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Judges - Chapter 16

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1 Samson then went to Gaza and, seeing a prostitute there, went in to her.

2 The men of Gaza being told, 'Samson has arrived,' surrounded the place and kept watch for him the whole night at the town gate. All that night they were going to make no move, thinking, 'Let us wait until daybreak, and then kill him.'

3 Till midnight, however, Samson stayed in bed, and then at midnight he got up, seized the doors of the town gate and the two posts as well; he tore them up, bar and all, hoisted them on to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill overlooking Hebron.

4 After this, he fell in love with a woman in the Vale of Sorek; she was called Delilah.

5 The Philistine chiefs visited her and said, 'Cajole him and find out where his great strength comes from, and how we can master him, so that we can bind him and subdue him. In return we shall each give you eleven hundred silver shekels.'

6 Delilah said to Samson, 'Please tell me where your great strength comes from, and what would be needed to bind and subdue you.'

7 Samson replied, 'If I were bound with seven new bowstrings which had not yet been dried, I should lose my strength and become like any other man.'

8 The Philistine chiefs brought Delilah seven new bowstrings which had not yet been dried and she took them and bound him with them.

9 She had men concealed in her room, and she shouted, 'The Philistines are on you, Samson!' Then he snapped the bowstrings as a strand of tow snaps at a touch of the fire. So the secret of his strength remained unknown.

10 Delilah then said to Samson, 'You have been laughing at me and telling me lies. But now please tell me what would be needed to bind you.'

11 He replied, 'If I were bound tightly with new ropes which have never been used, I should lose my strength and become like any other man.'

12 Delilah then took new ropes and bound him with them, and she shouted, 'The Philistines are on you, Samson!' She had men concealed in her room, but he snapped the ropes round his arms like thread.

13 Delilah then said to Samson, 'Up to now you have been laughing at me and telling me lies. Tell me what would be needed to bind you.' He replied, 'If you wove the seven locks of my hair into the warp of a cloth and beat them together tight with the reed, I should lose my strength and become like any other man.'

14 She lulled him to sleep, then wove the seven locks of his hair into the warp, beat them together tight with the reed and shouted, 'The Philistines are on you, Samson!' He woke from his sleep and pulled out both reed and warp. So the secret of his strength remained unknown.

15 Delilah said to him, 'How can you say that you love me, when your heart is not with me? Three times now you have laughed at me and have not told me where your great strength comes from.'

16 And day after day she pestered him with her talk, nagging him till he grew sick to death of it.

17 At last he confided everything to her; he said to her, 'A razor has never touched my head, because I have been God's nazirite from my mother's womb. If my head were shorn, then my power would leave me and I should lose my strength and become like any other man.'

18 Delilah then realized that he had really confided in her; she sent for the Philistine princes with the message, 'Come just once more: he has confided everything to me.' And the Philistine chiefs came to her with the money in their hands.

19 She lulled Samson to sleep in her lap, summoned a man and had him shear off the seven locks from his head. Thus for the first time she got control over him, and his strength left him.

20 She cried, 'The Philistines are on you, Samson!' He awoke from sleep, thinking, 'I shall break free as I have done time after time and shake myself clear.' But he did not know that Yahweh had left him.

21 The Philistines seized him, put out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. They fettered him with a double chain of bronze and he spent his time turning the mill in the prison.

22 But his hair began to grow again when it had been cut off.

23 The Philistine chiefs assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god. And amid their festivities they said: Into our hands our god has delivered Samson our enemy.

24 And as soon as the people saw their god, they acclaimed him, shouting his praises: Into our hands our god has delivered Samson our enemy, the man who laid our country waste and killed so many of us.

25 And as their hearts were full of joy, they shouted, 'Summon Samson out to amuse us.' So Samson was summoned from prison, and he performed feats in front of them; then he was put to stand between the pillars.

26 Samson then said to the boy who was leading him by the hand, 'Lead me where I can touch the pillars supporting the building, so that I can lean against them.'

27 Now the building was crowded with men and women. All the Philistine chiefs were there, while about three thousand men and women were watching Samson's feats from the terrace.

28 Samson called on Yahweh and cried out, 'Lord Yahweh, I beg you, remember me; give me strength again this once, O God, and let me be revenged on the Philistines at one blow for my two eyes.'

29 And Samson took hold of the two central pillars supporting the building, and braced himself with his right arm round one and his left round the other;

30 and he shouted, 'Let me die with the Philistines!' He then heaved with all his might, and the building fell on the chiefs and on all the people there. Those whom he brought to their death by his death outnumbered those whom he had done to death during his life.

31 His brothers and the whole of his father's family came down and carried him away. They took him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had judged Israel for twenty years.

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Daily Readings

September 18th, 2019

Reading 1, First Timothy 3:14-16
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Gospel, Luke 7:31-35

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