One day Samson1 went to Gaza,2 where he saw a prostitute.3 He went in to spend the night with her.
The people of Gaza were told, "Samson is here!" So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate.4 They made no move during the night, saying, "At dawn5 we'll kill him."
But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.64
Some time later, he fell in love7 with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah.85
The rulers of the Philistines9 went to her and said, "See if you can lure10 him into showing you the secret of his great strength11 and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekelsa of silver."126
So Delilah13 said to Samson, "Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued."
Samson answered her, "If anyone ties me with seven fresh thongsb that have not been dried, I'll become as weak as any other man."
Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh thongs that had not been dried, and she tied him with them.
With men hidden in the room,14 she called to him, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!"15 But he snapped the thongs as easily as a piece of string snaps when it comes close to a flame. So the secret of his strength was not discovered.
Then Delilah said to Samson, "You have made a fool of me;16 you lied to me. Come now, tell me how you can be tied."
He said, "If anyone ties me securely with new ropes17 that have never been used, I'll become as weak as any other man."
So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them. Then, with men hidden in the room, she called to him, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!"18 But he snapped the ropes off his arms as if they were threads.
Delilah then said to Samson, "Until now, you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied." He replied, "If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric [on the loom] and tighten it with the pin, I'll become as weak as any other man." So while he was sleeping, Delilah took the seven braids of his head, wove them into the fabric
andc tightened it with the pin. Again she called to him, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!"19 He awoke from his sleep and pulled up the pin and the loom, with the fabric.
Then she said to him, "How can you say, 'I love you,'20 when you won't confide in me? This is the third time21 you have made a fool of me and haven't told me the secret of your great strength.22"
With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death.
So he told her everything.23 "No razor has ever been used on my head," he said, "because I have been a Nazirite24 set apart to God since birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man."
When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines25, "Come back once more; he has told me everything." So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands.2619
Having put him to sleep on her lap, she called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him.d And his strength left him.2720
Then she called, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!"28 He awoke from his sleep and thought, "I'll go out as before and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had left him.2921
Then the Philistines30 seized him, gouged out his eyes31 and took him down to Gaza.32 Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding33 in the prison.
But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.