Judges 16-18 World English Bible

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Samson at Gaza

16 1  Samson went to Gaza, and saw there a prostitute, and went in to her. 2  It was told the Gazites, saying, “Samson is here!” They surrounded him, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, Let be until morning light, then we will kill him. 3  Samson lay until midnight, and arose at midnight, and laid hold of the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and plucked them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of the mountain that is before Hebron.

Samson and Delilah

4  It came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5  The lords of the Philistines came up to her, and said to her, “Entice him, and see in which his great strength lies, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.” 6  Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me, please, where your great strength lies, and what you might be bound to afflict you.” 7  Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven green cords that were never dried, then shall I become weak, and be as another man.” 8  Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green cords which had not been dried, and she bound him with them. 9  Now she had an ambush waiting in the inner chamber. She said to him, “The Philistines are on you, Samson!” He broke the cords, as a string of tow is broken when it touches the fire. So his strength was not known. 10  Delilah said to Samson, “Behold, you have mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, please, with which you might be bound.” 11  He said to her, “If they only bind me with new ropes with which no work has been done, then shall I become weak, and be as another man.” 12  So Delilah took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said to him, “The Philistines are on you, Samson!” The ambush was waiting in the inner chamber. He broke them off his arms like a thread. 13  Delilah said to Samson, “Until now, you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me with what you might be bound.”

He said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web.” 14  She fastened it with the pin, and said to him, “The Philistines are on you, Samson!” He awakened out of his sleep, and plucked away the pin of the beam, and the web. 15  She said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies.” 16  It happened, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, that his soul was troubled to death. 17  He told her all his heart, and said to her, “No razor has ever come on my head; for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will go from me, and I will become weak, and be like any other man.”

18  When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up this once, for he has told me all his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her, and brought the money in their hand. 19  She made him sleep on her knees; and she called for a man, and shaved off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. 20  She said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!”

He awoke out of his sleep, and said, “I will go out as at other times, and shake myself free.” But he didn’t know that Yahweh had departed from him. 21  The Philistines laid hold on him, and put out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he ground at the mill in the prison.

22  However the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaved.

The Death of Samson

23  The lords of the Philistines gathered them together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice; for they said, “Our god has delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.” 24  When the people saw him, they praised their god; for they said, “Our god has delivered our enemy and the destroyer of our country, who has slain many of us, into our hand.” 25  It happened, when their hearts were merry, that they said, “Call for Samson, that he may entertain us.” They called for Samson out of the prison; and he performed before them. They set him between the pillars; 26  and Samson said to the boy who held him by the hand, “Allow me to feel the pillars whereupon the house rests, that I may lean on them.” 27  Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were on the roof about three thousand men and women, who saw while Samson performed. 28  Samson called to Yahweh, and said, “Lord Yahweh, remember me, please, and strengthen me, please, only this once, God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29  Samson took hold of the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and leaned on them, the one with his right hand, and the other with his left. 30  Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” He bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell on the lords, and on all the people who were therein. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than those who he killed in his life. 31  Then his brothers and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the burial site of Manoah his father. He judged Israel twenty years.

Micah's Images and His Priest

17 1  There was a man of the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Micah. 2  He said to his mother, “The eleven hundred pieces of silver that were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse, and also spoke it in my ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it.”

His mother said, “Blessed be my son of Yahweh.” 3  He restored the eleven hundred pieces of silver to his mother; and his mother said, “I most certainly dedicate the silver to Yahweh from my hand for my son, to make an engraved image and a molten image. Now therefore I will restore it to you.” 4  When he restored the money to his mother, his mother took two hundred pieces of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made of it an engraved image and a molten image: and it was in the house of Micah. 5  The man Micah had a house of gods, and he made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest. 6  In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

7  There was a young man out of Bethlehem Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite; and he sojourned there. 8  The man departed out of the city, out of Bethlehem Judah, to sojourn where he could find a place, and he came to the hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he traveled. 9  Micah said to him, “Where did you come from?”

He said to him, “I am a Levite of Bethlehem Judah, and I am looking for a place to live.” 10  Micah said to him, “Dwell with me, and be to me a father and a priest, and I will give you ten pieces of silver per year, a suit of clothing, and your food.” So the Levite went in. 11  The Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was to him as one of his sons. 12  Micah consecrated the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. 13  Then said Micah, “Now know I that Yahweh will do good to me, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.”

Micah and the Danites

18 1  In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for to that day their inheritance had not fallen to them among the tribes of Israel. 2  The children of Dan sent of their family five men from their whole number, men of valor, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said to them, “Go, explore the land!”

They came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there. 3  When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite; and they turned aside there, and said to him, “Who brought you here? What do you do in this place? What do you have here?” 4  He said to them, “Thus and thus has Micah dealt with me, and he has hired me, and I am become his priest.” 5  They said to him, “Ask counsel, please, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous.” 6  The priest said to them, “Go in peace. Your way in which you go is before Yahweh.”

7  Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people who were therein, how they lived in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure; for there was none in the land, possessing authority, that might put them to shame in anything, and they were far from the Sidonians, and had no dealings with any man. 8  They came to their brothers to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brothers said to them, “What do you say?” 9  They said, “Arise, and let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. Do you stand still? Don’t be slothful to go and to enter in to possess the land. 10  When you go, you shall come to a secure people, and the land is large; for God has given it into your hand, a place where there is no want of anything that is in the earth.” 11  There set forth from there of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men girt with weapons of war. 12  They went up, and encamped in Kiriath Jearim, in Judah: therefore they called that place Mahaneh Dan, to this day; behold, it is behind Kiriath Jearim. 13  They passed there to the hill country of Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah.

14  Then the five men who went to spy out the country of Laish answered, and said to their brothers, “Do you know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and an engraved image, and a molten image? Now therefore consider what you have to do.” 15  They turned aside there, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even to the house of Micah, and asked him of his welfare. 16  The six hundred men girt with their weapons of war, who were of the children of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate. 17  The five men who went to spy out the land went up, and came in there, and took the engraved image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men girt with weapons of war. 18  When these went into Micah’s house, and fetched the engraved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?” 19  They said to him, “Hold your peace, put your hand on your mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?” 20  The priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the engraved image, and went in the midst of the people. 21  So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the livestock and the goods before them. 22  When they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men who were in the houses near to Micah’s house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan. 23  They cried to the children of Dan. They turned their faces, and said to Micah, “What ails you, that you come with such a company?” 24  He said, “You have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and have gone away, and what more do I have? How then do you say to me, ‘What ails you?’” 25  The children of Dan said to him, “Don’t let your voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows fall on you, and you lose your life, with the lives of your household.” 26  The children of Dan went their way: and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house.

27  They took that which Micah had made, and the priest whom he had, and came to Laish, to a people quiet and secure, and struck them with the edge of the sword; and they burnt the city with fire. 28  There was no deliverer, because it was far from Sidon, and they had no dealings with any man; and it was in the valley that lies by Beth Rehob. They built the city, and lived therein. 29  They called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born to Israel: however the name of the city was Laish at the first. 30  The children of Dan set up for themselves the engraved image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land. 31  So they set them up Micah’s engraved image which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.

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