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Samson and the Gates of Gaza

Judges 14 to Judges 16

Samson pulls down the temple of Dagon, killing all who were inside.

SAMSON MARRIED THE daughter of one of the Philistines; but afterward her father took her away from him, and, in revenge, he killed great numbers of them, and destroyed their crops and vineyards.

       The Philistines then came out in great force against the men of Judah, and demanded that Samson should be given up to them. The men accordingly came to Samson, and said they must give him up to the enemy.

       So Samson let them bind him with strong cords, and take him to the Philistines. But at that moment God gave him strength to snap the cords asunder; and, snatching up the jaw-bone of an ass, he fell upon his enemies, and killed a thousand of them.

       After this, Samson went to Gaza, a city of the Philistines, and at night the people shut him in, saying to each other that they would kill him in the morning.

       But in the middle of the night he got up, tore down the gates of the city, and, throwing them upon his shoulders, carried them to the top of a hill in the neighborhood. His enemies now saw that they could not overcome him by force, so they bribed a woman to get from him the secret of his strength.

       Samson deceived both her and them several times, but at last told her the truth, that if his hair were cut off, he should be no stronger than any other man. So, when he was asleep, she cut it off; and then, calling the Philistines, they took him, put out his eyes, and set him to grind corn.

       But as he toiled in prison, God gave his strength to him again. So one day, when the great men of the Philistines were going to worship their false god Dagon, and would have Samson make sport for them, he begged the boy who led him in to let him rest against the pillars of the building where they were assembled.

       Then, praying to God that He would once more enable him to destroy his enemies, he laid hold of the pillars, and, bending forward with all his might, pulled the building down, crushing both himself and thousands of the Philistines. Thus it happened that he killed more in his death than in life.

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