Judges 16

Samson and Delilah

1 One day, Samson went to Gaza. He went to have sex with a woman there. 2 The people of Gaza heard that Samson was there. The men waited for him all night at the gate of the city. They said, ‘We will stay here. We will kill him at dawn’.

3 But Samson only stayed with the woman until the middle of the night. Then he got up. He took the doors from the gate of the city. He tore them from the walls, with the wood at their edges. He carried them to the top of the hill towards Hebron.

4 Some time later Samson began to love a woman called Delilah. She lived in the valley of Sorek. 5 The rulers of the Philistines went to her. They said, ‘Do something clever to discover what makes Samson so strong. See if you can find a way for us to get power over him. We want to be able to tie him up. If you do that, we will each give you 1,100 shekels of silver (about 28 pounds or 13 kilos)’.

6 Delilah said to Samson, ‘Tell me the secret. What makes you so strong? How can you be tied up and kept quiet?’

7 Samson replied, ‘You must tie me with seven new leather ropes. They must not be dried. Then I will become weak, like other men’.

8 The rulers of the Philistines gave Delilah the 7 new leather ropes. She tied Samson with them. 9 She hid Philistine men in the room. Then she shouted, ‘Samson the Philistines are here’. But he broke the 7 ropes as easy as fire breaks a thin line. So they did not discover why he was so strong.

10 Delilah said to Samson, ‘You have made me look like a fool. Your words were not true. Come on, tell me how someone can really tie you’.

11 He said, ‘If someone ties me with new ropes that have never been used, I will become weak. I will be as other men’.

12 So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them. Men were hiding in the room. Then she shouted, ‘Samson the Philistines are here’. But he broke the ropes as if they had been very thin.

13 Delilah then said to Samson, ‘Your words were not true. You have made me look silly. Tell me how someone can really tie you’. He replied, ‘If you work the 7 tails of my hair into the cloth you are making I will become weak. You must tie it well and I will be like other men’. Delilah did this while he was asleep. She took the 7 tails of his hair and tied them in with the cloth she was making. 14 She fixed them with a piece of wood. Again she shouted to him, ‘Samson, the Philistines are here’. He woke up. She had fixed the cloth to a heavy table. Samson tore the cloth and the piece of wood away from it.

15 Delilah said to him, ‘You cannot really love me, when you will not tell me your secret. This is the third time that you have made me look like a fool. You have not told me why you are so strong’. 16 She kept on saying the same thing again and again. Her questions made Samson very tired.

17 So Samson told her everything. ‘I have never cut my hair,’ he said. ‘When I was born, God chose me to be a Nazirite. If someone cuts my hair off, I will not be strong any more. I will be as weak as any other man’.

18 Delilah saw that he had told her everything. So she sent a message to the rulers of the Philistines. ‘Come back once more. Samson has told me everything’. The rulers of the Philistines came back. They brought silver with them. 19 Delilah made Samson sleep with his head on her knees. She asked a man to cut off the 7 tails of his hair. This was to make him weak. He was not strong any more.

20 Then she shouted, ‘Samson, the Philistines are here!’ He woke up. He thought that he could become free. But he did not know that the Lord's power had left him.

21 The Philistines took Samson. They pulled out his eyes. They tied him with metal ropes. They made him work in prison. He had to make grain into flour. 22 But the hair on his head began to grow again.

16:21It was women's work to make grain into flour. The Philistines were making the blind Samson look weak and silly.

Samson dies

23 The rulers of the Philistines met together to worship their god, Dagon. They said, ‘Our God has put Samson, our enemy, into our power’.

24 When the people saw Samson, they praised their god. They said, ‘Our god has given our enemy to us. This enemy destroyed our land. He killed many of us’.

25 The people were all very happy. They shouted, ‘Bring out Samson. He can dance for us’. So they brought Samson out of the prison. He had to do as they asked.

They took Samson among the pillars of the temple.

26 A servant held Samson's hand. Samson said, ‘Put me against the pillars which hold up the roof. I want to put my weight on them’. 27 The temple was full of men and women. All the leaders of the Philistines were there. About 3,000 people were on the roof watching Samson dance. 28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord. ‘Remember me, God, Lord God. Please make me strong again, for one more time. I want to punish the Philistines for pulling out my eyes’. 29 Then Samson put his hands on the two pillars in the centre of the building. He got ready to push. He pushed one with his right hand, the other with his left hand. 30 Samson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines’. Then he pushed with the power of his whole body. The building fell down on all the rulers and people in it. So, Samson killed more people when he died than while he lived.

16:30God made Samson very strong. He used Samson to kill some of Israel's enemies. But Samson was a man who was weak with women. He did not always obey God's rules. But God used even his weakness to make the Philistines fight. In the end, Samson's love of a bad woman caused his death. But God used this to kill many more Philistines.

31 Then his brothers and his father's whole family came to get him. They took him back and buried him with his father Manoah's body. This was in the ground between Eshtaol and Zorah. Samson had ruled Israel for 20 years.