There was a certain man of Zorah, of the clan of the Danites, named Manoah; and he and his wife had no children. But the angel of Jehovah appeared to the woman and said to her, “See, you have no children; but now be careful not to drink any wine nor strong drink, and do not eat anything unclean, for you are about to have a son. No razor shall be used upon your son’s head, for from birth the boy shall belong to God.” So the woman had a son and named him Samson.
Once Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a Philistine woman. When he came back he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah. Get her as a wife for me.” But his father and mother said to him, “Is there no woman in your own tribe or among all our people, that you must marry a wife from among the heathen Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she suits me.”
So Samson went with his father and mother to Timnah; and just as they came to the vineyards of Timnah, a full-grown young lion came roaring toward him. The spirit of Jehovah came upon Samson and, although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the beast in two as one tears a kid. But he did not tell his father and mother what he had done.
Then he went down and talked with the woman, and she suited him. When he returned after a while to marry her, he turned aside to see what was left of the lion, and there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass. He scraped the honey out into his hands and went on, eating it as he went. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them, and they ate; but he did not tell them that he had taken the honey out of the carcass of the lion.
Then Samson went down to the woman; and he gave a feast there (for so bridegrooms used to do). When the Philistines saw him, they provided thirty comrades to be with him. And Samson said to them, “Let me now tell you a riddle. If you can tell me what it is within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty fine linen robes and thirty suits of clothes; but if you cannot tell me, then you shall give me thirty fine linen robes and thirty suits of clothes.” They said to him, “Tell your riddle, that we may hear it.” And he said to them:
“Out of the eater came something to eat,
And out of the strong came something sweet.”
But for six days they could not solve the riddle.
On the seventh day they said to Samson’s wife, “Tease your husband until he tells us the riddle, or else we will burn up you and your father’s house. Did you invite us here to make us poor?” So Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You only hate me and do not love me at all! You have told a riddle to my fellow countrymen and not told me what it is.” He said to her, “See, I have not told it to my father or my mother, and shall I tell you?” So she wept before him as long as their feast lasted, but on the seventh day he told her, because she kept asking him; and she told the riddle to her fellow countrymen.
So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down, “What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?” And he said to them:
“If with my heifer you did not plough,
You had not solved my riddle now.”
Then he was suddenly given divine strength, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of their men and took the spoil from them and gave the suits of clothes to those who had guessed the riddle. But he was very angry and returned to his father’s house. And his bride was given to his comrade who had been his best man.
After a while, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife with a kid as a present; but when he said, “Let me go into the inner room to my wife,” her father would not let him go in, but said, “I thought that you must surely hate her, so I gave her to your best man. Is not her younger sister fairer than she? Take her then, instead.” But Samson said to him, “This time I shall be justified if I do the Philistines an injury.” So he went and caught three hundred foxes, turned them tail to tail, and put a torch between every pair of tails. When he had set the torches on fire, he let them go into the standing grain of the Philistines and burned up not only the shocks and the standing grain, but the olive orchards as well.
Then the Philistines said, “Who has done this?” The reply was, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because that man took Samson’s wife and gave her to his best man.” So the Philistines went up, and burnt her and her father. Then Samson said to them, “If this is the way you do, I will not stop until I have had my revenge on you!” So he fought fiercely and killed many of them; then he went and stayed in a cavern in the cliff of Etam.
When the Philistines went up and camped in Judah and made a raid on Lehi, the Judahites said, “Why have you come up against us?” They replied, “We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him what he has done to us.” Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cavern in the cliff of Etam and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines are our rulers? What are you doing to us?” He replied, “I have done to them as they did to me.” They said to him, “We have come down to bind you, to turn you over to the Philistines.” Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not attack me yourselves.” They said to him, “No; we will simply bind you securely and deliver you to them; but we will not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes, and brought him up from the cliff.
When he came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted when they met him. Then he was suddenly given divine strength, and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax that has been burned in the fire, and his bonds melted from his hands. And he found a fresh jaw-bone of an ass, and having seized it, he killed a thousand men with it. Then Samson said:
“With the jaw-bone of an ass have I piled them, mass on mass;
A thousand warriors have I slain with the jaw-bone of an ass.”