Samson Escapes Gaza
1 One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute and went in to spend the night with her.
2 When the Gazites heard that Samson was there, they surrounded that place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They were quiet throughout the night, saying, “Let us wait until dawn; then we will kill him.”
3 But Samson lay there only until midnight, when he got up, took hold of the doors of the city gate and both gateposts, and pulled them out, bar and all. Then he put them on his shoulders and took them to the top of the mountain overlooking Hebron.
Samson and Delilah
4 Some time later, Samson fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 The lords of the Philistines went to her and said, “Entice him and find out the source of his great strength and how we can overpower him to tie him up and subdue him. Then each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver. a”
6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me the source of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.”
7 Samson told her, “If they tie me up with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I will become as weak as any other man.”
8 So the lords of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she tied him up with them. 9 While the men were hidden in her room, she called out, “Samson, the Philistines are here!”
But he snapped the bowstrings like a strand of yarn seared by a flame. So the source of his strength remained unknown.
10 Then Delilah said to Samson, “You have mocked me and lied to me! Now please tell me how you can be tied up.”
11 He replied, “If they tie me up with new ropes that have never been used, I will become as weak as any other man.”
12 So Delilah took new ropes, tied him up with them, and called out, “Samson, the Philistines are here!”
But while the men were hidden in her room, he snapped the ropes off his arms like they were threads.
13 Then Delilah said to Samson, “You have mocked me and lied to me all along! Tell me how you can be tied up.”
He told her, “If you weave the seven braids of my head into the web of a loom and tighten it with a pin, I will become as weak as any other man. b”
But he awoke from his sleep and pulled out the pin with the loom and the web.
Delilah Learns the Secret
15 “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ ” she asked, “when your heart is not with me? This is the third time you have mocked me and failed to reveal to me the source of your great strength!”
16 Finally, after she had pressed him daily with her words and pleaded until he was sick to death, 17 Samson told her all that was in his heart: “My hair has never been cut, because I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, my strength will leave me, and I will become as weak as any other man.”
18 When Delilah realized that he had revealed to her all that was in his heart, she sent this message to the lords of the Philistines: “Come up once more, for he has revealed to me all that is in his heart.”
Then the lords of the Philistines came to her, bringing the money in their hands.
19 And having lulled him to sleep on her lap, she called a man to shave off the seven braids of his head. In this way she began to subdue him, d and his strength left him. 20 Then she called out, “Samson, the Philistines are here!”
When Samson awoke from his sleep, he thought, “I will escape as I did before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.
21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, where he was bound with bronze shackles and forced to grind grain in the prison.
22 However, the hair of his head began to grow back after it had been shaved.
Samson’s Vengeance and Death
23 Now the lords of the Philistines gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon. They rejoiced and said, “Our god has delivered Samson our enemy into our hands.”
24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god, saying:
“Our god has delivered into our hands
our enemy who destroyed our land
and multiplied our dead.”
25 And while their hearts were merry, they said, “Call for Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison to entertain them. And they stationed him between the pillars.
26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Lead me where I can feel the pillars supporting the temple, so I can lean against them.”
27 Now the temple was full of men and women; all the lords of the Philistines were there, and about three thousand men and women were on the roof watching Samson entertain them.
28 Then Samson called out to the LORD: “O Lord GOD, please remember me. Strengthen me, O God, just once more, so that with one vengeful blow I may pay back the Philistines for my two eyes.”
29 And Samson reached out for the two central pillars supporting the temple. Bracing himself against them with his right hand on one pillar and his left hand on the other, 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.”
Then he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people in it. So in his death he killed more than he had killed in his life.
31 Then Samson’s brothers and his father’s family came down, carried him back, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. And he had judged Israel twenty years.
5 a 1,100 shekels is approximately 27.6 pounds or 12.5 kilograms of silver.
13 b See LXX and Vulgate; Hebrew does not include and tighten it with a pin, I will become as weak as any other man.
14 c See LXX and Vulgate; Hebrew does not include So while he slept, Delilah took the seven braids of his hair and wove them into the web.
19 d Hebrew; some LXX manuscripts he began to grow weak