man left the city, Bethlehem in Judah, to [aa]stay wherever he would find a place; and as he made his journey, he came to the (U)hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah. Micah said to him, “Where do you come from?” And he said to him, “I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to [ab]stay wherever I may find a place.” 10 Micah then said to him, “Stay with me and be (V)a father and a priest to me, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year, a supply of clothing, and your sustenance.” So the Levite went in. 11 The Levite agreed to live with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons. 12 So Micah [ac]consecrated the Levite, and the young man (W)became his priest and [ad]lived in the house of Micah. 13 Then Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will prosper me, because I have a Levite as a priest.”

Danites Seek Territory

18 (X)In those days there was no king of Israel; and (Y)in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking an inheritance for themselves to live in, for until that day [ae]an inheritance had not [af]been allotted to them as a possession among the tribes of Israel. So the sons of Dan sent from their family five men out of their whole number, [ag]valiant men from (Z)Zorah and Eshtaol, to spy out the land and to explore it; and they said to them, “Go, explore the land.” And they came to (AA)the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and stayed overnight there. When they were near the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young man, the Levite; and they turned aside there and said to him, “Who brought you here? And what are you doing in this place? And what do you have here?” He said to them, “Micah has done this and that for me, and he has hired me and (AB)I have become his priest.” Then they said to him, “Inquire of God, please, that we may know whether our way on which we are going will be successful.” And the priest said to them, “Go in peace; your way in which you are going [ah]has the Lords approval.”

So the five men departed and came to (AC)Laish, and saw the people who were in it living in security, in the way of the Sidonians, quiet and unsuspecting; for there was no [ai]oppressive ruler humiliating them for anything in the land, and they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone. When they came back to their brothers at Zorah and Eshtaol, their brothers said to them, “What do you say?” And they said, “Arise, and let’s go up against them; for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. And will you [aj]sit still? Do not hesitate to go, to enter, to take possession of the land. 10 When you enter, you will come to an unsuspecting people with a spacious land; for God has handed it over to you, (AD)a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth.”

11 Then from the family of the Danites, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, six hundred men armed with weapons of war set out. 12 They went up and camped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. Therefore they called that place [ak](AE)Mahaneh-dan to this day; behold, it is [al]west of Kiriath-jearim. 13 And they passed from there to the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah.

Danites Take Micah’s Idols

14 Then the five men who went to spy out the country of Laish [am]said to their kinsmen, “Do you know that there are in these houses (AF)an ephod and [an]household idols, and a carved image and a cast metal image? Now then, consider what you should do.” 15 So they turned aside there and came to the house of the young man, the Levite, to the house of Micah, and asked [ao]him how he was doing. 16 Meanwhile, the six hundred men armed with their weapons of war, who were of the sons of Dan, were positioned at the entrance of the gate. 17 Now the five men who went to spy out the land went up and entered there; they took (AG)the carved image, the ephod, the [ap]household idols, and the cast metal image, while the priest was standing at the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men armed with weapons of war. 18 When these men entered Micah’s house and took the carved image, the ephod, [aq]household idols, and the cast metal image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?” 19 And they said to him, “Be silent, (AH)put your hand over your mouth, and go with us, and be to us (AI)a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?” 20 The priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod, the [ar]household idols, and the carved image, and went among the people.

21 Then they turned and left, and put the children, the livestock, and the valuables in front of them. 22 When they had distanced themselves from Micah’s house, the men who were in the houses near Micah’s house assembled by command and overtook the sons of Dan. 23 Then they called out to the sons of Dan, who turned [as]around and said to Micah, “What is the matter with you, that you have assembled together?” 24 And he said, “You have taken my gods which I made, and the priest, and have gone away; what more do I have? So how can you say to me, ‘What is the matter with you?’” 25 Then the sons of Dan said to him, “Do not let your voice be heard among us, or else [at]fierce men will attack you, and you will [au]lose your life and the lives of your household.” 26 So the sons of Dan went on their way; and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house.

27 Then they took what Micah had made and the priest who had belonged to him, and came to (AJ)Laish, to a people quiet and unsuspecting, and struck them with the edge of the sword; and they burned the city with fire. 28 And there was no one to save them, because it was far from Sidon and they had no dealings with anyone, and it was in the valley which is near (AK)Beth-rehob. So they rebuilt the city and lived in it. 29 And (AL)they named the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father who was born to Israel; however, the name of the city was previously Laish. 30 The sons of Dan set up for themselves (AM)the carved image; and Jonathan, the son of (AN)Gershom, the son of [av]Manasseh, (AO)he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land. 31 So they set up for themselves Micah’s carved image which he had made, all the time that the (AP)house of God was in Shiloh.


  1. Judges 16:5 Lit by what
  2. Judges 16:6 Lit by what
  3. Judges 16:7 I.e., of a butchered animal, that shrink and hold when drying
  4. Judges 16:8 See note v 7
  5. Judges 16:9 Lit smells
  6. Judges 16:10 Lit by what
  7. Judges 16:11 Lit with which work has not been done
  8. Judges 16:12 Lit them
  9. Judges 16:13 Lit by what
  10. Judges 16:13 Lit head
  11. Judges 16:13 I.e., in weaving, the warp of a loom
  12. Judges 16:13 The passage in brackets is found in LXX but not in any Heb mss
  13. Judges 16:14 Lit head
  14. Judges 16:16 Lit impatient to the point of
  15. Judges 16:25 Lit their heart was pleasant
  16. Judges 16:25 Lit made sport before them
  17. Judges 16:26 Or Let go of me, and let me feel
  18. Judges 16:28 Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord
  19. Judges 16:30 Lit my soul
  20. Judges 17:3 Lit it
  21. Judges 17:4 Lit it
  22. Judges 17:4 Lit it was
  23. Judges 17:5 Lit house of gods
  24. Judges 17:5 Heb teraphim
  25. Judges 17:5 Lit filled the hand of
  26. Judges 17:7 Or sojourning
  27. Judges 17:8 Or sojourn
  28. Judges 17:9 Or sojourn
  29. Judges 17:12 Lit filled the hand of
  30. Judges 17:12 Lit was
  31. Judges 18:1 Lit it
  32. Judges 18:1 Lit fallen
  33. Judges 18:2 Lit men, sons of valor
  34. Judges 18:6 Lit is before the Lord
  35. Judges 18:7 Or oppressive conqueror; lit possessor of oppression
  36. Judges 18:9 Lit be
  37. Judges 18:12 I.e., the camp of Dan
  38. Judges 18:12 Lit behind
  39. Judges 18:14 Lit answered and said
  40. Judges 18:14 Heb teraphim
  41. Judges 18:15 Lit his well-being
  42. Judges 18:17 Heb teraphim
  43. Judges 18:18 Heb teraphim
  44. Judges 18:20 Heb teraphim
  45. Judges 18:23 Lit their faces
  46. Judges 18:25 Lit bitter of soul
  47. Judges 18:25 Lit take away
  48. Judges 18:30 Some ancient versions Moses

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