16:4 After this Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in the Sorek Valley. 16:5 The rulers of the Philistines went up to visit her and said to her, “Trick him! Find out what makes him so strong and how we can subdue him and humiliate 1 him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred silver pieces.”
16:6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me what makes you so strong and how you can be subdued and humiliated.” 2 16:7 Samson said to her, “If they tie me up with seven fresh 3 bowstrings 4 that have not been dried, I will become weak and be just like any other man.” 16:8 So the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings which had not been dried and they tied him up with them. 16:9 They hid 5 in the bedroom and then she said to him, “The Philistines are here, 6 Samson!” He snapped the bowstrings as easily as a thread of yarn snaps when it is put close to fire. 7 The secret of his strength was not discovered. 8
16:10 Delilah said to Samson, “Look, you deceived 9 me and told me lies! Now tell me how you can be subdued.” 16:11 He said to her, “If they tie me tightly with brand new ropes that have never been used, 10 I will become weak and be just like any other man.” 16:12 So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them and said to him, “The Philistines are here, 11 Samson!” (The Philistines were hiding in the bedroom.) 12 But he tore the ropes 13 from his arms as if they were a piece of thread.
16:13 Delilah said to Samson, “Up to now you have deceived me and told me lies. Tell me how you can be subdued.” He said to her, “If you weave the seven braids of my hair 14 into the fabric on the loom 15 and secure it with the pin, I will become weak and be like any other man.” 16:14 So she made him go to sleep, wove the seven braids of his hair into the fabric on the loom, fastened it with the pin, and said to him, “The Philistines are here, 16 Samson!” 17 He woke up 18 and tore away the pin of the loom and the fabric.
16:15 She said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you will not share your secret with me? 19 Three times you have deceived me and have not told me what makes you so strong.” 16:16 She nagged him 20 every day and pressured him until he was sick to death of it. 21 16:17 Finally he told her his secret. 22 He said to her, “My hair has never been cut, 23 for I have been dedicated to God 24 from the time I was conceived. 25 If my head 26 were shaved, my strength would leave me; I would become weak, and be just like all other men.” 16:18 When Delilah saw that he had told her his secret, 27 she sent for 28 the rulers of the Philistines, saying, “Come up here again, for he has told me 29 his secret.” 30 So the rulers of the Philistines went up to visit her, bringing the silver in their hands. 16:19 She made him go to sleep on her lap 31 and then called a man in to shave off 32 the seven braids of his hair. 33 She made him vulnerable 34 and his strength left him. 16:20 She said, “The Philistines are here, 35 Samson!” He woke up 36 and thought, 37 “I will do as I did before 38 and shake myself free.” But he did not realize that the Lord had left him. 16:21 The Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and bound him in bronze chains. He became a grinder in the prison. 16:22 His hair 39 began to grow back after it had been shaved off.
[16:14] 17 tc The MT of vv. 13b-14a reads simply, “He said to her, ‘If you weave the seven braids of my head with the web.’ And she fastened with the pin and said to him.” The additional words in the translation, “and secure it with the pin, I will become weak and be like any other man.’ 16:14 So she made him go to sleep, wove the seven braids of his hair into the fabric on the loom,” which without doubt represent the original text, are supplied from the ancient Greek version. (In both vv. 13b and 14a the Greek version has “to the wall” after “with the pin,” but this is an interpretive addition that reflects a misunderstanding of ancient weaving equipment. See G. F. Moore, Judges [ICC], 353-54.) The Hebrew textual tradition was accidentally shortened during the copying process. A scribe’s eye jumped from the first instance of “with the web” to the second, causing him to leave out inadvertently the intervening words.
[16:17] 24 tn Or “set apart to God.” Traditionally the Hebrew term נָזִיר (nazir) has been translated “Nazirite.” The word is derived from the verb נָזַר (nazar, “to dedicate; to consecrate; to set apart”).
[16:19] 34 tn Heb “She began to humiliate him.” Rather than referring to some specific insulting action on Delilah’s part after Samson’s hair was shaved off, this statement probably means that she, through the devious actions just described, began the process of Samson’s humiliation which culminates in the following verses.