1 Soon after these days, in the days of the wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife with a young goat. And he said, “I will go to my wife in her private chamber.” But her father would not permit him to enter. 2 Her father said, “I thought that you thoroughly hated her; therefore I gave her to one of your friends. Is not her younger sister better than she? Please, take her instead.”
Samson Decimates the Philistines
3 And Samson said to them, “This once I shall be blameless regarding the Philistines, for I will do mischief among them!” 4 Then Samson went and caught three hundred foxes; and he took torches, turned the foxes tail to tail, and put a torch between each pair of tails, and tied it. 5 When he had set the torches on fire, he sent the foxes out into the standing grain of the Philistines, and they burned from the threshing floor even to the standing grain, as far as the vineyard and olive groves.
6 Then the Philistines said, “Who did this?” And they answered, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he took his wife and gave her to one of his friends.” So the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire. 7 Samson said to them, “Whereas you dealt thus with her, surely I will take revenge upon you for a month and I will finally stop.” 8 So he struck them upon the thigh of the leg with a great blow. Afterward he went down and dwelt in a cave at the rock of Etam.
9 Now the Philistines went up and encamped in Judah, and they spread out across Levi. 10 And the men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” So the Philistines answered, “We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him as he has done to us.” 11 Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cave at the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines rule over us? Why did you do this to us?” And Sampson said to them, “As they did to me, so I have done to them.”
12 But they said to him, “We have come down to bind you so that we may deliver you to the Philistines.” Then Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not kill me yourselves.” 13 So they spoke to him, saying, “No, but we will bind you securely and deliver you into their hand; but we will surely not put you to death.” And they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from that rock. 14 When they came to Lehi, the Philistines wailed loudly and ran to engage him. But the Spirit of the Lord leapt upon him, and the ropes on his arms became like flax burned with fire, and his bonds fell away from his hands. 15 He found the jawbone of an ass that had been cast aside, and he reached out and took it, and struck a thousand men with it. 16 Then Samson said:
“With the jawbone of an ass I utterly destroyed them,
For with the jawbone of an ass I struck down a thousand men!”
17 And so when he had finished speaking, he threw the jawbone from his hand, and called that place the Ramath Lehi. 18 Then he became exceedingly thirsty, and wept before the Lord and said, “You were well-pleased to grant this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant; and now I shall die of thirst and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised.” 19 And God broke open a hollow in the ground, and out from it water came forth, and he drank. His spirit returned and he was revived. Therefore he called it “the Spring of the One Who Called,” which is in Lehi to this day. 20 And in the days of the Philistines, he judged Israel twenty years.
Samson and Delilah
1 Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her. 2 When someone told the Gazites, saying, “Samson has come here!” they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the gate of the city. They were quiet all night, saying, “Let us wait until dawn, and we will kill him.” 3 Samson slept till midnight and rose up, and at midnight he took hold of the doors of the gate of the city with the two gateposts, and lifted them up with the bar, and placed them on his shoulders. He then carried them to the top of the mountain facing Hebron, and he set them there.
4 Sometime thereafter, he came to love a woman in Alsorech whose name was Delilah. 5 And the leaders of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Trick him and find out where his great strength lies. Learn by what means we may overpower him, so that we may bind him and humble him. If you do, every one of us will give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.” 6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and with what you can be bound that you may be subdued and controlled.”
7 And Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven damp cords, not yet spoiled, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 8 So the leaders of the Philistines brought her seven damp cords, not yet spoiled, and she bound him with them. 9 And with her in the private chamber, an ambush was set. And she said to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he broke the cords as if someone should break a thread of flax when it touches the fire. Thus the secret of his strength remained unknown.
10 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Indeed! You deceived me and told me lies. Now therefore, tell me what you may be bound with.” 11 So he said to her, “If they bind me securely with new ropes that have never been used, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 12 Therefore Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them, and those in ambush came out of the private chamber, and she said to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he broke them off his arms like thread. 13 And Delilah said to Samson, “Indeed! You have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me, I entreat you, with what can you be tightly bound?”
And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head into a braid, and secure them together with a wall peg, I will be weak like any other man.” 14 And so it happened when he was asleep, Delilah braided the seven locks of his head and secured them with a wall peg, and said to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” And he awoke from his sleep, and pulled out the peg.
15 Then Delilah said to Samson, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You deceived me a third time; and you have not yet told me where your great strength lies.” 16 And it came to pass, after she pestered him continually with her words and pressured him sorely, that his spirit failed him almost to death. 17 Then he told her everything in his heart, and said to her, “No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a holy one of God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like all other men.”
18 And Delilah discerned he told her all his heart, and she sent and called for the leaders of the Philistines, saying, “Come up once more, for he told me all his heart.” So the leaders of the foreigners went to her and brought the money in their hands. 19 Delilah lulled Samson to sleep on her knees, and called for a man, and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Thus she could finally subdue and control him, for his strength departed from him. 20 And Delilah said, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” So he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as before, and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. 21 Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with fetters of bronze; and he was grinding grain in the prison house.
Death of Samson
22 Soon the hair of his head began to grow as before it was shaven. 23 And the leaders of the Philistines met to offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon and to make merry. And they said, “Our god delivered our enemy, Samson, into our hands.” 24 When the people saw Samson, they praised their god; for they said, “Our god has delivered into our hands our enemy, the destroyer of our land; the one who multiplied our dead.” 25 And when their heart was merry, they said, “Call Samson out of the guard house, and let him play before us.” So they called Samson from the prison house, and he played before them. And they slapped him and stationed him between the pillars. 26 Then Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars that support the house, so that I can lean on them.” 27 Now the house was full of men and women, including all the leaders of the Philistines, with about seven hundred men and women on the roof watching while Samson played.
28 Then Samson wept before the Lord, saying, “Lord, my Lord, remember me now. O God, strengthen me just this once so I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 And Samson took hold of the two pillars of the house, the very two which held up the house, and he leaned himself against them. He grasped one with his right hand and the other with his left, 30 and then Samson said, “Let my life end with the Philistines.” And with all his strength, he pushed on the pillars, and the house came crashing down on the leaders and all the people in it. In his dying, Samson caused more people to die than were brought to death in his life. 31 And his brothers and all his father’s household came there and took him. They brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. He judged Israel for twenty years.
The Idolatry of Micah
1 Now there was a man from Mount Ephraim whose name was Micah. 2 And he said to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekels of silver you took for yourself, and about which you cursed me and spoke it in my ears, behold the silver is with me; I took it.” And his mother said, “Blessed be my son of the Lord.” 3 And he returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, and his mother said, “I consecrated the silver to the Lord out of my hand, for my son to make a carved and a molten image; and now I will restore it to you.” 4 Micah returned the silver to his mother, and his mother took two hundred pieces of silver and gave them to the silversmith, who made it into a carved and molten image. It was in Micah’s house. 5 And to him, the house of Micah was a house of God, and he made an ephod and idols; and he consecrated one of his sons, and to him he became his priest. 6 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
7 There was a young man from Bethlehem of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, sojourning there. 8 And the man departed from the city of Bethlehem in Judah to journey to wherever he could find a place. As he made his way, he came as far as Mount Ephraim and to the house of Micah. 9 And Micah said to him, “Where do you come from?” So he said to him, “I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and I am journeying to wherever I might find a place.” 10 Micah said to him, “Dwell with me and be a father and a priest to me, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a day, a change of clothes, and all your living needs.” So the Levite entered. 11 He began to dwell with the man, and the young man became like one of his sons to him. 12 So Micah consecrated the Levite, and to him he became his priest, and he took his place in the house of Micah. 13 Then Micah said, “Now I know the Lord will be good to me, since a Levite has become my priest!”
11 I said, “Now I am beginning to see;
This change is by the right hand of the Most High.”
12 I remembered the Lord’s works,
For I will remember Your wonders of old,
13 And I will meditate on all Your works;
And I will consider Your ways.
14 O God, Your way is in the holy place;
Who is so great a God as our God?
15 You are the God who does wonders;
You made known Your power among the peoples;
16 You redeemed Your people with Your arm,
The sons of Jacob and Joseph.
17 The waters saw You, O God;
The waters saw You and were afraid,
And the depths were troubled,
A multitude like the sound of waters.
18 The clouds uttered their voice,
For Your arrows passed through them;
19 The voice of Your thunder was in the wheel;
Your lightning gave light to the world;
It was shaken, and the earth was made to tremble.
20 Your way is in the sea,
And Your paths are in many waters;
And Your footsteps shall not be known.
21 You led Your people as sheep
By the hand of Moses and Aaron.
1 All the works of the humble are evident before the Lord,
But the ungodly will be destroyed in the evil day.
2 Every high-hearted man is unclean before the Lord,
And he who joins hands with the unrighteous will not go unpunished.
3 The beginning of a good way is to do righteous things,
And this is more acceptable to God than to offer sacrifices.
4 He who seeks the Lord will find knowledge with righteousness,
And those who seek Him rightly will find peace.
5 All the works of the Lord are with righteousness,
But the ungodly man is kept for an evil day.
17 Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them.
18 Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him.
19 And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus.
20 When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”
21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts?
23 “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’?
24 “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
25 Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.
26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”
Matthew the Tax Collector
(Matt. 9:9–13; Mark 2:13–17)
27 After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.”
28 So he left all, rose up, and followed Him.
29 Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them.
30 And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, “Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
31 Jesus answered and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
32 “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Jesus Is Questioned About Fasting
(Matt. 9:14–17; Mark 2:18–22)
33 Then they said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?”
34 And He said to them, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them?
35 “But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.”
36 Then He spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old.
37 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined.
38 “But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.
39 “And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ”