16 One time Samson went to Gazʹa and saw a prostitute there, and he went in to her. 2 The Gazʹites were told: “Samson has come here.” So they surrounded him and lay in ambush for him all night long in the city gate. They stayed quiet the whole night, saying to themselves: “When daylight comes, we will kill him.”
3 However, Samson kept lying there until midnight. Then he got up at midnight and grabbed the doors of the city gate and the two side posts and pulled them out along with the bar. He put them on his shoulders and carried them up to the top of the mountain that faces Hebʹron.
4 After that he fell in love with a woman in the Valley* of Soʹrek whose name was De·liʹlah.+ 5 So the lords of the Phi·lisʹtines approached her and said: “Trick* him+ and find out what gives him such great strength and how we can overpower him and tie him and subdue him. For this we will each give you 1,100 silver pieces.”
6 De·liʹlah later said to Samson: “Please tell me where your great power comes from and what can be used to tie you and subdue you.” 7 Samson said to her: “If they tie me with seven fresh bowstrings* that have not been dried out, I will grow as weak as an ordinary man.” 8 So the lords of the Phi·lisʹtines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried out, and she tied him with them. 9 Now they set an ambush in the inner room, and she called out to him: “The Phi·lisʹtines are upon you, Samson!” At that he tore apart the bowstrings, just as easily as a thread of flax* comes apart when it touches fire.+ The secret of his power did not become known.
10 Then De·liʹlah said to Samson: “Look! You have fooled me* and told me lies. Now tell me, please, what can be used to tie you.” 11 So he said to her: “If they tie me up with new ropes that have not been used for work, I will grow as weak as an ordinary man.” 12 So De·liʹlah took new ropes and tied him with them and called out: “The Phi·lisʹtines are upon you, Samson!” (All the while the ambush was set in the inner room.) At that he tore them off his arms like threads.+
13 After that De·liʹlah said to Samson: “Up until now you have fooled me and told me lies.+ Tell me what can be used to tie you.” Then he said to her: “If you weave the seven braids of my head with the warp thread.” 14 So she fixed them with a pin and called out to him: “The Phi·lisʹtines are upon you, Samson!” So he woke up from his sleep and pulled out the loom pin and the warp thread.
15 She now said to him: “How can you say, ‘I love you,’+ when your heart is not with me? These three times you have fooled me and have not told me the source of your great power.”+ 16 Because day after day she kept nagging him and pressuring him, he* was weary to the point of dying.+ 17 So he finally opened his heart to her, saying: “A razor has never touched my head, because I am a Nazʹi·rite of God from birth.*+ If I am shaved, my power will leave me and I will grow weak and become like all other men.”
18 When De·liʹlah saw that he had opened his heart to her, she immediately summoned the Phi·lisʹtine lords,+ saying: “Come up this time, for he has opened his heart to me.” So the Phi·lisʹtine lords came up to her, bringing the money with them. 19 She made him fall asleep on her knees; then she called the man and had him shave off the seven braids of his head. After that she began to have control over him, for his power was leaving him. 20 Now she called out: “The Phi·lisʹtines are upon you, Samson!” He woke up from his sleep and said: “I will go out as at other times+ and shake myself free.” But he did not know that Jehovah had left him. 21 So the Phi·lisʹtines seized him and bored his eyes out. Then they brought him down to Gazʹa and bound him with two copper fetters, and he became a grinder of grain in the prison. 22 But the hair of his head started to grow back again after he had been shaved.+
23 The Phi·lisʹtine lords gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Daʹgon+ their god and to celebrate, for they were saying: “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand!” 24 When the people saw him, they praised their god and said: “Our god has given into our hand our enemy, the one who devastated our land+ and killed so many of us.”+
25 Because their heart was cheerful, they said: “Call Samson to provide us some amusement.” So they called Samson out of the prison to entertain them; they made him stand between the pillars. 26 Then Samson said to the boy holding him by the hand: “Let me feel the pillars that support the house, so that I can lean against them.” 27 (Incidentally, the house was full of men and women. All the Phi·lisʹtine lords were there, and on the roof there were about 3,000 men and women who were looking on while Samson provided amusement.)
28 Samson+ now called out to Jehovah: “Sovereign Lord Jehovah, remember me, please, and strengthen me,+ please, just this once, O God, and let me take revenge on the Phi·lisʹtines for one of my two eyes.”+
29 Then Samson braced himself against the two middle pillars that supported the house, and he leaned on them with his right hand on one and his left hand on the other. 30 Samson called out: “Let me* die with the Phi·lisʹtines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and the house fell on the lords and all the people in it.+ So he killed more at his death than he had killed during his life.+
31 Later his brothers and all his father’s family came down to take him back. They brought him up and buried him between Zoʹrah+ and Eshʹta·ol in the tomb of Ma·noʹah+ his father. He had judged Israel for 20 years.+