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Day 74 Day 75Day 76

Judges chapter 16

1
Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute and went to bed with her.
2
When the Gazites [heard] that Samson was there, they surrounded the place and waited in ambush for him all that night at the city gate. While they were waiting quietly, they said, "Let us wait until dawn; then we will kill him."
3
But Samson stayed in bed until midnight when he got up, took hold of the doors of the city gate along with the two gateposts, and pulled them out, bar and all. He put them on his shoulders and took them to the top of the mountain overlooking Hebron.
4
Some time later, he fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in the Sorek Valley.
5
The Philistine leaders went to her and said, "Persuade him to tell you where his great strength comes from, so we can overpower him, tie him up, and make him helpless. Each of us will then give you 1,100 pieces of silver."
6
So Delilah said to Samson, "Please tell me, where does your great strength [come from]? How could [someone] tie you up and make you helpless?"
7
Samson told her, "If they tie me up with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I will become weak and be like any other man."
8
The Philistine leaders brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she tied him up with them.
9
While the men in ambush were waiting in her room, she called out to him, "Samson, the Philistines are here!" But he snapped the bowstrings as a strand of yarn snaps when it touches fire. [The secret of] his strength remained unknown.
10
Then Delilah said to Samson, "You have mocked me and told me lies! Won't you please tell me how you can be tied up?"
11
He told her, "If they tie me up with new ropes that have never been used, I will become weak and be like any other man."
12
Delilah took new ropes, tied him up with them, and shouted, "Samson, the Philistines are here!" But while the men in ambush were waiting in her room, he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread.
13
Then Delilah said to Samson, "You have mocked me all along and told me lies! Tell me how you can be tied up." He told her, "If you weave the seven braids on my head with the web of a loom--"
14
She fastened the braids with a pin and called to him, "Samson, the Philistines are here!" He awoke from his sleep and pulled out the pin, with the loom and the web.
15
"How can you say, 'I love you,' " she told him, "when your heart is not with me? This is the third time you have mocked me and not told me what makes your strength so great!"
16
Because she nagged him day after day and pled with him until she wore him out,
17
he told her the whole truth and said to her, "My hair has never been cut, because I am a Nazirite to God from birth. If I am shaved, my strength will leave me, and I will become weak and be like any other man."
18
When Delilah realized that he had told her the whole truth, she sent this message to the Philistine leaders: "Come one more time, for he has told me the whole truth." The Philistine leaders came to her and brought the money with them.
19
Then she let him fall asleep on her lap and called a man to shave off the seven braids on his head. In this way, she rendered him helpless, and his strength left him.
20
Then she cried, "Samson, the Philistines are here!" When he awoke from his sleep, he said, "I will escape as I did before and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had left him.
21
The Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles, and he was forced to grind grain in the prison.
22
But his hair began to grow back after it had been shaved.
23
Now the Philistine leaders gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon. They rejoiced and said: Our god has handed over our enemy Samson to us.
24
When the people saw him, they praised their god and said: Our god has handed over to us our enemy who destroyed our land and who multiplied our dead.
25
When they were drunk, they said, "Bring Samson here to entertain us." So they brought Samson from prison, and he entertained them. They had him stand between the pillars.
26
Samson said to the young man who was leading him by the hand, "Lead me where I can feel the pillars supporting the temple, so I can lean against them."
27
The temple was full of men and women; all the leaders of the Philistines were there, and about 3,000 men and women were on the roof watching Samson entertain [them].
28
He called out to the LORD: "Lord God, please remember me. Strengthen me, God, just once more. With one act of vengeance, let me pay back the Philistines for my two eyes."
29
Samson took hold of the two middle pillars supporting the temple and leaned against them, one on his right hand and the other on his left.
30
Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines." He pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the leaders and all the people in it. And the dead he killed at his death were more than those he had killed in his life.
31
Then his brothers and his father's family came down, carried him back, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. So he judged Israel 20 years.

Judges chapter 17

1
There was a man from the hill country of Ephraim named Micah.
2
He said to his mother, "The 1,100 pieces of silver taken from you, and that I heard you utter a curse about-- here, I have the silver with me. I took it. So now I return it to you." Then his mother said, "My son, you are blessed by the LORD!"
3
He returned the 1,100 pieces of silver to his mother, and his mother said, "I personally consecrate the silver to the LORD for my son's benefit to make a carved image overlaid with silver."
4
So he returned the silver to his mother, and she took five pounds of silver and gave it to a silversmith. He made it into a carved image overlaid with silver, and it was in Micah's house.
5
This man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and household idols, and installed one of his sons to be his priest.
6
In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever he wanted.
7
There was a young man, a Levite, from Bethlehem in Judah, who resided within the clan of Judah.
8
The man left the town of Bethlehem in Judah to settle wherever he could find a place. On his way he came to Micah's home in the hill country of Ephraim.
9
"Where do you come from?" Micah asked him. He answered him, "I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and I'm going to settle wherever I can find a place.
10
Micah replied, "Stay with me and be my father and priest, and I will give you four ounces of silver a year, along with your clothing and provisions." So the Levite went in
11
and agreed to stay with the man, and the young man became like one of his sons.
12
Micah consecrated the Levite, and the young man became his priest and lived in Micah's house.
13
Then Micah said, "Now I know that the LORD will be good to me, because a Levite has become my priest."

Judges chapter 18

1
In those days, there was no king in Israel, and the Danite tribe was looking for territory to occupy. Up to that time no territory had been captured [by them] among the tribes of Israel.
2
So the Danites sent out five brave men from all their clans, from Zorah and Eshtaol, to spy out the land and explore it. They told them, "Go and explore the land." They came to the hill country of Ephraim as far as the home of Micah and spent the night there.
3
While they were near Micah's home, they recognized the speech of the young Levite. So they went over to him and asked, "Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What is keeping you here?"
4
He told them what Micah had for him and that he had hired him as his priest.
5
Then they said to him, "Please inquire of God so we will know if we will have a successful journey."
6
The priest told them, "Go in peace. The LORD is watching over the journey you are going on."
7
The five men left and came to Laish. They saw that the people who were there were living securely, in the same way as the Sidonians, quiet and unsuspecting. There was nothing lacking in the land and no oppressive ruler. They were far from the Sidonians, having no alliance with anyone.
8
When the men went back to their clans at Zorah and Eshtaol, their people asked them, "What did you find out?"
9
They answered, "Come on, let's go up against them, for we have seen the land, and it is very good. Why wait? Don't hesitate to go and invade and take possession of the land!
10
When you get there, you will come to an unsuspecting people and a wide-open land, for God has handed it over to you. It is a place where nothing on earth is lacking."
11
Six hundred Danites departed from Zorah and Eshtaol armed with weapons of war.
12
They went up and camped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. This is why the place is called the Camp of Dan to this day; it is west of Kiriath-jearim.
13
From there they traveled to the hill country of Ephraim and arrived at Micah's house.
14
The five men who had gone to spy out the land of Laish told their brothers, "Did you know that there are an ephod, household gods, and a carved image overlaid with silver in these houses? Now think about what you should do."
15
So they detoured there and went to the house of the young Levite at the home of Micah and greeted him.
16
The 600 Danite men were standing by the entrance of the gate, armed with their weapons of war.
17
Then the five men who had gone to spy out the land went in and took the carved image overlaid with silver, the ephod, and the household idols, while the priest was standing by the entrance of the gate with the 600 men armed with weapons of war.
18
When they entered Micah's house and took the carved image overlaid with silver, the ephod, and the household idols, the priest said to them, "What are you doing?"
19
They told him, "Be quiet. Keep your mouth shut. Come with us and be a father and a priest to us. Is it better for you to be a priest for the house of one person or for you to be a priest for a tribe and family in Israel?"
20
So the priest was pleased and took his ephod, household idols, and carved image, and went with the people.
21
They prepared to leave, putting their small children, livestock, and possessions in front of them.
22
After they were some distance from Micah's house, the men who were in the houses near it mobilized and caught up with the Danites.
23
They called to the Danites, who turned to face them, and said to Micah, "What's the matter with you that you mobilized [the men]?"
24
He said, "You took the gods I had made and the priest, and went away. What do I have left? How can you say to me, 'What's the matter with you?'"
25
The Danites said to him, "Don't raise your voice against us, or angry men will attack you, and you and your family will lose your lives."
26
The Danites went on their way, and Micah turned to go back home, because he saw that they were stronger than he was.
27
After they had taken the gods Micah had made and the priest that belonged to him, they went to Laish, to a quiet and unsuspecting people. They killed them with their swords and burned down the city.
28
There was no one to save them, because it was far from Sidon and they had no alliance with anyone. It was in a valley that belonged to Beth-rehob. They rebuilt the city and lived in it.
29
They named the city Dan, after the name of their ancestor Dan, who was born to Israel. The city was formerly named Laish.
30
The Danites set up the carved image for themselves. Jonathan son of Gershom, son of Moses, and his sons were priests for the Danite tribe until the time of the exile from the land.
31
So they set up for themselves Micah's carved image that he had made, [and it was there] as long as the house of God was in Shiloh.