In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. -- 21:25



Once the trees went forth to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, "Reign over us!"  But the olive tree said to them, "Shall I leave my fatness with which God and men are honored, and go to wave over the trees?"  Then the trees said to the fig tree, "You come, reign over us!"  But the fig tree said to them, "Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?"  Then the trees said to the vine, "You come, reign over us!"  But the vine said to them, "Shall I leave my new wine, which cheers God and men, and go to wave over
the trees?"  Finally all the trees said to the bramble, "You come, reign over us!"  The bramble said to the trees, "If in truth you are anointing me as king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, may fire come out from the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon." -- 9:8-15


There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had borne no children.  Then the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, "Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son.  Now therefore, be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing.  For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines." -- 13:2-5

Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, "What is your name, so that when your words come to pass, we may honor you?"  But the angel of the LORD said to him, "Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?"  So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to the LORD, and He
performed wonders while Manoah and his wife looked on.  For it came about when the flame went up from the altar toward heaven, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground. 13:17-20

Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the LORD.  So Manoah said to his wife, "We will surely die, for we have seen God." -- 13:21-22

Then the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson; and the child grew up and the LORD blessed him.  And the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him. -- 13:24-25

Then Samson said to them, "Let me now propound a riddle to you; if you will indeed tell it to me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes.  But if you are unable to tell me, then you shall give me thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes."  And they said to him, "Propound your riddle, that we may hear it."  So he said to them, "Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet." But they could not tell the riddle in three days. -- 14:12-14

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 you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have found out my riddle." -- 14:18

Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned the foxes tail to tail and put one torch in the middle between two tails.  When he had set fire to the torches, he released the foxes into the standing grain of the Philistines, thus burning up both the shocks and the standing grain, along with the vineyards and groves. -- 15:4-5

Then they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock.  When he came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they met him. And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily so that the ropes that were on his arms were as flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds dropped from his hands.  He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, so he reached out and took it and killed a thousand men with it.  Then Samson said, "With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey I have killed a thousand men." -- 15:13-16

Now Samson lay until midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the city gate and the two posts and pulled them up along with the bars; then he put them on his shoulders and carried them up to the top of the mountain which is opposite Hebron. -- 16:3

So he told her all that was in his heart and said to her, "A razor has never come on my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me and I will become weak and be like any other man."
When Delilah saw that he had told her all that was in his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines. -- 16:17-18

She made him sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his hair. Then she began to afflict him, and his strength left him.  She said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" And he awoke from his sleep and said, "I will go out as at other times and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.  Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he was a grinder in the prison. -- 16:19-21

When the people saw him, they praised their god, for they said, "Our god has given our enemy into our hands, even the destroyer of our country, who has slain many of us."  It so happened when they were in high spirits, that they said, "Call for Samson, that he may amuse us." So they called for Samson from the prison, and he entertained them. And they made him stand between the pillars.  Then Samson said to the boy who was holding his hand, "Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them."  Now the house was full of men and women, and all the lords of the Philistines were there. And about 3,000 men and women were on the roof looking on while Samson was amusing them.  Then Samson called to the LORD and said, "O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me just this time, O God, that I may at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes."  Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and braced himself against them, the one with his right hand and the other with his left.  And Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" And he bent with all his might so that the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed in his life. 
-- 16:24-30


In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes. -- 17:6

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. -- 21:25


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Illustration:  "Samson and Delilah," probably by Peter Paul Rubens
Background:  "The Arrest of Sampson," by Anthony van Dyck