December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Once Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a harlot and visited her.
- Informed that Samson had come there, the men of Gaza surrounded him with an ambush at the city gate all night long. And all the night they waited, saying, "Tomorrow morning we will kill him."
- Samson rested there until midnight. Then he rose, seized the doors of the city gate and the two gateposts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He hoisted them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the ridge opposite Hebron.
- After that he fell in love with a woman in the Wadi Sorek whose name was Delilah.
- The lords of the Philistines came to her and said, "Beguile him and find out the secret of his great strength, and how we may overcome and bind him so as to keep him helpless. We will each give you eleven hundred shekels of silver."
- So Delilah said to Samson, "Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you may be bound so as to be kept helpless."
- "If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings which have not dried," Samson answered her, "I shall be as weak as any other man."
- So the lords of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings which had not dried, and she bound him with them.
- She had men lying in wait in the chamber and so she said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" But he snapped the strings as a thread of tow is severed by a whiff of flame; and the secret of his strength remained unknown.
- Delilah said to Samson, "You have mocked me and told me lies. Now tell me how you may be bound."
- "If they bind me tight with new ropes, with which no work has been done," he answered her, "I shall be as weak as any other man."
- So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them. Then she said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" For there were men lying in wait in the chamber. But he snapped them off his arms like thread.
- Delilah said to Samson again, "Up to now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you may be bound." He said to her, "If you weave my seven locks of hair into the web and fasten them with the pin, I shall be as weak as any other man."
- So while he slept, Delilah wove his seven locks of hair into the web, and fastened them in with the pin. Then she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" Awakening from his sleep, he pulled out both the weaver's pin and the web.
- Then she said to him, "How can you say that you love me when you do not confide in me? Three times already you have mocked me, and not told me the secret of your great strength!"
- She importuned him continually and vexed him with her complaints till he was deathly weary of them.
- So he took her completely into his confidence and told her, "No razor has touched my head, for I have been consecrated to God from my mother's womb. If I am shaved, my strength will leave me, and I shall be as weak as any other man."
- When Delilah saw that he had taken her completely into his confidence, she summoned the lords of the Philistines, saying, "Come up this time, for he has opened his heart to me." So the lords of the Philistines came and brought up the money with them.
- She had him sleep on her lap, and called for a man who shaved off his seven locks of hair. Then she began to mistreat him, for his strength had left him.
- When she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!", and he woke from his sleep, he thought he could make good his escape as he had done time and again, for he did not realize that the LORD had left him.
- But the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes. Then they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze fetters, and he was put to grinding in the prison.
- But the hair of his head began to grow as soon as it was shaved off.
- 1 The lords of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon and to make merry. They said,
"Our god has delivered into our power
Samson our enemy."
- When their spirits were high, they said, "Call Samson that he may amuse us." So they called Samson from the prison, and he played the buffoon before them.
- When the people saw him, they praised their god.
For they said,
"Our god has delivered into our power
our enemy, the ravager of our land,
the one who has multiplied our slain."
Then they stationed him between the columns.
- Samson said to the attendant who was holding his hand, "Put me where I may touch the columns that support the temple and may rest against them."
- The temple was full of men and women: all the lords of the Philistines were there, and from the roof about three thousand men and women looked on as Samson provided amusement.
- Samson cried out to the LORD and said, "O Lord GOD, remember me! Strengthen me, O God, this last time that for my two eyes I may avenge myself once and for all on the Philistines."
- Samson grasped the two middle columns on which the temple rested and braced himself against them, one at his right hand, the other at his left.
- And Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" He pushed hard, and the temple fell upon the lords and all the people who were in it. Those he killed at his death were more than those he had killed during his lifetime.
- All his family and kinsmen went down and bore him up for burial in the grave of his father Manoah between Zorah and Eshtaol. He had judged Israel for twenty years.
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1  Dagon was originally a Mesopotamian deity, whom the Philistines came to worship as their own god of grain.
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