Philistines Oppress Again
13 Now Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.
2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was infertile and had no children. 3 And the [a]Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are infertile and have no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son. 4 Therefore, be careful not to drink wine or [any other] intoxicating drink, and do not eat anything [ceremonially] unclean. 5 For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a [b]Nazirite [dedicated] to God from birth; and he shall begin to rescue Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” 6 Then the woman went and told her husband, saying, “A Man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the Angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask Him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name. 7 But He said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or [any other] intoxicating drink, nor eat anything [ceremonially] unclean, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from birth to the day of his death.’”
8 Then Manoah pleaded with the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do for the boy who is to be born.” 9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah; and the Angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field, but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the Man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.” 11 Then Manoah got up and followed his wife, and came to the Man and said to him, “Are you the Man who spoke to this woman?” He said, “I am.” 12 And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what shall be the boy’s manner of life, and his vocation?” 13 The Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “The woman must pay attention to everything that I said to her. 14 She may not eat anything that comes from the vine nor drink wine or [any other] intoxicating drink, nor eat anything [ceremonially] unclean. She shall observe everything that I commanded her.”
15 Then Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain you and let us prepare a young goat for you [to eat].” 16 The Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Though you detain me, I will not eat your 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 Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that when your words come true, we may honor you?” 18 But the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful (miraculous)?”(A) 19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to the Lord, and He performed miracles while Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 For when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the Angel of the Lord ascended in the altar flame. When Manoah and his wife saw this they fell on their faces to the ground.
21 The Angel of the Lord did not appear again to Manoah or his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the Angel of the Lord. 22 So Manoah said to his wife, “We will certainly die, because we have seen God.” 23 But his [sensible] wife said to him, “If the Lord had desired to kill us, He would not have received a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have announced such things as these at this time.”
24 So the woman [in due time] gave birth to a son and named him Samson; and the boy grew and the Lord blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to [c]stir him at times in [d]Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
14 Samson went down to Timnah and at Timnah he saw a woman, one of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 So he went back and told his father and his mother, “I saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines; now get her for me as a wife.” 3 But his father and mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised (pagan) Philistines?” And Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, because she [e]looks pleasing to me.” 4 His father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord, and that He was seeking an occasion [to take action] against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.
5 Then Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother [to arrange the marriage], and they came as far as the vineyards of Timnah; and [f]suddenly, a young lion came roaring toward him. 6 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, and he tore the lion apart as one tears apart a young goat, and he had nothing at all in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done. 7 So he went down and talked with the woman; and she looked pleasing to Samson. 8 When he returned later to take her, he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion; and behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the body of the lion. 9 So he scraped the honey out into his hands and went on, eating as he went. When he came to his father and mother, he gave them some, and they ate it; but he did not tell them he had taken the honey from the body of the lion.
10 His father went down to the woman, and Samson prepared a feast there, for that was the customary thing for young men to do. 11 When the people saw him, they brought thirty companions (wedding attendants) to be with him.
12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me now ask you a riddle; if you can tell me what it is within the seven days of the feast, and solve it, then I will give you thirty linen tunics (undergarments) and thirty changes of [outer] clothing. 13 But if you are unable to tell me [the answer], then you shall give me thirty linen tunics (undergarments) and thirty changes of [outer] clothing.” And they said to him, “Ask 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.”
And they could not solve the riddle in three days.
15 Then on the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, “Persuade your husband to tell us [through you] the [answer to the] riddle, or we will burn you and your father’s household with fire. Have you invited us to make us poor? Is this not true?” 16 So Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You only hate me, you do not love me; you have asked my countrymen a riddle, and have not told [the answer] to me.” And he said to her, “Listen, I have not told my father or my mother [either], so [why] should I tell you?” 17 However Samson’s wife wept before him seven days while their [wedding] feast lasted, and on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard. Then she told the [answer to the] riddle to her countrymen. 18 So the men of the city said to Samson on the seventh day before sundown,
“What is sweeter than honey?
What is stronger than a lion?”
And he said to them,
“If you had not plowed with [g]my heifer,
You would not have solved my riddle.”
19 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their gear, and gave changes of clothes to those who had explained the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house. 20 But Samson’s wife was given to his [h]companion who had been his friend.
Samson Burns Philistine Crops
15 But after a while, in the time of wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife with a young goat [as a gift of reconciliation]; and he said, “I will go in to my wife in her room.” But her father would not allow him to go in. 2 Her father said, “I really thought you utterly hated her; so I gave her to your companion. Is her younger sister not more beautiful than she? Please take her [as your wife] instead.” 3 Samson said to them, “This time I shall be blameless in regard to the Philistines when I do them harm.” 4 So Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches and turning the foxes tail to tail, he put a torch between each pair of tails. 5 When he had set the torches ablaze, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and he burned up the heap of sheaves and the standing grain, along with the vineyards and olive groves. 6 Then the Philistines said, “Who did this?” And they were told, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he took Samson’s wife and gave her to his [chief] companion [at the wedding feast].” So the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire. 7 Samson said to them, “If this is the way you act, be certain that I will take revenge on you, and [only] after that I will stop.” 8 Then he struck them [i]without mercy, a great slaughter; and he went down and lived in the cleft of the rock of Etam.
9 Then the [army of the] Philistines came up and camped in [the tribal territory of] Judah, and overran Lehi (Jawbone). 10 The men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” And they answered, “We have come up to bind Samson, in order to do to him as he has done to us.” 11 Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Have you not known that the Philistines are rulers over us? What is this that you have done to us?” He said to them, “As they did to me, so I have done to them.” 12 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 [j]kill me.” 13 So they said to him, “No, we will [only] bind you securely and place you into their hands; but we certainly will not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock [of Etam].
14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, and the ropes on his arms were like flax (linen) that had been burned, and his bonds [k]dropped off his hands. 15 He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, so he reached out his hand and took it and killed a thousand men with it. 16 Then Samson said,
“With the jawbone of a donkey,
Heaps upon heaps,
With the jawbone of a donkey
I have struck down a thousand men.”
17 When he finished speaking, he threw the jawbone from his hand; and he named that place Ramath-lehi (hill of the jawbone). 18 Then Samson was very thirsty, and he called out to the Lord and said, “You have given this great victory through the hand of Your servant, and now am I to die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised (pagans)?” 19 So God split open the hollow place that was at Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his spirit (strength) returned and he was revived. Therefore he named it En-hakkore (spring which is calling), which is at Lehi to this day. 20 And Samson judged Israel in the days of [occupation by] the Philistines for twenty years.(B)
- Judges 13:3 “Angel” has been capitalized here to reflect the likelihood that it is God appearing in a visible form (see v 22 and note Gen 16:7).
- Judges 13:5 The rules and regulations for a Nazirite are stated in Num 6:2-21. Ordinarily a person would take the vow of a Nazirite for a limited period of time as a voluntary act of dedication to God, but Samson’s was a special, divinely-ordained case.
- Judges 13:25 Or trouble.
- Judges 13:25 I.e. the camp of Dan.
- Judges 14:3 Lit is right in my eyes.
- Judges 14:5 Lit behold.
- Judges 14:18 Samson was accusing them of forcing the answer out of his wife.
- Judges 14:20 I.e. the chief attendant at the wedding feast.
- Judges 15:8 Lit leg on thigh.
- Judges 15:12 Lit fall upon.
- Judges 15:14 Lit melted.