Samson Troubles the Philistines
1At the time of the wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife. He took a young goat with him. He said, “I’m going to my wife’s room.” But her father would not let Samson go in.
2He said to Samson, “I thought you really hated your wife. So I gave her to the best man from the wedding. Her younger sister is more beautiful. Take her.”
3But Samson said to him, “Now I have a good reason to hurt you Philistines. No one will blame me!” 4So Samson went out and caught 300 foxes. He took 2 foxes at a time and tied their tails together. Then he tied a torch to the tails of each pair of foxes. 5Samson lit the torches. Then he let the foxes loose in the grainfields of the Philistines. In this way he burned up their standing grain and the piles of grain. He also burned up their vineyards and their olive trees.
6The Philistines asked, “Who did this?”
Someone told them, “Samson, the son-in-law of the man from Timnah, did. He did this because his father-in-law gave his wife to his best man.”
So the Philistines burned Samson’s wife and her father to death. 7Then Samson said to the Philistines, “Since you did this, I will hurt you, too! I won’t stop until I pay you back!” 8Samson attacked the Philistines and killed many of them. Then he went down and stayed in a cave. It was in the rock of Etam.
9Then the Philistines went up and camped in the land of Judah. They stopped near a place named Lehi. 10The men of Judah asked them, “Why have you come here to fight us?”
They answered, “We have come to make Samson our prisoner. We want to pay him back for what he did to our people.”
11Then 3,000 men of Judah went to the cave in the rock of Etam. They said to Samson, “What have you done to us? Don’t you know that the Philistines rule over us?”
Samson answered, “I only paid them back for what they did to me!”
12Then they said to him, “We have come to tie you up. We will give you to the Philistines.”
Samson said to them, “Promise me you will not hurt me yourselves.”
13The men from Judah said, “We agree. We will just tie you up and give you to the Philistines. We will not kill you.” So they tied Samson with two new ropes. Then they led him up from the cave in the rock. 14When Samson came to the place named Lehi, the Philistines came to meet him. They were shouting for joy. Then the Spirit of the Lord entered Samson and gave him great power. The ropes on him became weak like strings that had been burned. They fell off his hands! 15Samson found a jawbone of a donkey that had just died. He took it and killed 1,000 men with it!
16Then Samson said,
“With a donkey’s jawbone
I have made donkeys out of them.
With a donkey’s jawbone
I have killed 1,000 men!”
17When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone. So that place was named Ramath Lehi.# This name means Jawbone Hill.
18Samson was very thirsty. So he cried out to the Lord. He said, “I am your servant. You gave me this great victory. Do I have to die of thirst now? Do I have to be captured by people who are not circumcised?” 19Then God opened up a hole in the ground at Lehi, and water came out. When Samson drank that water, he felt better. He felt strong again. So he named that spring Caller’s Spring. It is still there in Lehi to this day.
20So Samson judged Israel for 20 years. That was in the days of the Philistines.