16One day Samson went to the Philistine town of Gaza and spent the night with a prostitute.H3212H8123H5804H7200H802H2181H935 2Word soon spread that Samson was there, so the men of Gaza gathered together and waited all night at the town gates. They kept quiet during the night, saying to themselves, "When the light of morning comes, we will kill him."H5841H559H8123H935H5437H693H3915H8179H5892H2790H3915H559H1242H216H2026 3But Samson stayed in bed only until midnight. Then he got up, took hold of the doors of the town gate, including the two posts, and lifted them up, bar and all. He put them on his shoulders and carried them all the way to the top of the hill across from Hebron.H8123H7901H2677H3915H6965H2677H3915H270H1817H8179H5892H8147H4201H5265H1280H7760H3802H5927H7218H2022H6440H2275 4Some time later Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in the valley of Sorek.H310H157H802H5158H7796H8034H1807 5The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, "Entice Samson to tell you what makes him so strong and how he can be overpowered and tied up securely. Then each of us will give you 1,100 pieces of silver."H5633H6430H5927H559H6601H7200H1419H3581H3201H631H6031H5414H376H505H3967H3701 6So Delilah said to Samson, "Please tell me what makes you so strong and what it would take to tie you up securely."H1807H559H8123H5046H1419H3581H631H6031 7Samson replied, "If I were tied up with seven new bowstrings that have not yet been dried, I would become as weak as anyone else."H8123H559H631H7651H3892H3499H2717H2470H259H120 8So the Philistine rulers brought Delilah seven new bowstrings, and she tied Samson up with them.H5633H6430H5927H7651H3892H3499H2717H631 9She had hidden some men in one of the inner rooms of her house, and she cried out, "Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!" But Samson snapped the bowstrings as a piece of string snaps when it is burned by a fire. So the secret of his strength was not discovered.H693H3427H2315H559H6430H8123H5423H3499H6616H5296H5423H7306H784H3581H3045 10Afterward Delilah said to him, "You've been making fun of me and telling me lies! Now please tell me how you can be tied up securely."H1807H559H8123H2048H1696H3577H5046H631 11Samson replied, "If I were tied up with brand-new ropes that had never been used, I would become as weak as anyone else."H559H631H631H2319H5688H4399H6213H2470H259H120 12So Delilah took new ropes and tied him up with them. The men were hiding in the inner room as before, and again Delilah cried out, "Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!" But again Samson snapped the ropes from his arms as if they were thread.H1807H3947H2319H5688H631H559H6430H8123H693H3427H2315H5423H2220H2339 13Then Delilah said, "You've been making fun of me and telling me lies! Now tell me how you can be tied up securely." Samson replied, "If you were to weave the seven braids of my hair into the fabric on your loom and tighten it with the loom shuttle, I would become as weak as anyone else." So while he slept, Delilah wove the seven braids of his hair into the fabric.H1807H559H8123H2008H2048H1696H3577H5046H631H559H707H7651H4253H7218H4545 14Then she tightened it with the loom shuttle. Again she cried out, "Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!" But Samson woke up, pulled back the loom shuttle, and yanked his hair away from the loom and the fabric.H8628H3489H559H6430H8123H3364H8142H5265H3489H708H4545 15Then Delilah pouted, "How can you tell me, 'I love you,' when you don't share your secrets with me? You've made fun of me three times now, and you still haven't told me what makes you so strong!"H559H349H559H157H3820H2048H7969H6471H5046H1419H3581 16She tormented him with her nagging day after day until he was sick to death of it.H6693H3117H1697H509H5315H7114H4191 17Finally, Samson shared his secret with her. "My hair has never been cut," he confessed, "for I was dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as anyone else."H5046H3820H559H5927H4177H7218H5139H430H517H990H1548H3581H5493H2470H120 18Delilah realized he had finally told her the truth, so she sent for the Philistine rulers. "Come back one more time," she said, "for he has finally told me his secret." So the Philistine rulers returned with the money in their hands.H1807H7200H5046H3820H7971H7121H5633H6430H559H5927H6471H5046H3820H5633H6430H5927H5927H3701H3027 19Delilah lulled Samson to sleep with his head in her lap, and then she called in a man to shave off the seven locks of his hair. In this way she began to bring him down, and his strength left him.H3462H1290H7121H376H1548H7651H4253H7218H2490H6031H3581H5493 20Then she cried out, "Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!" When he woke up, he thought, "I will do as before and shake myself free." But he didn't realize the LORD had left him.H559H6430H8123H3364H8142H559H3318H6471H5287H3045H3068H5493 21So the Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes. They took him to Gaza, where he was bound with bronze chains and forced to grind grain in the prison.H6430H270H5365H5869H3381H5804H631H5178H2912H631H1004 22But before long, his hair began to grow back.H8181H7218H2490H6779H834H1548 23The Philistine rulers held a great festival, offering sacrifices and praising their god, Dagon. They said, "Our god has given us victory over our enemy Samson!"H5633H6430H622H2076H1419H2077H1712H430H8057H559H430H5414H8123H341H3027 24When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, "Our god has delivered our enemy to us! The one who killed so many of us is now in our power!"H5971H7200H1984H430H559H430H5414H3027H341H2717H776H2491H7235 25Half drunk by now, the people demanded, "Bring out Samson so he can amuse us!" So he was brought from the prison to amuse them, and they had him stand between the pillars supporting the roof.H3820H2896H559H7121H8123H7832H7121H8123H631H1004H6440H6711H5975H5982 26Samson said to the young servant who was leading him by the hand, "Place my hands against the pillars that hold up the temple. I want to rest against them."H8123H559H5288H2388H3027H3240H4184H3237H5982H1004H3559H8172 27Now the temple was completely filled with people. All the Philistine rulers were there, and there were about 3,000 men and women on the roof who were watching as Samson amused them.H1004H4390H582H802H5633H6430H1406H7969H505H376H802H7200H8123H7832 28Then Samson prayed to the LORD, "Sovereign LORD, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time. With one blow let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes."H8123H7121H3068H559H136H3069H2142H2388H6471H430H259H5358H5359H6430H8147H5869 29Then Samson put his hands on the two center pillars that held up the temple. Pushing against them with both hands,H8123H3943H8147H8432H5982H1004H3559H5564H259H3225H259H8040 30he prayed, "Let me die with the Philistines." And the temple crashed down on the Philistine rulers and all the people. So he killed more people when he died than he had during his entire lifetime.H8123H559H4191H5315H6430H5186H3581H1004H5307H5633H5971H4191H4191H4194H7227H4191H2416 31Later his brothers and other relatives went down to get his body. They took him back home and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol, where his father, Manoah, was buried. Samson had judged Israel for twenty years.H251H1004H1H3381H5375H5927H6912H6881H847H6913H4495H1H8199H3478H6242H8141
New Living Translation (NLT). Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. More details.