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Judges 13:1--16:31

Context
Samson’s Birth

13:1 The Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight, 1  so the Lord handed them over to the Philistines for forty years.

13:2 There was a man named Manoah from Zorah, from the Danite tribe. His wife was infertile and childless. 2  13:3 The Lord’s angelic 3  messenger appeared to the woman and said to her, “You 4  are infertile and childless, 5  but you will conceive and have a son. 13:4 Now be careful! Do not drink wine or beer, and do not eat any food that will make you ritually unclean. 6  13:5 Look, you will conceive and have a son. 7  You must never cut his hair, 8  for the child will be dedicated to God 9  from birth. He will begin to deliver Israel from the power 10  of the Philistines.”

13:6 The woman went and said to her husband, “A man sent from God 11  came to me! He looked like God’s angelic messenger – he was very awesome. 12  I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name. 13:7 He said to me, ‘Look, you will conceive and have a son. 13  So now, do not drink wine or beer and do not eat any food that will make you ritually unclean. 14  For the child will be dedicated 15  to God from birth till the day he dies.’”

13:8 Manoah prayed to the Lord, 16  “Please, Lord, allow the man sent from God 17  to visit 18  us again, so he can teach 19  us how we should raise 20  the child who will be born.” 13:9 God answered Manoah’s prayer. 21  God’s angelic messenger visited 22  the woman again while she was sitting in the field. But her husband Manoah was not with her. 13:10 The woman ran at once and told her husband, 23  “Come quickly, 24  the man who visited 25  me the other day has appeared to me!” 13:11 So Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he met 26  the man, he said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to my wife?” 27  He said, “Yes.” 28  13:12 Manoah said, “Now, when your announcement comes true, 29  how should the child be raised and what should he do?” 30  13:13 The Lord’s messenger told 31  Manoah, “Your wife should pay attention to everything I told her. 32  13:14 She should not drink 33  anything that the grapevine produces. She must not drink wine or beer, and she must not eat any food that will make her ritually unclean. 34  She should obey everything I commanded her to do.” 13:15 Manoah said to the Lord’s messenger, “Please stay here awhile, 35  so we can prepare a young goat for you to eat.” 36  13:16 The Lord’s messenger said to Manoah, “If I stay, 37  I will not eat your food. But if you want to make a burnt sacrifice to the Lord, you should offer it.” (He said this because Manoah did not know that he was the Lord’s messenger.) 38  13:17 Manoah said to the Lord’s messenger, “Tell us your name, so we can honor you when your announcement comes true.” 39  13:18 The Lord’s messenger said to him, “You should not ask me my name, because you cannot comprehend it.” 40  13:19 Manoah took a young goat and a grain offering and offered them on a rock to the Lord. The Lord’s messenger did an amazing thing as Manoah and his wife watched. 41  13:20 As the flame went up from the altar toward the sky, the Lord’s messenger went up in it 42  while Manoah and his wife watched. They fell facedown 43  to the ground.

13:21 The Lord’s messenger did not appear again to Manoah and his wife. After all this happened Manoah realized that the visitor had been the Lord’s messenger. 44  13:22 Manoah said to his wife, “We will certainly die, because we have seen a supernatural being!” 45  13:23 But his wife said to him, “If the Lord wanted to kill us, he would not have accepted the burnt offering and the grain offering from us. 46  He would not have shown us all these things, or have spoken to us like this just now.”

13:24 Manoah’s wife 47  gave birth to a son and named him Samson. 48  The child grew and the Lord empowered 49  him. 13:25 The Lord’s spirit began to control him 50  in Mahaneh Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Samson’s Unconsummated Marriage

14:1 Samson went down to Timnah, where a Philistine girl caught his eye. 51  14:2 When he got home, 52  he told his father and mother, “A Philistine girl in Timnah has caught my eye. 53  Now get her for my wife.” 14:3 But his father and mother said to him, “Certainly you can find a wife among your relatives or among all our 54  people! You should not have to go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines.” 55  But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, 56  because she is the right one for me.” 57  14:4 Now his father and mother did not realize this was the Lord’s doing, 58  because he was looking for an opportunity to stir up trouble with the Philistines 59  (for at that time the Philistines were ruling Israel).

14:5 Samson went down to Timnah. When he approached 60  the vineyards of Timnah, he saw a roaring young lion attacking him. 61  14:6 The Lord’s spirit empowered 62  him and he tore the lion 63  in two with his bare hands 64  as easily as one would tear a young goat. But he did not tell his father or mother what he had done.

14:7 Samson continued on down to Timnah 65  and spoke to the girl. In his opinion, she was just the right one. 66  14:8 Some time later, when he went back to marry 67  her, he turned aside to see the lion’s remains. He saw 68  a swarm of bees in the lion’s carcass, as well as some honey. 14:9 He scooped it up with his hands and ate it as he walked along. When he returned 69  to his father and mother, he offered them some and they ate it. But he did not tell them he had scooped the honey out of the lion’s carcass. 70 

14:10 Then Samson’s father accompanied him to Timnah for the marriage. 71  Samson hosted a party 72  there, for this was customary for bridegrooms 73  to do. 14:11 When the Philistines saw he had no attendants, they gave him thirty groomsmen who kept him company. 74  14:12 Samson said to them, “I will give you a riddle. If you really can solve it during the seven days the party lasts, 75  I will give you thirty linen robes and thirty sets 76  of clothes. 14:13 But if you cannot solve it, 77  you will give me thirty linen robes and thirty sets of clothes.” They said to him, “Let us hear your riddle.” 78  14:14 He said to them,

“Out of the one who eats came something to eat;

out of the strong one came something sweet.”

They could not solve the riddle for three days.

14:15 On the fourth 79  day they said to Samson’s bride, “Trick your husband into giving the solution to the riddle. 80  If you refuse, 81  we will burn up 82  you and your father’s family. 83  Did you invite us here 84  to make us poor?” 85  14:16 So Samson’s bride cried on his shoulder 86  and said, “You must 87  hate me; you do not love me! You told the young men 88  a riddle, but you have not told me the solution.” He said to her, “Look, I have not even told my father or mother. Do you really expect me to tell you?” 89  14:17 She cried on his shoulder 90  until the party was almost over. 91  Finally, on the seventh day, he told her because she had nagged him so much. 92  Then she told the young men the solution to the riddle. 93  14:18 On the seventh day, before the sun set, the men of the city said to him,

“What is sweeter than honey?

What is stronger than a lion?”

He said to them,

“If you had not plowed with my heifer, 94 

you would not have solved my riddle!”

14:19 The Lord’s spirit empowered him. He went down to Ashkelon and murdered thirty men. He took their clothes 95  and gave them 96  to the men who had solved the riddle. He was furious as he went back home. 97  14:20 Samson’s bride was then given to his best man. 98 

Samson Versus the Philistines

15:1 Sometime later, during the wheat harvest, 99  Samson took a young goat as a gift and went to visit his bride. 100  He said to her father, 101  “I want to have sex with my bride in her bedroom!” 102  But her father would not let him enter. 15:2 Her father said, “I really thought 103  you absolutely despised 104  her, so I gave her to your best man. Her younger sister is more attractive than she is. Take her instead!” 105  15:3 Samson said to them, 106  “This time I am justified in doing the Philistines harm!” 107  15:4 Samson went and captured three hundred jackals 108  and got some torches. He tied the jackals in pairs by their tails and then tied a torch to each pair. 109  15:5 He lit the torches 110  and set the jackals loose in the Philistines’ standing grain. He burned up the grain heaps and the standing grain, as well as the vineyards and olive groves. 15:6 The Philistines asked, 111  “Who did this?” They were told, 112  “Samson, the Timnite’s son-in-law, because the Timnite 113  took Samson’s 114  bride and gave her to his best man.” So the Philistines went up and burned her and her father. 115  15:7 Samson said to them, “Because you did this, 116  I will get revenge against you before I quit fighting.” 117  15:8 He struck them down and defeated them. 118  Then he went down and lived for a time in the cave in the cliff of Etam.

15:9 The Philistines went up and invaded 119  Judah. They arrayed themselves for battle 120  in Lehi. 15:10 The men of Judah said, “Why are you attacking 121  us?” The Philistines 122  said, “We have come up to take Samson prisoner so we can do to him what he has done to us.” 15:11 Three thousand men of Judah went down to the cave in the cliff of Etam and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines rule over us? Why have you done this to us?” He said to them, “I have only done to them what they have done to me.” 15:12 They said to him, “We have come down to take you prisoner so we can hand you over to the Philistines.” Samson said to them, “Promise me 123  you will not kill 124  me.” 15:13 They said to him, “We promise! 125  We will only take you prisoner and hand you over to them. We promise not to kill you.” They tied him up with two brand new ropes and led him up from the cliff. 15:14 When he arrived in Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they approached him. But the Lord’s spirit empowered 126  him. The ropes around his arms were like flax dissolving in 127  fire, and they 128  melted away from his hands. 15:15 He happened to see 129  a solid 130  jawbone of a donkey. He grabbed it 131  and struck down 132  a thousand men. 15:16 Samson then said,

“With the jawbone of a donkey

I have left them in heaps; 133 

with the jawbone of a donkey

I have struck down a thousand men!”

15:17 When he finished speaking, he threw the jawbone down 134  and named that place Ramath Lehi. 135 

15:18 He was very thirsty, so he cried out to the Lord and said, “You have given your servant 136  this great victory. But now must I die of thirst and fall into hands of the Philistines?” 137  15:19 So God split open the basin 138  at Lehi and water flowed out from it. When he took a drink, his strength 139  was restored and he revived. For this reason he named the spring 140  En Hakkore. 141  It remains in Lehi to this very day. 15:20 Samson led 142  Israel for twenty years during the days of Philistine prominence. 143 

Samson’s Downfall

16:1 Samson went to Gaza. There he saw a prostitute and went in to have sex with her. 144  16:2 The Gazites were told, 145  “Samson has come here!” So they surrounded the town 146  and hid all night at the city gate, waiting for him to leave. 147  They relaxed 148  all night, thinking, 149  “He will not leave 150  until morning comes; 151  then we will kill him!” 16:3 Samson spent half the night with the prostitute; then he got up in the middle of the night and left. 152  He grabbed the doors of the city gate, as well as the two posts, and pulled them right off, bar and all. 153  He put them on his shoulders and carried them up to the top of a hill east of Hebron. 154 

16:4 After this Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in the Sorek Valley. 16:5 The rulers of the Philistines went up to visit her and said to her, “Trick him! Find out what makes him so strong and how we can subdue him and humiliate 155  him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred silver pieces.”

16:6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me what makes you so strong and how you can be subdued and humiliated.” 156  16:7 Samson said to her, “If they tie me up with seven fresh 157  bowstrings 158  that have not been dried, I will become weak and be just like any other man.” 16:8 So the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings which had not been dried and they tied him up with them. 16:9 They hid 159  in the bedroom and then she said to him, “The Philistines are here, 160  Samson!” He snapped the bowstrings as easily as a thread of yarn snaps when it is put close to fire. 161  The secret of his strength was not discovered. 162 

16:10 Delilah said to Samson, “Look, you deceived 163  me and told me lies! Now tell me how you can be subdued.” 16:11 He said to her, “If they tie me tightly with brand new ropes that have never been used, 164  I will become weak and be just like any other man.” 16:12 So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them and said to him, “The Philistines are here, 165  Samson!” (The Philistines were hiding in the bedroom.) 166  But he tore the ropes 167  from his arms as if they were a piece of thread.

16:13 Delilah said to Samson, “Up to now you have deceived me and told me lies. Tell me how you can be subdued.” He said to her, “If you weave the seven braids of my hair 168  into the fabric on the loom 169  and secure it with the pin, I will become weak and be like any other man.” 16:14 So she made him go to sleep, wove the seven braids of his hair into the fabric on the loom, fastened it with the pin, and said to him, “The Philistines are here, 170  Samson!” 171  He woke up 172  and tore away the pin of the loom and the fabric.

16:15 She said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you will not share your secret with me? 173  Three times you have deceived me and have not told me what makes you so strong.” 16:16 She nagged him 174  every day and pressured him until he was sick to death of it. 175  16:17 Finally he told her his secret. 176  He said to her, “My hair has never been cut, 177  for I have been dedicated to God 178  from the time I was conceived. 179  If my head 180  were shaved, my strength would leave me; I would become weak, and be just like all other men.” 16:18 When Delilah saw that he had told her his secret, 181  she sent for 182  the rulers of the Philistines, saying, “Come up here again, for he has told me 183  his secret.” 184  So the rulers of the Philistines went up to visit her, bringing the silver in their hands. 16:19 She made him go to sleep on her lap 185  and then called a man in to shave off 186  the seven braids of his hair. 187  She made him vulnerable 188  and his strength left him. 16:20 She said, “The Philistines are here, 189  Samson!” He woke up 190  and thought, 191  “I will do as I did before 192  and shake myself free.” But he did not realize that the Lord had left him. 16:21 The Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and bound him in bronze chains. He became a grinder in the prison. 16:22 His hair 193  began to grow back after it had been shaved off.

Samson’s Death and Burial

16:23 The rulers of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate. They said, “Our god has handed Samson, our enemy, over to us.” 16:24 When the people saw him, 194  they praised their god, saying, “Our god has handed our enemy over to us, the one who ruined our land and killed so many of us!” 195 

16:25 When they really started celebrating, 196  they said, “Call for Samson so he can entertain us!” So they summoned Samson from the prison and he entertained them. 197  They made him stand between two pillars. 16:26 Samson said to the young man who held his hand, “Position me so I can touch the pillars that support the temple. 198  Then I can lean on them.” 16:27 Now the temple 199  was filled with men and women, and all the rulers of the Philistines were there. There were three thousand men and women on the roof watching Samson entertain. 16:28 Samson called to the Lord, “O Master, Lord, 200  remember me! Strengthen me just one more time, O God, so I can get swift revenge 201  against the Philistines for my two eyes!” 16:29 Samson took hold of the two middle pillars that supported the temple 202  and he leaned against them, with his right hand on one and his left hand on the other. 16:30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” He pushed hard 203  and the temple collapsed on the rulers and all the people in it. He killed many more people in his death than he had killed during his life. 204  16:31 His brothers and all his family 205  went down and brought him back. 206  They buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had led 207  Israel for twenty years.

1 tn Heb “in the eyes of.”

2 tn Heb “and had not given birth.”

3 tn The adjective “angelic” is interpretive (also in vv. 6, 9).

4 tn Heb “Look, you.”

5 tn Heb “and have not given birth.”

6 tn Heb “eat anything unclean.” Certain foods were regarded as ritually “unclean” (see Lev 11). Eating such food made one ritually “contaminated.”

7 tn Another option is to translate, “you are already pregnant and will have a son.” The earlier reference to her being infertile (v. 3) suggests that her conception is still future, but it is possible that the earlier statement only reflects her perspective (as far as she is concerned, she is infertile). According to this interpretation, in v. 5 the angel reveals the truth to her – actually she has recently conceived and is now pregnant (see the translation in R. G. Boling, Judges [AB], 217). Usage favors this interpretation. The predicate adjective הָרָה (harah, “[be/become] pregnant”) elsewhere has a past (1 Sam 4:19) or present (Gen 16:11; 38:25; 2 Sam 11:5) translation value. (The usage in Isa 7:14 is debated, but a present translation is definitely possible there.) A final, but less likely possibility, is that she miraculously conceived during the angel’s speech, sometime between his statements recorded in vv. 3 and 5.

8 tn Heb “a razor should not go up on his head.”

9 tn Or “set apart to God.” Traditionally the Hebrew term נָזִיר (nazir) has been translated “Nazirite.” The word is derived from the verb נָזַר (nazar, “to dedicate; to consecrate; to set apart”).

10 tn Heb “hand.”

11 tn Heb “The man of God.”

12 tn Heb “His appearance was like the appearance of the messenger of God, very awesome.”

13 tn See the note on the word “son” in 13:5, where this same statement occurs.

14 tn Heb “eat anything unclean.” Certain foods were regarded as ritually “unclean” (see Lev 11). Eating such food made one ritually “contaminated.”

15 tn Traditionally “a Nazirite.”

16 tn The Hebrew text adds “and said.” This has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.

17 tn Heb “the man of God.”

18 tn Heb “come to.”

19 tc The LXX has “enlighten,” understanding the Hebrew to read וִיאִירֵנוּ (viirenu, “to give light”) rather than the reading of the MT, וְיוֹרֵנוּ (vÿyorenu, “to teach”).

20 tn Heb “what we should do for.”

21 tn Heb “God listened to the voice of Manoah.”

22 tn Heb “came to.”

23 tn Heb “and said to him.” This phrase has not been translated for stylistic reasons.

24 tn Heb “Look.”

25 tn Heb “came to.”

26 tn Heb “came to.”

27 tn Heb “the woman.”

28 tn Heb “I [am].”

29 tn Heb “Now, [when] your word comes [to pass].”

30 tn Heb “what will be the child’s rule [i.e., way of life] and his work?”

31 tn Or “said to.”

32 tn Heb “To everything I said to the woman she should pay attention.” The Hebrew word order emphasizes “to everything,” probably because Manoah’s wife did not tell her husband everything the angel had said to her (cf. vv. 3-5 with v. 7). If she had, Manoah probably would not have been so confused about the child’s mission.

33 tn Heb “eat.”

34 tn Heb “eat anything unclean.” Certain foods were regarded as ritually “unclean” (see Lev 11). Eating such food made one ritually “contaminated.”

35 tn Heb “Please allow us to detain you.”

36 tn Heb “so we can prepare before you a young goat of the goats.”

37 tn Heb “If you detain me.”

38 tn The words “he said this” are supplied in the translation for clarification. Manoah should have known from these words that the messenger represented the Lord. In the preceding narrative the narrator has informed the reader that the visitor is the Lord’s messenger, but Manoah and his wife did not perceive this. In vv. 5 and 7 the angel refers to “God” (אֱלֹהִים, ’elohim), not the Lord (יְהוַה, yÿhvah). Manoah’s wife calls the visitor “a man sent from God” and “God’s messenger” (v. 6), while Manoah prays to the “Lord” (אֲדוֹנָי, ’adonay) and calls the visitor “a man sent from God” (v. 8).

39 tn Heb “Who your name? For [when] your word comes [to pass], we will honor you.” Manoah apparently gets tongue-tied and uses the wrong pronoun (“who” instead of “what”). He starts to say, “Who are you?” But then he switches to “your name” as if he began the sentence with “what.” See R. G. Boling, Judges (AB), 222.

40 tn Heb “Why do you ask for my name, for it is incomprehensible?” The Hebrew adjective פִּלְאִי (pileiy, “wonderful, incomprehensible”) refers to what is in a category of its own and is beyond full human understanding. Note the use of this word in Ps 139:6, where God’s knowledge is described as incomprehensible and unattainable.

41 tc Heb “Doing an extraordinary deed while Manoah and his wife were watching.” The subject of the participle is missing. The translation assumes that the phrase “the Lord’s messenger” was lost by homoioteleuton. If the text originally read לַיהוָה מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה (layhavah malakh yÿhvah), the scribe’s eye could have jumped from the first יְהוָה to the second, accidentally omitting two of the three words. Later the conjunction וּ (shureq) would have been added to the following מַפְלִא (mafli’) for syntactical reasons. Another possibility is that a pronominal subject (הוּא, hu’) has been lost in the MT due to haplography.

42 tn Heb “in the flame from the altar.”

43 tn Heb “on their faces.”

44 tn Heb “Then Manoah knew that he was the Lord’s messenger.”

45 tn Or “seen God.” Some take the Hebrew term אֱלֹהִים (’elohim) as the divine name (“God”) here, but this seems unlikely since v. 21 informs us that Manoah realized this was the Lord’s messenger, not God himself. Of course, he may be exaggerating for the sake of emphasis. Another option, the one followed in the translation, understands Manoah to be referring to a lesser deity. The term אֱלֹהִים (’elohim) is sometimes used of an individual deity other than the Lord (see BDB 43 s.v. 2.a). One cannot assume that Manoah was a theologically sophisticated monotheist.

46 tn Heb “our hand.”

47 tn Heb “the woman.” For clarity this has been specified in the translation as “Manoah’s wife.”

48 tn The name appears to mean “sun-like” or “solar.”

49 tn Traditionally, “blessed.”

50 tn Or “move him to action”; or “stir him.”

51 tn Heb “and he saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines.”

52 tn Heb “and he went up.”

53 tn Heb “I have seen a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines.”

54 tn Heb “my.” The singular may seem strange, since the introduction to the quotation attributes the words to his father and mother. But Samson’s father apparently speaks for both himself and his wife. However, the Lucianic recension of the LXX and the Syriac Peshitta have a second person pronoun here (“you”), and this may represent the original reading.

55 tn Heb “Is there not among the daughters of your brothers or among all my people a woman that you have to go to get a wife among the uncircumcised Philistines?”

56 tn “Her” is first in the Hebrew word order for emphasis. Samson wanted this Philistine girl, no one else. See C. F. Burney, Judges, 357.

57 tn Heb “because she is right in my eyes.”

58 tn Heb “this was from the LORD.”

59 tn Heb “for an opportunity he was seeking from the Philistines.”

60 tc The MT reads, “Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah. When they approached…” Verse 6b states that Samson did not tell his parents about his encounter with the lion (vv. 5b-6a), but v. 5a gives the impression they would have seen the entire episode. One could assume that Samson separated from his parents prior to the lion’s attack, but the Hebrew text does not indicate this. It seems more likely that the words “with his father and his mother” were accidentally copied into the text, perhaps under the influence of v. 4a, where the same phrase appears. An original singular verb (“he approached”) may have been changed to the plural form (“they approached”) after the words “his father and his mother” were accidentally added to the text.

61 tn Heb “and look, a young lion of the lions was roaring to meet him.”

62 tn Heb “rushed on.”

63 tn Heb “him” or “it”; the referent (the lion) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

64 tn Heb “and there was nothing in his hand.”

65 tn Heb “He went down.”

66 tn Heb “She was the right one in the eyes of Samson.”

67 tn Heb “get.”

68 tn Heb “and look, a swarm of bees…”

69 tn Heb “went.” Samson apparently went home to his parents before going to Timnah for the marriage. Seeing and tasting the honey appears to encourage Manoah to go with his son to Timnah. Perhaps both Samson and his father viewed the honey as a good omen of future blessing. Possibly Samson considered it a symbol of sexual pleasure or an aphrodisiac. Note the use of honey imagery in Song 4:11 and 5:1.

70 sn Touching the carcass of a dead animal undoubtedly violated Samson’s Nazirite status. See Num 6:6.

71 tn Heb “And his father went down to the woman.”

72 tn Or “[wedding] feast.”

73 tn Heb “the young men.”

74 tn Heb “When they saw him, they gave him thirty companions and they were with him.” Instead of כִּרְאוֹתָם (kirotam, “when they saw”) some ancient witnesses (e.g., some mss of the LXX) assume the reading בְּיִרְאָתָם (bÿyiratam, “because they feared”).

75 tn Heb “If you really can tell it to me [during] the seven days of the feast and you find [its answer].”

76 tn Heb “changes.”

77 tn Heb “you are unable to tell me.”

78 tn Heb “Give your riddle so we can hear it.”

79 tc The MT reads “seventh.” In Hebrew there is a difference of only one letter between the words רְבִיעִי (rÿvii, “fourth”) and שְׁבִיעִי (shÿvii, “seventh”). Some ancient textual witnesses (e.g., LXX and the Syriac Peshitta) read “fourth,” here, which certainly harmonizes better with the preceding verse (cf. “for three days”) and with v. 17. Another option is to change שְׁלֹשֶׁת (shÿloshet, “three”) at the end of v. 14 to שֵׁשֶׁת (sheshet, “six”), but the resulting scenario does not account as well for v. 17, which implies the bride had been hounding Samson for more than one day.

80 tn Heb “Entice your husband so that he might tell us the riddle.”

81 tn Heb “lest.”

82 tn The Hebrew text expands the statement: “burn up with fire.” The words “with fire” are redundant in English and have been omitted from the translation for stylistic reasons.

83 tn Heb “house.”

84 tc The translation assumes the Hebrew form הֲלֹם (halom, “here,” attested in five Hebrew mss and supported by the Targum), instead of the inexplicable הֲלֹא (halo’), a negative particle with interrogative particle prefixed to it.

85 tn For discussion of this difficult form, see C. F. Burney, Judges, 364.

86 tn Heb “on him.”

87 tn Heb “only”; or “simply.”

88 tn Heb “the sons of my people.”

89 tn Heb “Should I tell you?”

90 tn Heb “on him.”

91 tn Heb “the seven days [during] which they held the party.” This does not mean she cried for the entire seven days; v. 15 indicates otherwise. She cried for the remainder of the seven day period, beginning on the fourth day.

92 tn Heb “because she forced him.”

93 tn Heb “she told the riddle to the sons of her people.”

94 sn Plowed with my heifer. This statement emphasizes that the Philistines had utilized a source of information which should have been off-limits to them. Heifers were used in plowing (Hos 10:11), but one typically used one’s own farm animals, not another man’s.

95 tn Heb “equipment”; or “gear.”

96 tn Heb “changes [of clothes].”

97 tn Heb “he went up to his father’s house.”

98 tn Heb “to his companion who had been his attendant.”

99 sn The wheat harvest took place during the month of May. See O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 37, 88.

100 tn Heb “Samson visited his wife with a young goat.”

101 tn The words “to her father” are supplied in the translation (see the end of the verse).

102 tn Heb “I will go to my wife in the bedroom.” The Hebrew idiom בּוֹא אֶל (bo’ ’el, “to go to”) often has sexual connotations. The cohortative form used by Samson can be translated as indicating resolve (“I want to go”) or request (“let me go”).

103 tn Heb “saying, I said.” The first person form of אָמַר (’amar, “to say”) sometimes indicates self-reflection. The girl’s father uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis.

104 tn Heb “hating, you hated.” Once again the girl’s father uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis.

105 tn Heb “Is her younger sister not better than her? Let her [i.e., the younger sister] be yours instead of her [i.e., Samson’s ‘bride’]).”

106 tc Codex Alexandrinus (A) of the (original) LXX has the singular “to him.”

107 tn Heb “I am innocent this time from the Philistines when I do with them harm.”

108 tn Traditionally, “foxes.”

109 tn Heb “He turned tail to tail and placed one torch between the two tails in the middle.”

110 tn Heb “He set fire to the torches.”

111 tn Or “said.”

112 tn Heb “and they said.” The subject of the plural verb is indefinite.

113 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Timnite) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

114 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Samson) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

115 tn The Hebrew text expands the statement with the additional phrase “burned with fire.” The words “with fire” are redundant in English and have been omitted from the translation for stylistic reasons. Some textual witnesses read “burned…her father’s house,” perhaps under the influence of 14:15. On the other hand, the shorter text may have lost this phrase due to haplography.

116 tn The Niphal of נָקָם (naqam, “to avenge, to take vengeance”) followed by the preposition ב (bet) has the force “to get revenge against.” See 1 Sam 18:25; Jer 50:15; Ezek 25:12.

117 tn Heb “and afterward I will stop.”

118 tn Heb “He struck them, calf on thigh, [with] a great slaughter.” The precise meaning of the phrase “calf on thigh” is uncertain.

119 tn Or “camped in.”

120 tn Or “spread out.” The Niphal of נָטָשׁ (natash) has this same sense in 2 Sam 5:18, 22.

121 tn Or “come up against.”

122 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Philistines) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

123 tn Or “swear to me.”

124 tn Heb “meet [with hostility]”; “harm.” In light of v. 13, “kill” is an appropriate translation.

125 tn Heb “No,” meaning that they will not harm him.

126 tn Heb “rushed on.”

127 tn Heb “burned with.”

128 tn Heb “his bonds.”

129 tn Heb “he found.”

130 tn Heb “fresh,” i.e., not decayed and brittle.

131 tn Heb “he reached out his hand and took it.”

132 tn The Hebrew text adds “with it.” This has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.

133 tn The precise meaning of the second half of the line (חֲמוֹר חֲמֹרָתָיִם, khamor khamoratayim) is uncertain. The present translation assumes that the phrase means, “a heap, two heaps” and refers to the heaps of corpses littering the battlefield. Other options include: (a) “I have made donkeys of them” (cf. NIV; see C. F. Burney, Judges, 373, for a discussion of this view, which understands a denominative verb from the noun “donkey”); (b) “I have thoroughly skinned them” (see HALOT 330 s.v. IV cj. חמר, which appeals to an Arabic cognate for support); (c) “I have stormed mightily against them,” which assumes the verb חָמַר (khamar, “to ferment; to foam; to boil up”).

134 tn Heb “from his hand.”

135 sn The name Ramath Lehi means “Height of the Jawbone.”

136 tn Heb “you have placed into the hand of your servant.”

137 tn Heb “the uncircumcised,” which in context refers to the Philistines.

138 tn The word translated “basin” refers to a circular-shaped depression in the land’s surface.

139 tn Heb “spirit.”

140 tn Heb “named it”; the referent (the spring) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

141 sn The name En Hakkore means “Spring of the one who cries out.”

142 tn Traditionally, “judged.”

143 tn Heb “in the days of the Philistines.”

144 tn Heb “and he went in to her.” The idiom בּוֹא אֶל (bo’ ’el, “to go to”) often has sexual connotations.

145 tc Heb “To the Gazites, saying.” A verb is missing from the MT; some ancient Greek witnesses add “it was reported.”

146 tn Heb “And they surrounded.” The rest of the verse suggests that “the town” is the object, not “the house.” Though the Gazites knew Samson was in the town, apparently they did not know exactly where he had gone. Otherwise, they would could have just gone into or surrounded the house and would not have needed to post guards at the city gate.

147 tn Heb “and they lay in wait for him all night in the city gate.”

148 tn Heb “were silent.”

149 tn Heb “saying.”

150 tn The words “He will not leave” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

151 tn Heb “until the light of the morning.”

152 tn Heb “And Samson lay until the middle of the night and arose in the middle of the night.”

153 tn Heb “with the bar.”

154 tn Heb “which is upon the face of Hebron.”

155 tn Heb “subdue him in order to humiliate him.”

156 tn Heb “how you can be subdued in order to be humiliated.”

157 tn Or “moist.”

158 tn The word refers to a bowstring, probably made from animal tendons. See Ps 11:2; Job 30:11.

159 tn Heb “And the ones lying in wait were sitting for her.” The grammatically singular form וְהָאֹרֵב (vÿhaorev) is collective here, referring to the rulers as a group (so also in v. 16).

160 tn Heb “are upon you.”

161 tn Heb “when it smells fire.”

162 tn Heb “His strength was not known.”

163 tn See Gen 31:7; Exod 8:29 [8:25 HT]; Job 13:9; Isa 44:20; Jer 9:4 for other uses of this Hebrew word (II תָּלַל, talal), which also occurs in v. 13.

164 tn Heb “with which no work has been done.”

165 tn Heb “are upon you.”

166 tn Heb “And the ones lying in wait were sitting in the bedroom.”

167 tn Heb “them”; the referent (the ropes) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

168 tn Heb “head” (also in the following verse). By metonymy the head is mentioned in the Hebrew text in place of the hair on it.

169 tn Heb “with the web.” For a discussion of how Delilah did this, see C. F. Burney, Judges, 381, and G. F. Moore, Judges (ICC), 353-54.

170 tn Heb “are upon you.”

171 tc The MT of vv. 13b-14a reads simply, “He said to her, ‘If you weave the seven braids of my head with the web.’ And she fastened with the pin and said to him.” The additional words in the translation, “and secure it with the pin, I will become weak and be like any other man.’ 16:14 So she made him go to sleep, wove the seven braids of his hair into the fabric on the loom,” which without doubt represent the original text, are supplied from the ancient Greek version. (In both vv. 13b and 14a the Greek version has “to the wall” after “with the pin,” but this is an interpretive addition that reflects a misunderstanding of ancient weaving equipment. See G. F. Moore, Judges [ICC], 353-54.) The Hebrew textual tradition was accidentally shortened during the copying process. A scribe’s eye jumped from the first instance of “with the web” to the second, causing him to leave out inadvertently the intervening words.

172 tn The Hebrew adds, “from his sleep.” This has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.

173 tn Heb “when your heart is not with me.”

174 tn Heb “forced him with her words.”

175 tn Heb “and his spirit was short [i.e., impatient] to the point of death.”

176 tn Heb “all his heart.”

177 tn Heb “a razor has not come upon my head.”

178 tn Or “set apart to God.” Traditionally the Hebrew term נָזִיר (nazir) has been translated “Nazirite.” The word is derived from the verb נָזַר (nazar, “to dedicate; to consecrate; to set apart”).

179 tn Heb “from the womb of my mother.”

180 tn Heb “I.” The referent has been made more specific in the translation (“my head”).

181 tn Heb “all his heart.”

182 tn Heb “she sent and summoned.”

183 tc The translation follows the Qere, לִי (li, “to me”) rather than the Kethib, לָהּ (lah, “to her”).

184 tn Heb “all his heart.”

185 tn Heb “on her knees.” The expression is probably euphemistic for sexual intercourse. See HALOT 160-61 s.v. בֶּרֶךְ.

186 tn Heb “she called for a man and she shaved off.” The point seems to be that Delilah acted through the instrumentality of the man. See J. A. Soggin, Judges (OTL), 254.

187 tn Heb “head.” By metonymy the hair of his head is meant.

188 tn Heb “She began to humiliate him.” Rather than referring to some specific insulting action on Delilah’s part after Samson’s hair was shaved off, this statement probably means that she, through the devious actions just described, began the process of Samson’s humiliation which culminates in the following verses.

189 tn Heb “are upon you.”

190 tn The Hebrew adds, “from his sleep.” This has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.

191 tn Heb “and said.”

192 tn Heb “I will go out as before.”

193 tn Heb “the hair of his head.”

194 tn Most interpret this as a reference to Samson, but this seems premature, since v. 25 suggests he was not yet standing before them. Consequently some prefer to see this statement as displaced and move it to v. 25 (see C. F. Burney, Judges, 387). It seems more likely that the pronoun refers to an image of Dagon.

195 tn Heb “multiplied our dead.”

196 tn Heb “When their heart was good.”

197 tn Heb “before them.”

198 tn Heb “the pillars upon which the house is founded.”

199 tn Heb “house.”

200 tn The Hebrew has אֲדֹנָי יֱהֹוִה (’adonay yehovih, “Lord Yahweh”).

201 tn Heb “so I can get revenge with one act of vengeance.”

202 tn Heb “the pillars upon which the house was founded.”

203 tn Heb “he stretched out with strength.”

204 tn Heb “And the ones whom he killed in his death were many more than he killed in his life.”

205 tn Heb “and all the house of his father.”

206 tn Heb “and lifted him up and brought up.”

207 tn Traditionally, “judged.”



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