Samson Makes Trouble for the Philistines
1At the time of the wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife. He took a young goat with him as a gift. He said, “I am going to my wife’s room.”
But her father would not let Samson go in. 2He said, “I thought you hated her, so I let her marry the best man at the wedding. Her younger sister is more beautiful. Take her younger sister.”
3But Samson said to him, “Now I have a good reason to hurt you Philistines. No one will blame me now.”
4So Samson went out and caught 300 foxes. He took two foxes at a time and tied their tails together to make pairs. Then he tied a torch between the tails of each pair of foxes. 5He lit the torches that were between the foxes’ tails and let them run through the grain fields of the Philistines. In this way he burned up the plants growing in their fields and the stacks of grain they had cut. 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 this. He did this because his father-in-law gave Samson’s wife to the best man at his wedding.” So the Philistines burned Samson’s wife and her father to death.
7Then Samson said to the Philistines, “You did this bad thing to me, so now I will do bad things to you. Then I will be finished with you!”
8Samson attacked the Philistines and killed many of them. Then he went and stayed in a cave in a place named the Rock of Etam.
9The Philistines went to the land of Judah and stopped near a place named Lehi. Their army camped there. 10The men of the tribe of Judah asked them, “Why have you Philistines come here to fight us?”
They answered, “We have come to get Samson. We want to make him our prisoner. We want to punish him for what he has done to our people.”
11Then 3000 men from the tribe of Judah went to the cave near the Rock of Etam and said to Samson, “What have you done to us? Don’t you know that the Philistines rule over us?”
Samson answered, “I only punished them for what they did to me.”
12Then they said to Samson, “We have come to tie you up. We will give you to the Philistines.”
Samson said to the men from Judah, “Promise me that you yourselves will not hurt me.”
13The men from Judah said, “We agree. We will just tie you up and give you to the Philistines. We promise that we will not kill you.” So they tied Samson with two new ropes and led him up from the cave in the rock.
14When Samson came to the place called Lehi, the Philistines came to meet him. They were shouting with joy. Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Samson with great power. Samson broke the ropes—they were like burned strings falling from his arms and the ropes on his hands seemed to melt away. 15Samson found a jawbone of a dead donkey and killed 1000 Philistine men with it.
16Then Samson said,
“With a donkey’s jawbone,
I killed 1000 men!
With a donkey’s jawbone,
I piled#15:16 piled In Hebrew, the word “pile” is like the word “donkey.” them into a tall pile.”
17When Samson finished speaking, he threw the jawbone down. So that place was named Ramath Lehi.#15:17 Ramath Lehi This name means “Jawbone Heights.”
18Samson was very thirsty. So he cried to the Lord. He said, “I am your servant. You gave me this great victory. Please don’t let me die from thirst now. Please don’t let me be captured by men who are not even circumcised.”
19There is a hole in the ground at Lehi. God made that hole crack open, and water came out. Samson drank the water and felt better. He felt strong again. So he named that water spring En Hakkore.#15:19 En Hakkore This name means “The spring of the one who calls.” It is still there in the city of Lehi today.
20Samson was a judge for the Israelites for 20 years during the time of the Philistines.