Children's Bible - Old Testament - Sherman and Kent

Samson and the Philistines

Samson Who Did to Others as they Did to Him.

There was a certain man of Zorah, of the clan of the Danites, named Manoah; and he and his wife had no children. But the angel of Jehovah appeared to the woman and said to her, "See, you have no children; but now be careful not to drink any wine nor strong drink, and do not eat anything unclean, for you are about to have a son. No razor shall be used upon your son's head, for from birth the boy shall belong to God." So the woman had a son and named him Samson.

Once Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a Philistine woman. When he came back he said to his father and mother, "I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah. Get her as a wife for me." But his father and mother said to him, "Is there no woman in your own tribe or among all our people, that you must marry a wife from among the heathen Philistines?" But Samson said to his father, "Get her for me, for she suits me."

So Samson went with his father and mother to Timnah; and just as they came to the vineyards of Timnah, a full-grown young lion came roaring toward him. The spirit of Jehovah came upon Samson and, although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the beast in two as one tears a kid. But he did not tell his father and mother what he had done.

Then he went down and talked with the woman, and she suited him. When he returned after a while to marry her, he turned aside to see what was left of the lion, and there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass. He scraped the honey out into his hands and went on, eating it as he went. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them, and they ate; but he did not tell them that he had taken the honey out of the carcass of the lion.

Then Samson went down to the woman; and he gave a feast there (for so bridegrooms used to do). When the Philistines saw him, they provided thirty comrades to be with him. And Samson said to them, "Let me now tell you a riddle. If you can tell me what it is within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty fine linen robes and thirty suits of clothes; but if you cannot tell me, then you shall give me thirty fine linen robes and thirty suits of clothes." They said to him, "Tell your riddle, that we may hear it." And he said to them:

"Out of the eater came something to eat,

And out of the strong came something sweet."

But for six days they could not solve the riddle.

On the seventh day they said to Samson's wife, "Tease your husband until he tells us the riddle, or else we will burn up you and your father's house. Did you invite us here to make us poor?" So Samson's wife wept before him and said, "You only hate me and do not love me at all! You have told a riddle to my fellow countrymen and not told me what it is." He said to her, "See, I have not told it to my father or my mother, and shall I tell you?" So she wept before him as long as their feast lasted, but on the seventh day he told her, because she kept asking him; and she told the riddle to her fellow countrymen.

So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down, "What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?" And he said to them:

"If with my heifer you did not plough,

You had not solved my riddle now."

Then he was suddenly given divine strength, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of their men and took the spoil from them and gave the suits of clothes to those who had guessed the riddle. But he was very angry and returned to his father's house. And his bride was given to his comrade who had been his best man.

After a while, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife with a kid as a present; but when he said, "Let me go into the inner room to my wife," her father would not let him go in, but said, "I thought that you must surely hate her, so I gave her to your best man. Is not her younger sister fairer than she? Take her then, instead." But Samson said to him, "This time I shall be justified if I do the Philistines an injury." So he went and caught three hundred foxes, turned them tail to tail, and put a torch between every pair of tails. When he had set the torches on fire, he let them go into the standing grain of the Philistines and burned up not only the shocks and the standing grain, but the olive orchards as well.

Then the Philistines said, "Who has done this?" The reply was, "Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because that man took Samson's wife and gave her to his best man." So the Philistines went up, and burnt her and her father. Then Samson said to them, "If this is the way you do, I will not stop until I have had my revenge on you!" So he fought fiercely and killed many of them; then he went and stayed in a cavern in the cliff of Etam.

When the Philistines went up and camped in Judah and made a raid on Lehi, the Judahites said, "Why have you come up against us?" They replied, "We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him what he has done to us." Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cavern in the cliff of Etam and said to Samson, "Do you not know that the Philistines are our rulers? What are you doing to us?" He replied, "I have done to them as they did to me." They said to him, "We have come down to bind you, to turn you over to the Philistines." Samson said to them, "Swear to me that you will not attack me yourselves." They said to him, "No; we will simply bind you securely and deliver you to them; but we will not kill you." So they bound him with two new ropes, and brought him up from the cliff.

When he came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted when they met him. Then he was suddenly given divine strength, and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax that has been burned in the fire, and his bonds melted from his hands. And he found a fresh jaw-bone of an ass, and having seized it, he killed a thousand men with it. Then Samson said:

"With the jaw-bone of an ass have I piled them, mass on mass;

A thousand warriors have I slain with the jaw-bone of an ass."

A Strong Man Who Lost His Strength

Afterward, Samson fell in love with a woman in the valley of Sorek, named Delilah. Then the rulers of the Philistines came to her and said, "Find out by teasing him how it is that his strength is so great and how we may overpower and bind him that we may torture him. Then we will each one of us give you eleven hundred pieces of silver." So Delilah said to Samson, "Tell me how it is that your strength is so great and how you might be bound to torture you?" Samson said to her, "If they should bind me with seven green bowstrings which have not been dried, I would become weak like any other man."

Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven green bowstrings which had not been dried, and she bound him with them. She had the men lying in wait in the inner room, but when she said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" he snapped the bowstrings as a piece of yarn is snapped when it comes near the fire; so they did not find out the secret of his strength.

Then Delilah said to Samson, "You have deceived me and lied to me; now tell me with what you can be bound fast." He said to her, "If they should bind me securely with new ropes with which no work has been done, I would become weak like any other man." So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" Men were also lying in wait in the inner room; but he snapped the ropes from his arms like thread.

Again Delilah said to Samson, "So far you have deceived me and lied to me; tell me now with what you can be bound fast." He said to her, "If you should weave the seven braids on my head along with the web and beat it into form with the weaving pin, I would become weak like any other man." So while he was asleep, she took the seven braids of his hair and wove it with the web and beat it into form with the pin, and said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" But he awoke out of his sleep and pulled up the loom and the web.

Then she said to him, "How can you say, 'I love you,' when you do not trust me? You have deceived me three times already and have not told me the secret of your great strength." But in time, since she daily begged and urged him, he was wearied to death, and told her all that he knew, saying, "A razor has never touched my head; for I have belonged to God from my birth. If I should be shaved, my strength would be gone, and I would become weak like any other man."

When Delilah saw that he had told her all that he knew, she sent and called for the rulers of the Philistines and said, "Come at once, for he has told me all that he knows." Then the rulers of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money with them. After she had put Samson to sleep on her knees, she called for a man and had him shave off the seven braids on his head. Then she began to tease him, and his strength went from him; and she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" And he awoke out of his sleep and thought, "I will get up as I have done at other times and shake myself free"; for he did not know that Jehovah had left him. So the Philistines seized him and bored out his eyes. Then they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with chains of brass, and then he was set to grinding in the prison. But the hair of his head began to grow again as soon as he was shaved.

Then the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon and to rejoice, for they said, "Our god has given Samson, our enemy, into our power." When the people saw him, they also praised their god, saying:

"Our god has laid low our foe,

He who brought our country woe,

He who slew us with many a blow."

When they were in high spirits, they said, "Call Samson that he may amuse us." So they called Samson from the prison and he amused them; and they placed him between the pillars.

Then Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, "Let me touch the pillars on which the building rests, that I may lean against them." Now the building was full of men and women, and all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof about three thousand men and women were looking on while Samson amused them. Samson called on Jehovah and said, "O Jehovah, remember me and strengthen me, I pray thee, just this once, O God, that by one act I may avenge myself on the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes."

Then Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the building rested, one with his right hand and the other with his left, and leaned against them. And Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines." Then he bent over with all his strength, and the house fell upon the rulers and upon all the people who were in it. So those whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed during his lifetime.

Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him away and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the burying-place of Manoah his father.