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Judges Chapter 16 | Parsha:

1Once Samson went to Gaza; there he met a whore and slept with her. 2The Gazites [learned] that Samson had come there, so they gathered and lay in ambush for him in the town gate the whole night; and all night long they kept whispering to each other, “When daylight comes, we’ll kill him.” 3But Samson lay in bed only till midnight. At midnight he got up, grasped the doors of the town gate together with the two gateposts, and pulled them out along with the bar. He placed them on his shoulders and carried them off to the top of the hill that is near Hebron.

4After that, he fell in love with a woman in the Wadi Sorek, named Delilah. 5The lords of the Philistines went up to her and said, “Coax him and find out what makes him so strong, and how we can overpower him, tie him up, and make him helpless; and we’ll each give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.”

6So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me, what makes you so strong? And how could you be tied up and made helpless?” 7Samson replied, “If I were to be tied with seven fresh tendons that had not been dried, I should become as weak as an ordinary man.” 8So the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh tendons that had not been dried. She bound him with them, 9while an ambush was waiting in her room. Then she called out to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” Whereat he pulled the tendons apart, as a strand of tow comes apart at the touch of fire. So the secret of his strength remained unknown.

10Then Delilah said to Samson, “Oh, you deceived me; you lied to me! Do tell me now how you could be tied up.” 11He said, “If I were to be bound with new ropes that had never been used, I would become as weak as an ordinary man.” 12So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them, while an ambush was waiting in a room. And she cried, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he tore them off his arms like a thread. 13Then Delilah said to Samson, “You have been deceiving me all along; you have been lying to me! Tell me, how could you be tied up?” He answered her, “If you weave seven locks of my head into the web.” 14And she pinned it with a peg and cried to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” Awaking from his sleep, he pulled out the peg, the loom, and the web.

15Then she said to him, “How can you say you love me, when you don’t confide in me? This makes three times that you’ve deceived me and haven’t told me what makes you so strong.” 16Finally, after she had nagged him and pressed him constantly, he was wearied to death 17and he confided everything to her. He said to her, “No razor has ever touched my head, for I have been a nazirite to God since I was in my mother’s womb. If my hair were cut, my strength would leave me and I should become as weak as an ordinary man.”

18Sensing that he had confided everything to her, Delilah sent for the lords of the Philistines, with this message: “Come up once more, for he has confided everything to me.” And the lords of the Philistines came up and brought the money with them. 19She lulled him to sleep on her lap. Then she called in a man, and she had him cut off the seven locks of his head; thus she weakened him and made him helpless: his strength slipped away from him. 20She cried, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” And he awoke from his sleep, thinking he would break loose and shake himself free as he had the other times. For he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. 21The Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and shackled him in bronze fetters, and he became a mill slave in the prison. 22After his hair was cut off, it began to grow back.

23Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon and to make merry. They chanted,
“Our god has delivered into our hands
Our enemy Samson.”

24When the people saw him, they sang praises to their god, chanting,
“Our god has delivered into our hands
The enemy who devastated our land,
And who slew so many of us.”

25As their spirits rose, they said, “Call Samson here and let him dance for us.” Samson was fetched from the prison, and he danced for them. Then they put him between the pillars. 26And Samson said to the boy who was leading him by the hand, “Let go of me and let me feel the pillars that the temple rests upon, that I may lean on them.” 27Now the temple was full of men and women; all the lords of the Philistines were there, and there were some three thousand men and women on the roof watching Samson dance. 28Then Samson called to the Lord, “O Lord God! Please remember me, and give me strength just this once, O God, to take revenge of the Philistines, if only for one of my two eyes.” 29He embraced the two middle pillars that the temple rested upon, one with his right arm and one with his left, and leaned against them; 30Samson cried, “Let me die with the Philistines!” and he pulled with all his might. The temple came crashing down on the lords and on all the people in it. Those who were slain by him as he died outnumbered those who had been slain by him when he lived.

31His brothers and all his father’s household came down and carried him up and buried him in the tomb of his father Manoah, between Zorah and Eshtaol. He had led Israel for twenty years.

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