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Judges 16


Judges 16, one of the most famous chapters in the Book of Judges, details the story of Samson and Delilah, his downfall due to betrayal, and his final act of strength. This chapter is pivotal in understanding the complexity of Samson's character and his ultimate fate. Key aspects include:
Samson in Gaza: The chapter begins with Samson visiting Gaza, where he spends the night with a prostitute. The Gazites plan to ambush him, but Samson escapes by tearing out the city gates and carrying them to the top of a hill.
Samson and Delilah: Samson falls in love with a woman named Delilah in the Valley of Sorek. The Philistine rulers offer her silver to find out the secret of Samson's strength and how to overpower him.
Delilah’s Betrayal: Delilah repeatedly asks Samson about the source of his strength. Samson initially deceives her with false answers, but Delilah persists, accusing him of not trusting her.
Samson’s Secret Revealed: Eventually, Samson reveals that his strength lies in his hair, which has never been cut because he is a Nazirite dedicated to God. Delilah lulls Samson to sleep and summons a man to shave his seven locks.
Samson’s Capture and Imprisonment: With his hair gone, Samson's strength leaves him, and the Philistines capture, blind, and imprison him. They bring him to Gaza, where he is bound with bronze shackles and set to grinding grain in the prison.
Samson’s Final Act: During a Philistine celebration in the temple of Dagon, they bring out Samson to entertain them. Samson, whose hair has begun to grow back, prays to the LORD for strength one last time. He pushes against the temple pillars, collapsing the building and killing himself along with the Philistine leaders and many others.
Samson’s Burial: Samson's family retrieves his body and buries him between Zorah and Eshtaol, in the tomb of his father Manoah.
Judges 16 culminates in the tragic yet heroic end of Samson. His story is a complex mix of personal weakness, especially in his relationships, and divinely endowed strength. The chapter serves as a dramatic reminder of the consequences of betrayal and the potential for redemption, even in moments of weakness and failure. Samson’s life and death reflect the ongoing theme of flawed leadership and divine empowerment seen throughout the Book of Judges.

Judges 16

1  Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.

2  And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him.

3  And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.

4  And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.

5  And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.

6  And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.

7  And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.

8  Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them.

9  Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known.

10  And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound.

11  And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.

12  Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And he brake them from off his arms like a thread.

13  And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web.

14  And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web.

15  And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth.

16  And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death;

17  That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.

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18  And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand.

19  And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.

20  And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.

21  But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.

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22  Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.

23  Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.

24  And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us.

25  And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.

26  And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them.

27  Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.

28  And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.

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29  And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.

30  And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.

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31  Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.

End of Judges 16

1 Year Plan:  Apr 17 - Jdg 16, Jdg 17, John 8

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