Later on, during the wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat as a present to his wife. He intended to sleep with her, but her father wouldn't let him in.
"I really thought you hated her," her father explained, "so I gave her in marriage to your best man. But look, her sister is more beautiful than she is. Marry her instead."
Samson said, "This time I cannot be blamed for everything I am going to do to you Philistines."
Then he went out and caught three hundred foxes. He tied their tails together in pairs, and he fastened a torch to each pair of tails.
Then he lit the torches and let the foxes run through the fields of the Philistines. He burned all their grain to the ground, including the grain still in piles and all that had been bundled. He also destroyed their grapevines and olive trees.
"Who did this?" the Philistines demanded. "Samson," was the reply, "because his father-in-law from Timnah gave Samson's wife to be married to his best man." So the Philistines went and got the woman and her father and burned them to death.
"Because you did this," Samson vowed, "I will take my revenge on you, and I won't stop until I'm satisfied!"
So he attacked the Philistines with great fury and killed many of them. Then he went to live in a cave in the rock of Etam.
The Philistines retaliated by setting up camp in Judah and raiding the town of Lehi.
The men of Judah asked the Philistines, "Why have you attacked us?" The Philistines replied, "We've come to capture Samson. We have come to pay him back for what he did to us."
So three thousand men of Judah went down to get Samson at the cave in the rock of Etam. They said to Samson, "Don't you realize the Philistines rule over us? What are you doing to us?" But Samson replied, "I only paid them back for what they did to me."
But the men of Judah told him, "We have come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines." "All right," Samson said. "But promise that you won't kill me yourselves."
"We will tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines," they replied. "We won't kill you." So they tied him up with two new ropes and led him away from the rock.
As Samson arrived at Lehi, the Philistines came shouting in triumph. But the Spirit of the LORD powerfully took control of Samson, and he snapped the ropes on his arms as if they were burnt strands of flax, and they fell from his wrists.
Then he picked up a donkey's jawbone that was lying on the ground and killed a thousand Philistines with it.
And Samson said, "With the jawbone of a donkey, I've made heaps on heaps! With the jawbone of a donkey, I've killed a thousand men!"
When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was named Jawbone Hill. a18
Now Samson was very thirsty, and he cried out to the LORD, "You have accomplished this great victory by the strength of your servant. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of these pagan people?"
So God caused water to gush out of a hollow in the ground at Lehi, and Samson was revived as he drank. Then he named that place "The Spring of the One Who Cried Out," b and it is still in Lehi to this day.
Samson was Israel's judge for twenty years, while the Philistines ruled the land.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)