1 After some time, during wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife, bringing a young goat with him, and he said, “I want to be with my wife in our room.” But her father would not let him in, 2 saying, “I thought that you did not like her anymore, so I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister still better? Why don’t you take her instead?” 3 Samson replied, “This time I owe nothing to the Philistines even if I do them harm.”
4 Samson went out and caught three hundred foxes, took some torches and tied the ani mals tail to tail. He then placed a torch in be tween every two tails, 5 set fire to the torches and turned the foxes loose in the grain fields of the Philistines. In this way, he burned the sheaves and the standing grain, together with the vineyards and olive groves.
6 The Philistines asked, “Who did this?” And they answered, “Samson, the son-in-law of the man from Timnah, because this man took his wife and gave her to his companion.” So they went up and burned her and her family. 7 Samson said to them, “Since you did this, I will not rest until I have had my revenge on you.” 8 So he caused a great havoc upon them. Then he went down to live in a cave in the rock of Etam.
9 The Philistines went up to the mountains of Judah and raided Lehi. 10 The men of Judah asked them, “Why have you come to attack us?” They answered, “We have come to capture Samson, and do to him what he did to us.”
11 Three thousand men of Judah went down to the cave at the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines lord it over us? Now what have you done to us?” He answered, “What they did to me, I have done to them.” 12 They said to him, “We have come down to tie you up and hand you over to the Phil istines.” Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not kill me.” 13 They answered, “No, we only want to tie you up and hand you over to them, but we will not kill you.” They bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rocks. 14 When they arrived in Lehi, the Philistines ran to him with shouts of victory. But the Spirit of Yahweh came upon Samson. The ropes that bound him became like linen flax burned in the fire and the knots were loosened from his arms. 15 He found a fresh jawbone of an ass, grabbed it and with it killed a thousand men. 16 Samson then said, “With the jawbone of an ass, I dealt them a mighty blow; with the jawbone of an ass, I beat a thousand men.”
17 When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone and that is why the place was called Ramath-lehi. 18 Then he became terribly thirsty and called out to Yahweh saying, “You have given your servant this great victory. Now am I to die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?”
19 So Yahweh opened a hollow in the ground at Lehi and water gushed forth from it. Samson drank; his strength returned and he revived. For this, the name En-hakkore was given to the fountain which is still in Lehi to this day.
20 Samson became judge of Israel for twenty years during the time of the Philistines.