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15 After a number of days, during the wheat harvest, Samson came to visit his wife and brought a kid goat with him. He said, “Let me go in to my wife’s room,” but her father did not let him go in.

Her father said, “I was so convinced that you hated her that I gave her to your companion. Isn’t her younger sister better than she is? Please take her for yourself instead of her older sister.”

Samson said to them, “I am not responsible for the harm I am about to do to the Philistines.” Then Samson went and captured three hundred foxes,[a] took torches, tied the foxes tail to tail, and fastened a torch between each pair of tails. He set fire to the torches and released the foxes into the standing grain of the Philistines. He burned up sheaves of grain, the standing grain, the vineyards, and the olive groves.

The Philistines asked, “Who did this?” They were told, “Samson, the son-in-law of the man from Timnah, did it, because the man took Samson’s wife and gave her to his companion.” So the Philistines went up and burned her and her father to death.

At that, Samson said to them, “Since you would do something like this, I will take revenge on you. Then I will stop.” He ripped them to pieces[b] in a devastating attack. Then he went down and stayed in the cleft in the Rock of Etam.

Meanwhile the Philistines went up, set up camp in Judah, and occupied the territory around Lehi. 10 The men of Judah asked, “Why have you come up against us?”

They said, “We have come up to tie up Samson—to do to him as he did to us.”

11 So three thousand men from Judah went down to the cleft in the Rock of Etam. They said to Samson, “Don’t you know that the Philistines are now ruling over us? So what is this you have done to us?”

Samson answered them, “As they did to me, so I did to them.”

12 They said to him, “We have come down to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines.”

Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not attack me yourselves.”

13 They said to him, “We will not. We will indeed tie you up and hand you over to them, but we will not kill you.” Then they tied him up with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock.

14 When Samson came to Lehi, the Philistines came to meet him, shouting a war cry. But then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon Samson, and the ropes around his shoulders were like flax charred by fire, and the ropes melted off his wrists. 15 Samson found the fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached out his hand, and took it. With it he struck down a thousand men.

16 Samson said:

With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps![c]

With the jawbone of a donkey I have struck down a thousand men.

17 When he finished speaking, he threw the jawbone out of his hand, and he named the place Ramath Lehi.[d]

18 Then he became very thirsty, and he called to the Lord, “You placed this great victory into the hand of your servant. Shall I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 Then God split the hollow that is in Lehi, and water came out of it. Samson drank, his vitality was restored, and he was revived. For this reason he called the place En Hakkore,[e] which remains in Lehi to this day.

20 Samson judged Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.

Footnotes

  1. Judges 15:4 Or jackals
  2. Judges 15:8 Literally he struck them leg upon thigh
  3. Judges 15:16 The Hebrew words for donkey and heaps sound alike.
  4. Judges 15:17 That is, Jawbone Heights
  5. Judges 15:19 That is, Spring of the One Who Called

Samson’s Vengeance on the Philistines

15 Later on, at the time of wheat harvest,(A) Samson(B) took a young goat(C) and went to visit his wife. He said, “I’m going to my wife’s room.”(D) But her father would not let him go in.

“I was so sure you hated her,” he said, “that I gave her to your companion.(E) Isn’t her younger sister more attractive? Take her instead.”

Samson said to them, “This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm them.” So he went out and caught three hundred foxes(F) and tied them tail to tail in pairs. He then fastened a torch(G) to every pair of tails, lit the torches(H) and let the foxes loose in the standing grain of the Philistines. He burned up the shocks(I) and standing grain, together with the vineyards and olive groves.

When the Philistines asked, “Who did this?” they were told, “Samson, the Timnite’s son-in-law, because his wife was given to his companion.(J)

So the Philistines went up and burned her(K) and her father to death.(L) Samson said to them, “Since you’ve acted like this, I swear that I won’t stop until I get my revenge on you.” He attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them. Then he went down and stayed in a cave in the rock(M) of Etam.(N)

The Philistines went up and camped in Judah, spreading out near Lehi.(O) 10 The people of Judah asked, “Why have you come to fight us?”

“We have come to take Samson prisoner,” they answered, “to do to him as he did to us.”

11 Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cave in the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines are rulers over us?(P) What have you done to us?”

He answered, “I merely did to them what they did to me.”

12 They said to him, “We’ve come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines.”

Samson said, “Swear to me(Q) that you won’t kill me yourselves.”

13 “Agreed,” they answered. “We will only tie you up and hand you over to them. We will not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes(R) and led him up from the rock. 14 As he approached Lehi,(S) the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him.(T) The ropes on his arms became like charred flax,(U) and the bindings dropped from his hands. 15 Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.(V)

16 Then Samson said,

“With a donkey’s jawbone
    I have made donkeys of them.[a](W)
With a donkey’s jawbone
    I have killed a thousand men.”

17 When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was called Ramath Lehi.[b](X)

18 Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the Lord,(Y) “You have given your servant this great victory.(Z) Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived.(AA) So the spring(AB) was called En Hakkore,[c] and it is still there in Lehi.

20 Samson led[d] Israel for twenty years(AC) in the days of the Philistines.

Footnotes

  1. Judges 15:16 Or made a heap or two; the Hebrew for donkey sounds like the Hebrew for heap.
  2. Judges 15:17 Ramath Lehi means jawbone hill.
  3. Judges 15:19 En Hakkore means caller’s spring.
  4. Judges 15:20 Traditionally judged

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