Judges 16-18 Bible in Basic English

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Samson at Gaza

16 1  Now Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a loose woman and went in to her. 2  And it was said to the Gazites, Samson is here. So they went round, watching for him all day at the doorway of the town, but at night they kept quiet, saying, When daylight comes we will put him to death. 3  And Samson was there till the middle of the night; then he got up, and took a grip on the doors of the town, pulling them up, together with their two supports and their locks, and put them on his back and took them up to the top of the hill in front of Hebron.

Samson and Delilah

4  Now after this, he was in love with a woman in the valley of Sorek, named Delilah. 5  And the chiefs of the Philistines came up to her, and said to her, Make use of your power over him and see what is the secret of his great strength, and how we may get the better of him, and put bands on him, so that we may make him feeble; and every one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver. 6  So Delilah said to Samson, Make clear to me now what is the secret of your great strength, and how you may be put in bands and made feeble. 7  And Samson said to her, If seven new bow-cords which have never been made dry are knotted round me, I will become feeble and will be like any other man. 8  So the chiefs of the Philistines gave her seven new bow-cords which had never been made dry, and she had them tightly knotted round him. 9  Now she had men waiting secretly in the inner room; and she said to him, The Philistines are on you, Samson. And the cords were broken by him as a twist of thread is broken when touched by a flame. So the secret of his strength did not come to light. 10  Then Delilah said to Samson, See, you have been making sport of me with false words; now, say truly how may you be put in bands? 11  And he said to her, If they only put round me new thick cords which have never been used, then I will become feeble and will be like any other man. 12  So Delilah took new thick cords, knotting them tightly round him, and said to him, The Philistines are on you, Samson. And men were waiting secretly in the inner room. And the cords were broken off his arms like threads. 13  Then Delilah said to Samson, Up to now you have made sport of me with false words; now say truly, how may you be put in bands? And he said to her, If you get the seven twists of my hair worked into the cloth you are making and fixed with the pin, I will become feeble and will be like any other man. 14  So while he was sleeping she got the seven twists of his hair worked into her cloth and fixed with the pin, and said to him, The Philistines are on you, Samson. Then awaking from his sleep, he got up quickly, pulling up cloth and machine together. 15  And she said to him, Why do you say you are my lover when your heart is not mine? Three times you have made sport of me, and have not made clear to me the secret of your great strength. 16  So day after day she gave him no peace, for ever questioning him till his soul was troubled to death. 17  And opening all his heart to her, he said to her, My head has never been touched by a blade, for I have been separate to God from the day of my birth: if my hair is cut off, then my strength will go from me and I will become feeble, and will be like any other man.

18  And when Delilah saw that he had let her see into his heart, she sent word to the chiefs of the Philistines saying, Come up this time, for he has let out all his heart to me. Then the chiefs of the Philistines came to her, with the money in their hands. 19  And she made him go to sleep on her knees; and she sent for a man and had his seven twists of hair cut off; and while it was being done he became feeble and his strength went from him. 20  Then she said, The Philistines are on you, Samson. And awaking from his sleep, he said, I will go out as at other times, shaking myself free. But he was not conscious that the Lord had gone from him. 21  So the Philistines took him and put out his eyes; then they took him down to Gaza, and, chaining him with bands of brass, put him to work crushing grain in the prison-house.

22  But the growth of his hair was starting again after it had been cut off.

The Death of Samson

23  And the chiefs of the Philistines came together to make a great offering to Dagon their god, and to be glad; for they said, Our god has given into our hands Samson our hater. 24  And when the people saw him, they gave praise to their god; for they said, Our god has given into our hands the one who was fighting against us, who made our country waste, and who put great numbers of us to death. 25  Now when their hearts were full of joy, they said, Send for Samson to make sport for us. And they sent for Samson out of the prison-house, and he made sport before them; and they put him between the pillars. 26  And Samson said to the boy who took him by the hand, Let me put my hand on the pillars supporting the house, so that I may put my back against them. 27  Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and about three thousand men and women were on the roof, looking on while Samson made sport. 28  And Samson, crying out to the Lord, said, O Lord God, do have me now in mind, and do make me strong only this once, O God, so that I may take one last payment from the Philistines for my two eyes. 29  Then Samson put his arms round the two middle pillars supporting the house, putting his weight on them, on one with his right hand and on the other with his left. 30  And Samson said, Let death overtake me with the Philistines. And he put out all his strength, and the house came down on the chiefs and on all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he sent to destruction by his death were more than all those on whom he had sent destruction in his life. 31  Then his brothers and his father's people came down and took him up and put his body to rest in the earth between Zorah and Eshtaol in the resting-place of Manoah his father. And he had been judge of Israel for twenty years.

Micah's Images and His Priest

17 1  Now there was a man of the hill-country of Ephraim named Micah. 2  And he said to his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver which were taken from you, about which you took an oath and said in my hearing, I have given this silver to the Lord from my hand for myself, to make a pictured image and a metal image: see, I have the silver, for I took it: so now I will give it back to you. And his mother said, May the blessing of the Lord be on my son. 3  And he gave back the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, and his mother said, I have made the silver holy to the Lord from me for my son, to make a pictured image and a metal image. 4  So he gave the silver back to his mother. Then his mother took two hundred shekels of silver and gave them to a metal-worker who made a pictured image and a metal image from them: and it was in the house of Micah. 5  And the man Micah had a house of gods; and he made an ephod and family gods and put one of his sons in the position of priest. 6  In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did as seemed right to him.

7  Now there was a young man living in Beth-lehem-judah, of the family of Judah and a Levite, who was not a townsman of the place. 8  And he went away from the town of Beth-lehem-judah, looking for somewhere to make his living-place; and on his journey he came to the hill-country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah. 9  And Micah said to him, Where do you come from? And he said to him, I am a Levite from Beth-lehem-judah, and I am looking for a living-place. 10  Then Micah said to him, Make your living-place with me, and be a father and a priest to me, and I will give you ten shekels of silver a year and your clothing and food. 11  And the Levite said he would make his living-place with the man, and he became to him as one of his sons. 12  And Micah gave the position to the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. 13  Then Micah said, Now I am certain that the Lord will do me good, seeing that the Levite has become my priest.

Micah and the Danites

18 1  In those days there was no king in Israel, and in those days the Danites were looking for a heritage for themselves, to be their living-place; for up to that time no distribution of land had been made to them among the tribes of Israel. 2  So the children of Dan sent five men from among their number, strong men, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, to take a look at the land and make a search through it; and they said to them, Go and make a search through the land; and they came to the hill-country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, where they made a stop for the night. 3  When they were near the house of Micah, hearing a voice which was not strange to them, that of the young Levite, they went out of their road to his place, and said to him, How did you come here? and what are you doing in this place? and why are you here? 4  And he said to them, This is what Micah did for me, and he gave me payment and I became his priest. 5  Then they said, Do get directions from God for us, to see if the journey on which we are going will have a good outcome. 6  And the priest said to them, Go in peace: your way is guided by the Lord.

7  Then the five men went on their way and came to Laish and saw the people who were there, living without thought of danger, like the Zidonians, quiet and safe; for they had everything on earth for their needs, and they were far from the Zidonians and had no business with Aram. 8  So they came back to their brothers in Zorah and Eshtaol, and their brothers said to them, What news have you? 9  And they said, Up! and let us go against Laish; for we have seen the land, and it is very good: why are you doing nothing? Do not be slow to go in and take the land for your heritage. 10  When you come there you will come to a people living without thought of danger; and the land is wide, and God has given it into your hands: a place where there is everything on earth for man's needs. 11  So six hundred men of the Danites from Zorah and Eshtaol went out armed with instruments of war. 12  And they went up and put up their tents in Kiriath-jearim in Judah: so that place is named Mahaneh-dan to this day. It is to the west of Kiriath-jearim. 13  From there they went on to the hill-country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah.

14  Then the five men who had gone to make a search through the country of Laish, said to their brothers, Have you knowledge that in these houses there is an ephod and family gods and a pictured image and a metal image? So now you see what to do. 15  And turning from their road they came to the house of the young Levite, the house of Micah, and said to him, Is it well with you? 16  And the six hundred armed men of the Danites took their places by the doorway. 17  Then the five men who had gone to make a search through the land, went in and took the pictured image and the ephod and the family gods and the metal image; and the priest was by the doorway with the six hundred armed men. 18  And when they went into Micah's house and took out the pictured image and the ephod and the family gods and the metal image, the priest said to them, What are you doing? 19  And they said to him, Be quiet; say nothing, and come with us and be our father and priest; is it better for you to be priest to one man's house or to be priest to a tribe and a family in Israel? 20  Then the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod and the family gods and the pictured image and went with the people. 21  So they went on their way again, putting the little ones and the oxen and the goods in front of them. 22  When they had gone some way from the house of Micah, the men from the houses near Micah's house came together and overtook the children of Dan, 23  Crying out to them. And the Danites, turning round, said to Micah, What is your trouble, that you have taken up arms? 24  And he said, You have taken my gods which I made, and my priest, and have gone away; what is there for me now? Why then do you say to me, What is your trouble? 25  And the children of Dan said to him, Say no more, or men of bitter spirit may make an attack on you, causing loss of your life and the lives of your people. 26  Then the children of Dan went on their way; and when Micah saw that they were stronger than he, he went back to his house.

27  And they took that which Micah had made, and his priest, and came to Laish, to a people living quietly and without thought of danger, and they put them to the sword without mercy, burning down their town. 28  And they had no saviour, because it was far from Zidon, and they had no business with Aram; and it was in the valley which is the property of Beth-rehob. And building up the town again they took it for their living-place. 29  And they gave the town the name of Dan, after Dan their father, who was the son of Israel: though the town had been named Laish at first. 30  (And the children of Dan put up the pictured image for themselves; and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, and his sons were priests for the tribe of the Danites till the day when the ark was taken prisoner.) 31  And they put up for themselves the image which Micah had made, and it was there all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.

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