Judges 15

Samson Burns Philistine Crops

15 But after a while, in the time of wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife with a young goat, and said, “I will go in to my wife in her room.” But her father did not let him enter. Her father said, “I really thought that you hated her intensely; so I gave her to your companion. Is her younger sister not [a]more beautiful than she? Please let her be yours [b]instead.” Samson then said to them, “This time I will have been blameless regarding the Philistines when I do them harm.” And Samson went and caught three hundred jackals, and took torches, and turned the jackals tail to tail and put one torch in the middle between two tails. When he had set fire to the torches, he released the jackals into the standing grain of the Philistines and set fire to both the bundled heaps and the standing grain, along with the vineyards and olive groves. Then the Philistines said, “Who did this?” And some said, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because [c]he took his wife and gave her to his companion.” So the Philistines came up and burned her and her father to death with fire. Then Samson said to them, “If this is how you act, I will certainly take revenge on you, and only after that will I stop.” So he struck them [d]ruthlessly with a great slaughter; and afterward he went down and lived in the cleft of the rock of Etam.

Then the Philistines went up and camped in Judah, and spread out in Lehi. 10 So the men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” And they said, “We have come up to bind Samson in order to do to him as he did to us.” 11 Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?” And he said to them, “Just as they did to me, so I have done to them.” 12 Then they said to him, “We have come down to bind you so that we may hand you over to the Philistines.” And Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not [e]kill me.” 13 So they said to [f]him, “No, but we will bind you tightly and give you into their hands; but we certainly will not kill you.” Then they bound him with two new ropes, and brought him up from the rock.

14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they met him. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him so that the ropes that were on his arms were like flax that has burned with fire, and his restraints [g]dropped from his hands. 15 Then he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, so he reached out with his hand and took it, and [h]killed a thousand men with it. 16 And Samson said,

“With the jawbone of a donkey,
[i]Heaps upon heaps,
With the jawbone of a donkey
I have [j]killed a thousand men.”

17 When he had finished speaking, he threw the jawbone from his hand; and he named that place [k]Ramath-lehi. 18 Then he became very thirsty, and he called to the Lord and said, “You have [l]handed this great [m]victory over to Your servant, and now [n]am I to die of thirst [o]and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 But God split the hollow place that is in Lehi so that water came out of it. When he drank, his [p]strength returned and he revived. Therefore he named it [q]En-hakkore, which is in Lehi to this day. 20 So he judged Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.


  1. Judges 15:2 Lit better
  2. Judges 15:2 Lit instead of her
  3. Judges 15:6 I.e., the Timnite
  4. Judges 15:8 Lit thigh on loin
  5. Judges 15:12 Lit fall upon me yourselves
  6. Judges 15:13 Lit him, saying
  7. Judges 15:14 Lit melted
  8. Judges 15:15 Lit struck
  9. Judges 15:16 Lit Heap, two heaps; Heb is same root as donkey
  10. Judges 15:16 Lit struck
  11. Judges 15:17 I.e., the high place of the jawbone
  12. Judges 15:18 Or given...victory by the hand of Your
  13. Judges 15:18 Lit deliverance
  14. Judges 15:18 Or I shall...uncircumcised
  15. Judges 15:18 Or or
  16. Judges 15:19 Lit spirit
  17. Judges 15:19 I.e., the spring of him who called