Samson attacks the Philistines
1Later on, at the time of the wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife, bringing along a young goat. He said, "Let me go into my wife’s bedroom."
But her father wouldn’t allow him to go in. 2Her father said, "I was so sure that you had completely rejected her that I gave her in marriage to one of your companions. Don’t you think her younger sister is even better? Let her be your wife instead."
3Samson replied, "No one can blame me now for being ready to bring down trouble on the Philistines!"
4Then Samson went and caught three hundred foxes. He took torches, turned the foxes tail to tail, and put a torch between each pair of tails. 5He lit the torches and released the foxes into the Philistines’ grain fields. So he burned the stacked grain, standing grain, vineyards, and olive orchards.
6The Philistines inquired, "Who did this?"
So it was reported, "Samson the Timnite’s son-in-law did it, because his father-in-law gave his wife in marriage to one of his companions." So the Philistines went up and burned her and her father to death.
7Samson then responded to them, "If this is how you act, then I won’t stop until I get revenge on you!" 8He struck them hard, taking their legs right out from under them.#Or struck them hip and thigh Then he traveled down and stayed in a cave in the rock at Etam.
9The Philistines marched up, made camp in Judah, and released their forces on Lehi. 10The people of Judah asked, "Why have you marched up against us?"
"We’ve marched up to take Samson prisoner," they replied, "and to do to him just what he did to us."
11So three thousand people from Judah traveled down to the cave in the rock at Etam and said to Samson, "Don’t you realize that the Philistines rule over us? What have you done to us?"
But he told them, "I did to them just what they did to me."
12Then the people of Judah said to him, "We’ve come down to take you prisoner so we can turn you over to the Philistines."
Samson responded to them, "Just promise that you won’t attack me yourselves."
13"We won’t," they said to him. "We’ll only take you prisoner so we can turn you over to them. We won’t kill you." Then they tied him up with two new ropes, and brought him up from the rock.
14When Samson arrived at Lehi, the Philistines met him and came out shouting. The LORD’s spirit rushed over him, the ropes on his arms became like burned-up linen, and the ties melted right off his hands. 15He found a donkey’s fresh jawbone, picked it up, and used it to attack one thousand men. 16Samson said,
"With a donkey’s jawbone,
stacks on stacks!
With a donkey’s jawbone,
I’ve killed one thousand men."
17When he finished speaking, he tossed away the jawbone. So that place became known as Ramath-lehi.#Or Jawbone Hill
18Now Samson was very thirsty, so he called out to the LORD, "You are the one who allowed this great victory to be accomplished by your servant’s hands. Am I now going to die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?" 19So God split open the hollow rock in Lehi, and water flowed out of it. When Samson drank, his energy returned and he was recharged. Thus that place is still called by the name En-hakkore#Or Caller’s Spring in Lehi today.
20Samson led Israel for twenty years during the time of the Philistines.