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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 15

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1After a while, during the time of wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife, taking a young goat as a present for her. He said, ‘I am going to my wife in our bridal chamber,’ but her father would not let him in. 2He said, ‘I was sure that you were really hostile to her, so I gave her in marriage to your groomsman. Her young sister is better than she is—take her instead.’ 3Samson said, ‘This time I shall settle my score with the Philistines; I shall do them some real harm.’ 4He went and caught three hundred jackals and got some torches; he tied the jackals tail to tail and fastened a torch between each pair of tails. 5He then lit the torches and turned the jackals loose in the standing grain of the Philistines, setting fire to standing grain and sheaves, as well as to vineyards and olive groves a 15:5 and olive groves: so Gk; Heb. omits and. .

6‘Who has done this?’ the Philistines demanded, and when they were told that it was Samson, because the Timnite, his father-in-law, had taken his wife and given her to his groomsman, they came and burnt her and her father to death. 7Samson said to them, ‘If you do things like that, I swear I will be revenged on you before I have done.’ 8He smote them hip and thigh, causing great slaughter; and after that he went down to live in a cave in the Rock of Etam.

9The Philistines came up and pitched camp in Judah, and overran Lehi. 10The Judahites said, ‘Why have you attacked us?’ They answered, ‘We have come to take Samson prisoner, and do to him as he did to us.’ 11Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cave in the Rock of Etam, where they said to Samson, ‘Surely you know that the Philistines are our masters? Now look what you have done to us.’ He answered, ‘I only did to them as they had done to me.’ 12They told him, ‘We have come down to bind you and hand you over to the Philistines.’ ‘Swear to me that you will not set upon me yourselves,’ he said. 13‘No, we shall not kill you,’ they answered; ‘we shall only bind you and hand you over to them.’ They bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the cave in the Rock.

14When Samson came to Lehi, the Philistines met him with shouts of triumph; but the spirit of the LORD suddenly seized him, the ropes on his arms became like burnt tow, and his bonds melted away. 15He came on the fresh jaw-bone of a donkey, and seizing it he slew a thousand men. 16He made up this saying:

‘With the jaw-bone of a donkey I have flayed them like donkeys; with the jaw-bone of a donkey I have slain a thousand men.’

17Having said this he threw away the jaw-bone; and he called that place Ramath-lehi b 15:17 Ramath-lehi: that is Jaw-bone Hill. .

18He began to feel very thirsty and cried aloud to the LORD, ‘You have let me, your servant, win this great victory, and must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?’ 19God split open the Hollow c 15:19 Hollow: lit. Mortar. of Lehi and water came out of it. Samson drank, his strength returned, and he revived. This is why to this day the spring in Lehi is called En-hakkore d En-hakkore: that is the Crier's Spring. .

20Samson was judge over Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.

Notes:

a 15:5 and olive groves: so Gk; Heb. omits and.

b 15:17 Ramath-lehi: that is Jaw-bone Hill.

c 15:19 Hollow: lit. Mortar.

d En-hakkore: that is the Crier's Spring.

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