Chapter 16: Shimshon marries Delila, and is captured and dies

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Chapter 16: Shimshon marries Delila, and is captured and dies

1. Shimshon breaks through the doors of Aza and escapes capture:

  • The prostitute of Aza: Shimshon traveled to Aza. He saw a harlot there and slept with her.
  • The ambush: The residents of Aza were told that Shimshon was in their midst and attempted to trap him. They discussed a strategy of how to kill him that entire night by the gates of the city, and set up an ambush there. They were quiet the entire night, planning to capture and kill him in the morning.
  • Shimshon breaks through the gates: Shimshon slept that night until midnight. At midnight he got up and went towards the exit of the city. Upon discovering that it was locked, he took hold of the doorposts of the gate together with its lock and tore it off its foundations. He carried it to the summit of the mountain which was near Chevron.

2. Shimshon marries Delila and a plot is formed to capture him:

  • After the above event, Shimshon fell in love with a woman who lived in Nachal Shorek, whose name was Delila.
  • The Philistines convince Delila to become an informant: The leaders of the Philistines met with Delila and asked her to seduce Shimshon to giving up the secret behind his strength, so they could figure out a way to overcome him and capture him and torture him. In exchange they offered her 1,100 silver coins from each individual.

3. Delila attempts to get Shimshon to confide in her the secret behind his strength:

  • The first attempt: Delila asked Shimshon to tell her in what his strength lies, and how he could be bound and tortured.
  • Shimshon tells Delila false information and the ambush fails: Shimshon replied to Delila that if she tied him in seven moist ropes then he will lose his strength and become like any other person. So, the leaders of the Philistines provided Delila with seven moist ropes and she tied him in them. The Philistines were waiting in ambush in the room, and Delila told Shimshon that the Philistines have come after him. Shimshon ripped off the ropes as a wick tears with fire, and they thus did not discover his strength.
  • The second attempt: Delila told Shimshon that he had fooled her and told her lies about the secret of his strength. She pleaded with him that he now tell her in what his strength lies, and how he could be bound.
  • Shimshon again tells Delila false information and the ambush fails: Shimshon replied to Delila that if she tied him in new thick ropes which never had work done with them, then he will lose his strength and become like any other person. So, Delila took seven thick ropes and she tied him in them. She then told Shimshon that the Philistines are coming after him, and the ambush was sitting in the room in wait. Shimshon ripped off the ropes as if it were a string.
  • The third attempt: Delila told Shimshon that until now he has fooled her and told her lies about the secret of his strength. She pleaded with him that he now tell her in what his strength lies, and how he could be bound.
  • Shimshon again tells Delila false information and the ambush fails: Shimshon replied to Delila that if she tied his seven locks of hair with a weaving rod [then he will lose his strength and become like any other person]. So, Delila [did so and then] took a peg and hammered the wooden board [which held his hair, into the ground]. She then said to Shimshon [during his sleep] that the Philistines are coming after him. Shimshon woke up and removed the peg and weaving board.

 

4. The fourth attempt is successful, and Shimshon divulges his secret:

  • The fourth attempt: Delila told Shimshon that how can he say that he truly loves her if he does not trust her, as he has fooled her three times and not told her the secret of his great strength.
  • Shimshon gives in and reveals his secret that he is a Nazir: After her consistent nagging of Shimshon day after day to the point that he would rather die, she forced the secret out of him. [Chazal say that she would remove him from her in the midst of intercourse.[1]] So Shimshon told her all that was on his heart, saying that he was born a Nazir to G-d and he has thus never had a razor touch his head. He told Delila that if she would shave his head then he would lose his strength and he would weaken and become like any other man.

 

5. Shimshon is captured:

  • Delila summons the Philistines to capture Shimshon: Delila recognized from Shimshon’s words that this time he had told the truth, and she thus summoned the leaders of the Philistines to come set up ambush against Shimshon, as this time he has been truthful with the secret of his strength. The Philistines arrived to her and paid her the sum of money that they had agreed upon.
  • Shimshon’s hair is cut off: Delila put Shimshon to sleep on her lap and summoned a man to cut off his seven locks of hair. They then began oppressing him, and Shimshon lost his strength.
  • Shimshon is captured and has his eyes gouged: Delila shouted to Shimshon that the Philistines were coming after him, and he awoke from his sleep, telling himself that he will like usual wake up with his strength. He was unaware that G-d removed Himself from him. The Philistines captured Shimshon and removed his eyeballs.
  • Shimshon is held captive in a prison in Aza: They brought Shimshon down to Aza and bound him with copper chains. They forced him to work in the grinding mill in the prison.
  • Shimshon hair begins to grow back: Shimshon’s hair began growing back after it was shaved off.

 

6. The Philistines throw a party for their G-d in Shimshon’s presence:

  • The party and praise of their deity: The leaders of the Philistines gathered to make a celebration for their god Dagon, and bring sacrifices to him, as they were celebrating that their G-d handed their enemy Shimshon to their hands. They saw Shimshon and praised their god saying: Our god has given to us our enemy, the destroyer of our land and slayer of many corpses.
  • Shimshon is summoned to the party to be made jest of: They were in good spirits and asked for Shimshon to be brought to them so they could make jest with him. So, Shimshon was summoned from the prison, and he made merry for them. They placed him near the pillars [which supported the building[2]].

7. Shimshon gets his revenge and causes the building to collapse with everyone inside:

  • Shimshon told the lad which would hold his hand [and lead him, due to his blindness] to let him go so he could feel the pillars on which the building is supported on, and lean on them.
  • The people inside: The building was filled with people, men and women, including all the leaders of the Philistines. On the roof [alone] there were three thousand men and women who came to watch the performance of Shimshon.
  • The prayer of Shimshon: Shimshon called onto G-d saying: Lord, my G-d, remember me and strengthen me just this one time. Let me get revenge for one of my two eyes which they plucked out.
  • Shimshon tears down the pillars and kills everyone inside: Shimshon proceeded to hold onto the two pillars onto which the building was supported, and he leaned on them, one by his right and one by his left. Shimshon then exclaimed: Let me die with the Philistines. He then pushed over the pillars using all his might and the building collapsed on all the leaders of the Philistines, and on all the people who were there. The amount of people which died that day were more than the amount which he killed his entire life.

8. Shimshon is buried:

  • Shimshon’s brothers and family came [to the rubble] and carried Shimshon’s body. They buried him between Tzarah and Eshtaol, in the plot of his father Manoach.
  • Shimshon judged the Jewish people for twenty years.

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[1] Sotah 9b

[2] Rashi 16:25

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