Juges (NAB) 9
9 1 Abimelech, son of Jerubbaal, went to his mother's kinsmen in Shechem, and said to them and to the whole clan to which his mother's family belonged,2 "Put this question to all the citizens of Shechem: 'Which is better for you: that seventy men, or all Jerubbaal's sons, rule over you, or that one man rule over you?' You must remember that I am your own flesh and bone."3 When his mother's kin repeated these words to them on his behalf, all the citizens of Shechem sympathized with Abimelech, thinking, "He is our kinsman."4 They also gave him seventy silver shekels from the temple of Baal of Berith, with which Abimelech hired shiftless men and ruffians as his followers.5 He then went to his ancestral house in Ophrah, and slew his brothers, the seventy sons of Jerubbaal, on one stone. Only the youngest son of Jerubbaal, Jotham, escaped, for he was hidden.6 Then all the citizens of Shechem and all Beth-millo came together and proceeded to make Abimelech king by the terebinth at the memorial pillar in Shechem.
7 When this was reported to him, Jotham went to the top of Mount Gerizim, and standing there, cried out to them in a loud voice: "Hear me, citizens of Shechem, that God may then hear you!8 Once the trees went to anoint a king over themselves. So they said to the olive tree, 'Reign over us.'9 But the olive tree answered them, 'Must I give up my rich oil, whereby men and gods are honored, and go to wave over the trees?' 10 Then the trees said to the fig tree, 'Come; you reign over us!'11 But the fig tree answered them, 'Must I give up my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?'12 Then the trees said to the vine, 'Come you, and reign over us.'13 But the vine answered them, 'Must I give up my wine that cheers gods and men, and go to wave over the trees?' 14 Then all the trees said to the buckthorn, 'Come; you reign over us!'15 But the buckthorn replied to the trees, 'If you wish to anoint me king over you in good faith, come and take refuge in my shadow. Otherwise, let fire come from the buckthorn and devour the cedars of Lebanon.'16 "Now then, if you have acted in good faith and honorably in appointing Abimelech your king, if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and with his family, and if you have treated him as he deserved-- 17 for my father fought for you at the risk of his life when he saved you from the power of Midian;18 but you have risen against his family this day and have killed his seventy sons upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his handmaid, king over the citizens of Shechem, because he is your kinsman-- 19 if, then, you have acted in good faith and with honor toward Jerubbaal and his family this day, rejoice in Abimelech and may he in turn rejoice in you.20 But if not, let fire come forth from Abimelech to devour the citizens of Shechem and Beth-millo, and let fire come forth from the citizens and from Beth-millo to devour Abimelech."21 Then Jotham went in flight to Beer, where he remained for fear of his brother Abimelech.
22 When Abimelech had ruled Israel for three years,23 God put bad feelings between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem, who rebelled against Abimelech.24 This was to repay the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal and to avenge their blood upon their brother Abimelech, who killed them, and upon the citizens of Shechem, who encouraged him to kill his brothers.25 The citizens of Shechem then set men in ambush for him on the mountaintops, and these robbed all who passed them on the road. But it was reported to Abimelech.26 Now Gaal, son of Ebed, came over to Shechem with his kinsmen. The citizens of Shechem put their trust in him,27 and went out into the fields, harvested their grapes and trod them out. Then they held a festival and went to the temple of their god, where they ate and drank and cursed Abimelech.28 Gaal, son of Ebed, said, "Who is Abimelech? And why should we of Shechem serve him? Were not the son of Jerubbaal and his lieutenant Zebul once subject to the men of Hamor, father of Shechem? Why should we serve him?29 Would that this people were entrusted to my command! I would depose Abimelech. I would say to Abimelech, 'Get a larger army and come out!'"30 At the news of what Gaal, son of Ebed, had said, Zebul, the ruler of the city, was angry31 and sent messengers to Abimelech in Arumah with the information: "Gaal, son of Ebed, and his kinsmen have come to Shechem and are stirring up the city against you.32 Now rouse yourself; set an ambush tonight in the fields, you and the men who are with you.33 Promptly at sunrise tomorrow morning, make a raid on the city. When he and his followers come out against you, deal with him as best you can."34 During the night Abimelech advanced with all his soldiers and set up an ambush for Shechem in four companies.35 Gaal, son of Ebed, went out and stood at the entrance of the city gate. When Abimelech and his soldiers rose from their place of ambush,36 Gaal saw them and said to Zebul, "There are men coming down from the hilltops!" But Zebul answered him, "You see the shadow of the hills as men."37 But Gaal went on to say, "Men are coming down from the region of Tabbur-Haares, and one company is coming by way of Elon-Meonenim."38 Zebul said to him, "Where now is the boast you uttered, 'Who is Abimelech that we should serve him?' Are these not the men for whom you expressed contempt? Go out now and fight with them."39 So Gaal went out at the head of the citizens of Shechem and fought against Abimelech.40 But Abimelech routed him, and he fled before him; and many fell slain right up to the entrance of the gate.41 Abimelech returned to Arumah, but Zebul drove Gaal and his kinsmen from Shechem, which they had occupied.42 The next day, when the people were taking the field, it was reported to Abimelech,43 who divided the men he had into three companies, and set up an ambush in the fields. He watched till he saw the people leave the city, and then rose against them for the attack.44 Abimelech and the company with him dashed in and stood by the entrance of the city gate, while the other two companies rushed upon all who were in the field and attacked them.45 That entire day Abimelech fought against the city, and captured it. He then killed its inhabitants and demolished the city, sowing the site with salt. 46 When they heard of this, all the citizens of Migdal-shechem went into the crypt of the temple of El-berith.47 It was reported to Abimelech that all the citizens of Migdal-shechem were gathered together.48 So he went up Mount Zalmon with all his soldiers, took his axe in his hand, and cut down some brushwood. This he lifted to his shoulder, then said to the men with him, "Hurry! Do just as you have seen me do."49 So all the men likewise cut down brushwood, and following Abimelech, placed it against the crypt. Then they set the crypt on fire over their heads, so that every one of the citizens of Migdal-shechem, about a thousand men and women, perished.
50 Abimelech proceeded to Thebez, which he invested and captured.51 Now there was a strong tower in the middle of the city, and all the men and women, in a word all the citizens of the city, fled there, shutting themselves in and going up to the roof of the tower.52 Abimelech came up to the tower and fought against it, advancing to the very entrance of the tower to set it on fire.53 But a certain woman cast the upper part of a millstone down on Abimelech's head, and it fractured his skull.54 He immediately called his armor-bearer and said to him, "Draw your sword and dispatch me, lest they say of me that a woman killed me." So his attendant ran him through and he died.55 When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they all left for their homes.56 Thus did God requite the evil Abimelech had done to his father in killing his seventy brothers.57 God also brought all their wickedness home to the Shechemites, for the curse of Jotham, son of Jerubbaal, overtook them.
10 1 After Abimelech there rose to save Israel the Issacharite Tola, son of Puah, son of Dodo, a resident of Shamir in the mountain region of Ephraim.2 When he had judged Israel twenty-three years, he died and was buried in Shamir.
3 Jair the Gileadite came after him and judged Israel twenty-two years.4 He had thirty sons who rode on thirty saddle-asses and possessed thirty cities in the land of Gilead; these are called Havvoth-jair to the present day. 5 Jair died and was buried in Kamon.
6 The Israelites again offended the LORD, serving the Baals and Ashtaroths, the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines. Since they had abandoned the LORD and would not serve him,7 the LORD became angry with Israel and allowed them to fall into the power of (the Philistines and) the Ammonites.8 For eighteen years they afflicted and oppressed the Israelites in Bashan, and all the Israelites in the Amorite land beyond the Jordan in Gilead.9 The Ammonites also crossed the Jordan to fight against Judah, Benjamin, and the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was in great distress.
10 Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD, "We have sinned against you; we have forsaken our God and have served the Baals."11 The LORD answered the Israelites: "Did not the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines,12 the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Midianites oppress you? Yet when you cried out to me, and I saved you from their grasp,13 you still forsook me and worshiped other gods. Therefore I will save you no more.14 Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen; let them save you now that you are in distress."15 But the Israelites said to the LORD, "We have sinned. Do to us whatever you please. Only save us this day."16 And they cast out the foreign gods from their midst and served the LORD, so that he grieved over the misery of Israel.17 The Ammonites had gathered for war and encamped in Gilead, while the Israelites assembled and encamped in Mizpah.18 And among the people the princes of Gilead said to one another, "The one who begins the war against the Ammonites shall be leader of all the inhabitants of Gilead."
11 1 There was a chieftain, the Gileadite Jephthah, born to Gilead of a harlot.2 Gilead's wife had also borne him sons, and on growing up the sons of the wife had driven Jephthah away, saying to him, "You shall inherit nothing in our family, for you are the son of another woman."3 So Jephthah had fled from his brothers and had taken up residence in the land of Tob. A rabble had joined company with him, and went out with him on raids.
4 Some time later, the Ammonites warred on Israel.5 When this occurred the elders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah from the land of Tob.6 "Come," they said to Jephthah, "be our commander that we may be able to fight the Ammonites."7 "Are you not the ones who hated me and drove me from my father's house?" Jephthah replied to the elders of Gilead. "Why do you come to me now, when you are in distress?"8 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "In any case, we have now come back to you; if you go with us to fight against the Ammonites, you shall be the leader of all of us who dwell in Gilead."9 Jephthah answered the elders of Gilead, "If you bring me back to fight against the Ammonites and the LORD delivers them up to me, I shall be your leader."10 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "The LORD is witness between us that we will do as you say."11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him their leader and commander. In Mizpah, Jephthah settled all his affairs before the LORD.
12 Then he sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites to say, "What have you against me that you come to fight with me in my land?"13 He answered the messengers of Jephthah, "Israel took away my land from the Arnon to the Jabbok and the Jordan when they came up from Egypt. Now restore the same peaceably."14 Again Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites,15 saying to him, "This is what Jephthah says: Israel did not take the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites.16 For when they came up from Egypt, Israel went through the desert to the Red Sea and came to Kadesh.17 Israel then sent messengers to the king of Edom saying, 'Let me pass through your land.' But the king of Edom did not give consent. They also sent to the king of Moab, but he too was unwilling. So Israel remained in Kadesh.18 Then they went through the desert, and by-passing the land of Edom and the land of Moab, went east of the land of Moab and encamped across the Arnon. Thus they did not go through the territory of Moab, for the Arnon is the boundary of Moab.19 Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon, king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon. Israel said to him, 'Let me pass through your land to my own place.'20 But Sihon refused to let Israel pass through his territory. On the contrary, he gathered all his soldiers, who encamped at Jahaz and fought Israel.21 But the LORD, the God of Israel, delivered Sihon and all his men into the power of Israel, who defeated them and occupied all the land of the Amorites dwelling in that region,22 the whole territory from the Arnon to the Jabbok, from the desert to the Jordan.23 If now the LORD, the God of Israel, has cleared the Amorites out of the way of his people, are you to dislodge Israel?24 Should you not possess that which your god Chemosh gave you to possess, and should we not possess all that the LORD, our God, has cleared out for us? 25 Again, are you any better than Balak, son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever quarrel with Israel, or did he war against them26 when Israel occupied Heshbon and its villages, Aroer and its villages, and all the cities on the banks of the Arnon? Three hundred years have passed; why did you not recover them during that time?27 I have not sinned against you, but you wrong me by warring against me. Let the LORD, who is judge, decide this day between the Israelites and the Ammonites!"
28 But the king of the Ammonites paid no heed to the message Jephthah sent him.
29 The spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah. He passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and through Mizpah-Gilead as well, and from there he went on to the Ammonites.30 Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. "If you deliver the Ammonites into my power," he said, 31 "whoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites shall belong to the LORD. I shall offer him up as a holocaust."32 Jephthah then went on to the Ammonites to fight against them, and the LORD delivered them into his power,33 so that he inflicted a severe defeat on them, from Aroer to the approach of Minnith (twenty cities in all) and as far as Abel-keramin. Thus were the Ammonites brought into subjection by the Israelites.
34 When Jephthah returned to his house in Mizpah, it was his daughter who came forth, playing the tambourines and dancing. She was an only child: he had neither son nor daughter besides her.35 When he saw her, he rent his garments and said, "Alas, daughter, you have struck me down and brought calamity upon me. For I have made a vow to the LORD and I cannot retract."36 "Father," she replied, "you have made a vow to the LORD. Do with me as you have vowed, because the LORD has wrought vengeance for you on your enemies the Ammonites."
37 Then she said to her father, "Let me have this favor. Spare me for two months, that I may go off down the mountains to mourn my virginity with my companions." 38 "Go," he replied, and sent her away for two months. So she departed with her companions and mourned her virginity on the mountains.39 At the end of the two months she returned to her father, who did to her as he had vowed. She had not been intimate with man. It then bacame a custom in Israel40 for Israelite women to go yearly to mourn the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite for four days of the year.
12 1 The men of Ephraim gathered together and crossed over to Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, "Why do you go on to fight with the Ammonites without calling us to go with you? We will burn your house over you."2 Jephthah answered them, "My soldiers and I were engaged in a critical contest with the Ammonites. I summoned you, but you did not rescue me from their power.3 When I saw that you would not effect a rescue, I took my life in my own hand and went on to the Ammonites, and the LORD delivered them into my power. Why, then, do you come up against me this day to fight with me?"4 Then Jephthah called together all the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim, whom they defeated; for the Ephraimites had said, "You of Gilead are Ephraimite fugitives in territory belonging to Ephraim and Manasseh."5 The Gileadites took the fords of the Jordan toward Ephraim. When any of the fleeing Ephraimites said, "Let me pass," the men of Gilead would say to him, "Are you an Ephraimite?" If he answered, "No!"6 they would ask him to say "Shibboleth." If he said "Sibboleth," not being able to give the proper pronunciation, they would seize him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. Thus forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell at that time. 7 After having judged Israel for six years, Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in his city in Gilead.
8 After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel.9 He had thirty sons. He also had thirty daughters married outside the family, and he brought in as wives for his sons thirty young women from outside the family. After having judged Israel for seven years,10 Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.
11 After him the Zebulunite Elon judged Israel. When he had judged Israel for ten years,12 the Zebulunite Elon died and was buried in Elon in the land of Zebulun.
13 After him the Pirathonite Abdon, son of Hillel, judged Israel.14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy saddle-asses. After having judged Israel for eight years,15 the Pirathonite Abdon, son of Hillel, died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim on the mountain of the Amalekites.
13 1 The Israelites again offended the LORD, who therefore delivered them into the power of the Philistines for forty years.
2 There was a certain man from Zorah, of the clan of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren and had borne no children.3 An angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, "Though you are barren and have had no children, yet you will conceive and bear a son.4 Now, then, be careful to take no wine or strong drink and to eat nothing unclean.5 As for the son you will conceive and bear, no razor shall touch his head, for this boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb. It is he who will begin the deliverance of Israel from the power of the Philistines."
6 The woman went and told her husband, "A man of God came to me; he had the appearance of an angel of God, terrible indeed. I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name.7 But he said to me, 'You will be with child and will bear a son. So take neither wine nor strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy shall be consecrated to God from the womb, until the day of his death.'"
8 Manoah then prayed to the LORD. "O LORD, I beseech you," he said, "may the man of God whom you sent, return to us to teach us what to do for the boy who will be born."9 God heard the prayer of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she was sitting in the field. Since her husband Manoah was not with her,10 the woman ran in haste and told her husband. "The man who came to me the other day has appeared to me," she said to him;11 so Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he reached the man, he said to him, "Are you the one who spoke to my wife?" "Yes," he answered.12 Then Manoah asked, "Now, when that which you say comes true, what are we expected to do for the boy?"13 The angel of the LORD answered Manoah, "Your wife is to abstain from all the things of which I spoke to her.14 She must not eat anything that comes from the vine, nor take wine or strong drink, nor eat anything unclean. Let her observe all that I have commanded her."
15 Then Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, "Can we persuade you to stay, while we prepare a kid for you?"16 But the angel of the LORD answered Manoah, "Although you press me, I will not partake of your food. But if you will, you may offer a holocaust to the LORD."Not knowing that it was the angel of the LORD,17 Manoah said to him, "What is your name, that we may honor you when your words come true?"18 The angel of the LORD answered him, "Why do you ask my name, which is mysterious?" 19 Then Manoah took the kid with a cereal offering and offered it on the rock to the LORD, whose works are mysteries. While Manoah and his wife were looking on,20 as the flame rose to the sky from the altar, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell prostrate to the ground;21 but the angel of the LORD was seen no more by Manoah and his wife. Then Manoah, realizing that it was the angel of the LORD,22 said to his wife, "We will certainly die, for we have seen God."23 But his wife pointed out to him, "If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a holocaust and cereal offering from our hands! Nor would he have let us see all this just now, or hear what we have heard."
24 The woman bore a son and named him Samson. The boy grew up and the LORD blessed him;25 the spirit of the LORD first stirred him in Mahaneh-dan, which is between Zorah and Eshtaol.
14 1 Samson went down to Timnah and saw there one of the Philistine women. 2 On his return he told his father and mother, "There is a Philistine woman I saw in Timnah whom I wish you to get as a wife for me."3 His father and mother said to him, "Can you find no wife among your kinsfolk or among all our people, that you must go and take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?" But Samson answered his father, "Get her for me, for she pleases me."4 Now his father and mother did not know that this had been brought about by the LORD, who was providing an opportunity against the Philistines; for at that time they had dominion over Israel.
5 So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother. When they had come to the vineyards of Timnah, a young lion came roaring to meet him. 6 But the spirit of the LORD came upon Samson, and although he had no weapons, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a kid.7 However, on the journey to speak for the woman, he did not mention to his father or mother what he had done.
8 Later, when he returned to marry the woman who pleased him, he stepped aside to look at the remains of the lion and found a swarm of bees and honey in the lion's carcass.9 So he scooped the honey out into his palms and ate it as he went along. When he came to his father and mother, he gave them some to eat, without telling them that he had scooped the honey from the lion's carcass.
10 His father also went down to the woman, and Samson gave a banquet there, since it was customary for the young men to do this.11 When they met him, they brought thirty men to be his companions.
12 Samson said to them, "Let me propose a riddle to you. If within the seven days of the feast you solve it for me successfully, I will give you thirty linen tunics and thirty sets of garments.13 But if you cannot answer it for me, you must give me thirty tunics and thirty sets of garments." "Propose your riddle," they responded; "we will listen to it."
14 So he said to them, "Out of the eater came forth food, and out of the strong came forth sweetness." After three days' failure to answer the riddle,
15 they said on the fourth day to Samson's wife, "Coax your husband to answer the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your family. Did you invite us here to reduce us to poverty?"16 At Samson's side, his wife wept and said, "You must hate me; you do not love me, for you have proposed a riddle to my countrymen, but have not told me the answer." He said to her, "If I have not told it even to my father or my mother, must I tell it to you?"17 But she wept beside him during the seven days the feast lasted. On the seventh day, since she importuned him, he told her the answer, and she explained the riddle to her countrymen.18 On the seventh day, before the sun set, the men of the city said to him, "What is sweeter than honey, and what is stronger than a lion?" He replied to them, "If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle."19 The spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, where he killed thirty of their men and despoiled them; he gave their garments to those who had answered the riddle. Then he went off to his own family in anger,20 and Samson's wife was married to the one who had been best man at his wedding.
15 1 After some time, in the season of the wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife, bringing a kid. But when he said, "Let me be with my wife in private," her father would not let him enter,2 saying, "I thought it certain you wished to repudiate her; so I gave her to your best man. Her younger sister is more beautiful than she; you may have her instead."3 Samson said to them, "This time the Philistines cannot blame me if I harm them."4 So Samson left and caught three hundred foxes. Turning them tail to tail, he tied between each pair of tails one of the torches he had at hand.5 He then kindled the torches and set the foxes loose in the standing grain of the Philistines, thus burning both the shocks and the standing grain, and the vineyards and olive orchards as well.
6 When the Philistines asked who had done this, they were told, "Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because his wife was taken and given to his best man." So the Philistines went up and destroyed her and her family by fire.7 Samson said to them, "If this is how you act, I will not stop until I have taken revenge on you."8 And with repeated blows, he inflicted a great slaughter on them. Then he went down and remained in a cavern of the cliff of Etam.
9 The Philistines went up and, from a camp in Judah, deployed against Lehi.10 When the men of Judah asked, "Why have you come up against us?" they answered, "To take Samson prisoner; to do to him as he has done to us."11 Three thousand men of Judah went down to the cavern in the cliff of Etam and said to Samson, "Do you not know that the Philistines are our rulers? Why, then, have you done this to us?" He answered them, "As they have done to me, so have I done to them."12 They said to him, "We have come to take you prisoner, to deliver you over to the Philistines." Samson said to them, "Swear to me that you will not kill me yourselves."13 "No," they replied,"we will certainly not kill you but will only bind you and deliver you over to them." So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the cliff.14 When he reached Lehi, and the Philistines came shouting to meet him, the spirit of the LORD came upon him: the ropes around his arms became as flax that is consumed by fire and his bonds melted away from his hands.15 Near him was the fresh jawbone of an ass; he reached out, grasped it, and with it killed a thousand men.
16 Then Samson said, "With the jawbone of an ass I have piled them in a heap; With the jawbone of an ass I have slain a thousand men."
17 As he finished speaking he threw the jawbone from him; and so that place was named Ramath-lehi.
18 Being very thirsty, he cried to the LORD and said, "You have granted this great victory by the hand of your servant. Must I now die of thirst or fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?"19 Then God split the cavity in Lehi, and water issued from it, which Samson drank till his spirit returned and he revived. Hence that spring in Lehi is called En-hakkore to this day. 20 Samson judged Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.
16 1 Once Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a harlot and visited her.2 Informed that Samson had come there, the men of Gaza surrounded him with an ambush at the city gate all night long. And all the night they waited, saying, "Tomorrow morning we will kill him."3 Samson rested there until midnight. Then he rose, seized the doors of the city gate and the two gateposts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He hoisted them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the ridge opposite Hebron.
4 After that he fell in love with a woman in the Wadi Sorek whose name was Delilah.5 The lords of the Philistines came to her and said, "Beguile him and find out the secret of his great strength, and how we may overcome and bind him so as to keep him helpless. We will each give you eleven hundred shekels of silver."
6 So Delilah said to Samson, "Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you may be bound so as to be kept helpless."7 "If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings which have not dried," Samson answered her, "I shall be as weak as any other man."8 So the lords of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings which had not dried, and she bound him with them.9 She had men lying in wait in the chamber and so she said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" But he snapped the strings as a thread of tow is severed by a whiff of flame; and the secret of his strength remained unknown.
10 Delilah said to Samson, "You have mocked me and told me lies. Now tell me how you may be bound."11 "If they bind me tight with new ropes, with which no work has been done," he answered her, "I shall be as weak as any other man."12 So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them. Then she said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" For there were men lying in wait in the chamber. But he snapped them off his arms like thread.
13 Delilah said to Samson again, "Up to now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you may be bound." He said to her, "If you weave my seven locks of hair into the web and fasten them with the pin, I shall be as weak as any other man."14 So while he slept, Delilah wove his seven locks of hair into the web, and fastened them in with the pin. Then she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" Awakening from his sleep, he pulled out both the weaver's pin and the web.
15 Then she said to him, "How can you say that you love me when you do not confide in me? Three times already you have mocked me, and not told me the secret of your great strength!"16 She importuned him continually and vexed him with her complaints till he was deathly weary of them.17 So he took her completely into his confidence and told her, "No razor has touched my head, for I have been consecrated to God from my mother's womb. If I am shaved, my strength will leave me, and I shall be as weak as any other man."
18 When Delilah saw that he had taken her completely into his confidence, she summoned the lords of the Philistines, saying, "Come up this time, for he has opened his heart to me." So the lords of the Philistines came and brought up the money with them.19 She had him sleep on her lap, and called for a man who shaved off his seven locks of hair. Then she began to mistreat him, for his strength had left him.20 When she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!", and he woke from his sleep, he thought he could make good his escape as he had done time and again, for he did not realize that the LORD had left him.21 But the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes. Then they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze fetters, and he was put to grinding in the prison.
22 But the hair of his head began to grow as soon as it was shaved off.
23 The lords of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon and to make merry. They said, "Our god has delivered into our power Samson our enemy." 24 When the people saw him, they praised their god. For they said, "Our god has delivered into our power our enemy, the ravager of our land, the one who has multiplied our slain." Then they stationed him between the columns.25 When their spirits were high, they said, "Call Samson that he may amuse us." So they called Samson from the prison, and he played the buffoon before them.26 Samson said to the attendant who was holding his hand, "Put me where I may touch the columns that support the temple and may rest against them."27 The temple was full of men and women: all the lords of the Philistines were there, and from the roof about three thousand men and women looked on as Samson provided amusement.
28 Samson cried out to the LORD and said, "O Lord GOD, remember me! Strengthen me, O God, this last time that for my two eyes I may avenge myself once and for all on the Philistines."
29 Samson grasped the two middle columns on which the temple rested and braced himself against them, one at his right hand, the other at his left.30 And Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" He pushed hard, and the temple fell upon the lords and all the people who were in it. Those he killed at his death were more than those he had killed during his lifetime.31 All his family and kinsmen went down and bore him up for burial in the grave of his father Manoah between Zorah and Eshtaol. He had judged Israel for twenty years.
Juges (NAB) 9