1Some time later Samson went to visit his wife during the wheat harvest and took her a young goat. He said to her father, “I want to go to my wife's room.”
But he wouldn't let him go in. 2He said to Samson, “I really thought that you hated her, so I gave her to your friend. But her younger sister is prettier, anyway. You can have her, instead.”
3Samson said, “This time I'm not going to be responsible for what I do to the Philistines!” 4So he went and caught 300 foxes. Two by two, he tied their tails together and put torches in the knots. 5Then he set fire to the torches and turned the foxes loose in the Philistine cornfields. In this way he burnt up not only the corn that had been harvested but also the corn that was still in the fields, and the olive orchards as well. 6When the Philistines asked who had done this, they learnt that Samson had done it because his father-in-law, a man from Timnah, had given Samson's wife to a friend of Samson's. So the Philistines went and burnt the woman to death and burnt down her father's house.
7Samson told them, “So this is how you act! I swear that I won't stop until I pay you back!” 8He attacked them fiercely and killed many of them. Then he went and stayed in the cave in the cliff at Etam.
Samson Defeats the Philistines
9The Philistines came and made camp in Judah, and attacked the town of Lehi. 10The men of Judah asked them, “Why are you attacking us?”
They answered, “We came to take Samson prisoner and to treat him as he treated us.” 11So 3,000 men of Judah went to the cave in the cliff at Etam and said to Samson, “Don't you know that the Philistines are our rulers? What have you done to us?”
He answered, “I did to them just what they did to me.”
12They said, “We have come here to tie you up, so that we can hand you over to them.”
Samson said, “Give me your word that you won't kill me yourselves.”
13“All right,” they said, “we are only going to tie you up and hand you over to them. We won't kill you.” So they tied him up with two new ropes and brought him back from the cliff.
14When he got to Lehi, the Philistines came running towards him, shouting at him. Suddenly the power of the LORD made him strong, and he broke the ropes round his arms and hands as if they were burnt thread. 15Then he found the jawbone of a donkey that had recently died. He bent down and picked it up, and killed a thousand men with it. 16So Samson sang,
“With the jawbone of a donkey I killed a thousand men;
With the jawbone of a donkey I piled them up in piles.”
17After that, he threw the jawbone away. The place where this happened was named Ramath Lehi.
18Then Samson became very thirsty, so he called to the LORD and said, “You gave me this great victory; am I now going to die of thirst and be captured by these heathen Philistines?” 19Then God opened a hollow place in the ground there at Lehi, and water came out of it. Samson drank it and began to feel much better. So the spring was named Hakkore; it is still there at Lehi.
20Samson led Israel for twenty years while the Philistines ruled the land.
Samson at Gaza
1One day Samson went to the Philistine city of Gaza, where he met a prostitute and went to bed with her. 2The 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.” 3But 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 all the way to the top of the hill overlooking Hebron.
Samson and Delilah
4After this, Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in the Valley of Sorek. 5The 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 1,100 pieces of silver.”
6So 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?”
7Samson answered, “If they tie me up with seven new bowstrings that are not dried out, I'll be as weak as anybody else.”
8So the Philistine kings brought Delilah seven new bowstrings that were not dried out, and she tied Samson up. 9She 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.
10Delilah said to 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.”
11He answered, “If they tie me with new ropes that have never been used, I'll be as weak as anybody else.”
12So 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.
13Delilah 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 answered, “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.”
14Delilah then lulled him to sleep, took his seven locks of hair, and wove them into the loom. 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.
15So 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.” 16She kept on asking him, day after day. He got so sick and tired of her nagging him about it 17that he finally told her the truth. “My hair has never been cut,” he said. “I have been dedicated to God as a Nazirite from the time I was born. If my hair were cut, I would lose my strength and be as weak as anybody else.”
18When Delilah realized that he had told her the truth, she sent a message to the Philistine kings and said, “Come back just once more. He has told me the truth.” Then they came and brought the money with them. 19Delilah lulled Samson to sleep in her lap and then called a man, who cut off Samson's seven locks of hair. Then she began to torment him, for he had lost his strength. 20Then 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. 21The 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. 22But his hair started growing again.
The Death of Samson
23The 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!” 24-25They were enjoying themselves, so they said, “Call Samson, and let's make him entertain us!” When they brought Samson out of the prison, they made him entertain them and made him stand between the pillars. 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!” 26Samson said to the boy who was leading him by the hand, “Let me touch the pillars that hold up the building. I want to lean on them.” 27The building was crowded with men and women. All five Philistine kings were there, and there were about 3,000 men and women on the roof, watching Samson entertain them.
28Then Samson prayed, “Sovereign LORD, please remember me; please, God, give me my strength just once more, so that with this one blow I can get even with the Philistines for putting out my two eyes.” 29So Samson took hold of the two middle pillars holding up the building. Putting one hand on each pillar, he pushed against them 30and 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.
31His 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.
1There was once a man named Micah, who lived in the hill country of Ephraim. 2He said to his mother, “When someone stole those 1,100 pieces of silver from you, you put a curse on the thief. I heard you do it. Look, I have the money. I am the one who took it.”
His mother said, “May the LORD bless you, my son!” 3He gave the money back to his mother, and she said, “To stop the curse from falling on my son, I myself am solemnly dedicating the silver to the LORD. It will be used to make a wooden idol covered with silver. So now I will give the pieces of silver back to you.” 4Then he gave them back to his mother. She took 200 of the pieces of silver and gave them to a metalworker, who made an idol, carving it from wood and covering it with the silver. It was placed in Micah's house.
5This man Micah had his own place of worship. He made some idols and an ephod, and appointed one of his sons as his priest. 6There was no king in Israel at that time; all the people did just as they pleased.
7At that same time there was a young Levite who had been living in the town of Bethlehem in Judah. 8He left Bethlehem to find somewhere else to live. While he was travelling, he came to Micah's house in the hill country of Ephraim. 9Micah asked him, “Where do you come from?”
He answered, “I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah. I am looking for somewhere to live.”
10Micah said, “Stay with me. Be my adviser and priest, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year, some clothes, and your food.”11The young Levite agreed to stay with Micah and became like a son to him. 12Micah appointed him as his priest, and he lived in Micah's home. 13Micah said, “Now that I have a Levite as my priest, I know that the LORD will make things go well for me.”