16Once Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute and went in to her. 2The Gazites were told,* Samson has come here. So they encircled the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They kept quiet all night, thinking, Let us wait until the light of the morning; then we will kill him. 3But Samson lay only until midnight. Then at midnight he rose up, took hold of the doors of the city gate and the two posts, pulled them up, bar and all, put them on his shoulders, and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron.
4 After this he fell in love with a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5The lords of the Philistines came to her and said to her, Coax him, and find out what makes his strength so great, and how we may overpower him, so that we may bind him in order to subdue him; and we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver. 6So Delilah said to Samson, Please tell me what makes your strength so great, and how you could be bound, so that one could subdue you. 7Samson said to her, If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that are not dried out, then I shall become weak, and be like anyone else. 8Then the lords of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not dried out, and she bound him with them. 9While men were lying in wait in an inner chamber, she said to him, The Philistines are upon you, Samson! But he snapped the bowstrings, as a strand of fibre snaps when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known.
10 Then Delilah said to Samson, You have mocked me and told me lies; please tell me how you could be bound. 11He said to her, If they bind me with new ropes that have not been used, then I shall become weak, and be like anyone else. 12So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them, and said to him, The Philistines are upon you, Samson! (The men lying in wait were in an inner chamber.) But he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread.
13 Then Delilah said to Samson, Until now you have mocked me and told me lies; tell me how you could be bound. He said to her, If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and make it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak, and be like anyone else. 14So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his head and wove them into the web,* and made them tight with the pin. Then she said to him, The Philistines are upon you, Samson! But he awoke from his sleep, and pulled away the pin, the loom, and the web.
15 Then she said to him, How can you say, I love you, when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me three times now and have not told me what makes your strength so great. 16Finally, after she had nagged him with her words day after day, and pestered him, he was tired to death. 17So he told her his whole secret, and said to her, A razor has never come upon my head; for I have been a nazirite* to God from my mothers womb. If my head were shaved, then my strength would leave me; I would become weak, and be like anyone else.
18 When Delilah realized that he had told her his whole secret, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, This time come up, for he has told his whole secret to me. Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her, and brought the money in their hands. 19She let him fall asleep on her lap; and she called a man, and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. He began to weaken,* and his strength left him. 20Then she said, The Philistines are upon you, Samson! When he awoke from his sleep, he thought, I will go out as at other times, and shake myself free. But he did not know that the Lord had left him. 21So the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles; and he ground at the mill in the prison. 22But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.
23 Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon, and to rejoice; for they said, Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand. 24When the people saw him, they praised their god; for they said, Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us. 25And when their hearts were merry, they said, Call Samson, and let him entertain us. So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. They made him stand between the pillars; 26and Samson said to the attendant who held him by the hand, Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, so that I may lean against them. 27Now the house was full of men and women; all the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about three thousand men and women, who looked on while Samson performed.
28 Then Samson called to the Lord and said, Lord God, remember me and strengthen me only this once, O God, so that with this one act of revenge I may pay back the Philistines for my two eyes.* 29And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. 30Then Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. He strained with all his might; and the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So those he killed at his death were more than those he had killed during his life. 31Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. He had judged Israel for twenty years.
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011