Judges 16–18

1 Samson went to Gaza. There he saw a prostitute and spent the night with her. 2 The people of Gaza were told, “Samson has come here!” So they surrounded him and laid in wait for him all night at the city gate. They kept quiet all night, thinking, “In the morning light we will kill him.”

3 Samson lay until midnight, then at midnight he got up. He grabbed the doors of the city gate and the two gateposts and pulled them out along with the bar. He put them on his shoulder and brought them to the top of the mountain near Hebron.

4 After this Samson loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 The Philistine rulers came up to her and said, “Trick him! Find out about how his strength is so great and how we can overcome him, bind him, and humiliate him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred silver coins.”

6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me how your strength is so great and how you could be bound in order to be subdued.”

7 Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, then I will become weak and be like an ordinary man.”

8 So the Philistine rulers brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she bound him with them. 9 They lay in wait in her inner room. She said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson.” Then he split apart the bowstrings like a single thread is split apart at the touch of fire. So the source of his strength did not become known.

10 Delilah said to Samson, “You have deceived me. You have told me lies. Now, please tell me how you can be bound.”

11 He said to her, “If they bind me with new ropes that have never been used, then I will become weak and be like an ordinary man.”

12 So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them. Then she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson.” For men were lying in wait, remaining in the room. But he split apart the ropes on his arms like a thread.

13 Delilah said to Samson, “Up to now you have deceived me. You have told me lies. Tell how you can be bound.”

He said to her, “If you weave seven locks of my hair into the fabric on the loom and fasten it with the pin, then I will become weak and be like an ordinary man.” 14 So Delilah lulled him to sleep and wove seven locks of his hair into the fabric on the loom. She fastened it with the pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson.” He awakened from his sleep and tore away from the loom pin and the fabric.

15 She said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have deceived me these three times and have not told me how your strength is so great.” 16 Every day she nagged him with her words and pleaded with him until he was tired to death.

17 So he told her all his secrets and said to her, “No razor has touched my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I were shaven, my strength would leave me, and I would become weak and be like all other men.”

18 Delilah saw that he had told her all his secrets, so she sent for the Philistine rulers, saying, “Come up this time, for he has told me all his secrets.” So the Philistine rulers came up to her and brought the money in their hands. 19 Delilah lulled Samson to sleep on her knees and called for a man to shave off the seven locks of his hair. Then she began to humiliate him, and his strength left him.

20 She said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson.”

Then he awakened from his sleep and thought, “I will go out as before and shake myself free of them.” He did not know that the Lord had left him.

21 The Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes. They took him down to Gaza, bound him with bronze chains, and he ground grain in prison. 22 Yet after it had been shaven, the hair on his head began to grow back.

23 The Philistine rulers gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate. They said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hands.”

24 The people saw him and praised their god, for they said,

“Our god has given into our hands

our enemy,

the one who ruined our land

and killed many of us.”

25 When their hearts were merry, they said, “Call for Samson, so he can entertain us.” So they called for Samson from the prison, and he entertained them.

They placed him between the pillars. 26 Samson said to the young man who held his hand, “Let me rest and touch the pillars on which the temple is set, then I can lean against them.” 27 The temple was full of men and women, and all the Philistine rulers were there. There were about three thousand men and women on the roof watching Samson entertain. 28 Samson called out to the Lord, “Lord God, remember me, I pray! Please strengthen me just this once, God, so that I may get full revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes!” 29 Then Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the temple was set and leaned against them, one with his right hand and one with his left. 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” He pushed with all his strength, and the temple fell upon the rulers and all the people who were in it. At his death he killed more than he had killed in his life.

31 Then his brothers and all his family came down, carried him, brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the grave of his father Manoah. He had judged Israel for twenty years.

Chapter 17

1 There was a man from the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Micah. 2 He said to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from you, on which you put a curse, even speaking the curse in my ears—here is the silver with me. I took it.”

Then his mother said, “May the Lord bless my son!”

3 Then he returned the eleven hundred silver coins to his mother. His mother said, “I certainly consecrated the silver to the Lord, for my son to make a carved idol and a metal idol, so now I return it to you.”

4 When he returned the silver to his mother, she took two hundred shekels of silver and gave them to a silversmith to make a carved idol and a metal idol. And they were put in the house of Micah.

5 This man Micah owned a shrine. He made an ephod and household idols, and he hired one of his sons to be a priest for him. 6 In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his eyes.

7 There was a young man from Bethlehem in Judah. He was a Levite from Judah, and he stayed as a resident foreigner there. 8 The man went from the city of Bethlehem in Judah to stay wherever he could find a place. He came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, to do his work.

9 Micah said to him, “Where do you come from?”

He said to him, “I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to stay wherever I can find a place.”

10 Micah said to him, “Live with me, and be a father and a priest for me. I will give you ten silver coins a year, a set of clothes, and food.” So the Levite went in. 11 The Levite decided to live with the man, and the young man became like one of his sons. 12 Micah ordained the Levite, and the young man became his priest and lived in the house of Micah. 13 Then Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will do good for me, for I have a Levite to be my priest.”

Chapter 18

1 In those days there was no king in Israel.

And in those days the tribe of the Danites was looking for an inheritance in which to live, for no territory had come into their possession among the tribes of Israel up to that time. 2 So the children of Dan sent out from their families five valorous men from Zorah and Eshtaol in order to spy out and explore the land. They said to them, “Go, explore the land.”

They came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and they spent the night there. 3 When they were at the house of Micah, they noticed the speech of the young Levite. They turned aside and said to him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What is your business here?”

4 He told them what Micah had done for him, saying, “He hired me, and I became his priest.”

5 They said to him, “Please ask God if we may know whether our mission will be a success as we go to do it.”

6 The priest said to them, “Go in peace. The Lord is watching the way you are going.”

7 The five men went away and came to Laish. They saw the people who were there, living securely according to the culture of the Sidonians. There were no rulers in the land who might put them to shame for anything. They were far from the Sidonians and had no ties with anyone.

8 When they came back to their brothers in Zorah and Eshtaol, their brothers asked them, “What do you have to say?”

9 They said, “Get up! Let us go up against them, for we have seen the land. It is very good. You are silent, but do not hesitate to go to take the land. 10 When you go, you will come to a secure people and to an expansive land. For God has given it into your hands: a place where there is no lack of anything on the earth.”

11 So six hundred fully armed men set out from the family of the Danites, from Zorah and Eshtaol. 12 They went up and set up camp in Kiriath Jearim in Judah. Therefore they call that place Mahaneh Dan to this day. It is west of Kiriath Jearim. 13 From there they passed the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah.

14 The five men who went to spy out the land of Laish said to their brothers, “Did you know that in these houses are an ephod, household idols, a carved image, and a metal idol? Now think about what to do.” 15 So they turned aside there and came to the house of the young Levite, to the house of Micah, and greeted him. 16 The six hundred men armed with their weapons of war, who were the children of Dan, stood at the entrance to the gate. 17 The five men who went to spy out the land went in and took the carved idol, ephod, household idols, and the metal idol. The priest was standing at the entrance to the gate with the six hundred fully armed men.

18 When these men went into the house of Micah and took the carved idol, ephod, household idols, and the metal idol, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?”

19 They said to him, “Quiet! Put your hand over your mouth and go with us. Be a father and priest for us. Is it better to be a priest for one man’s house or for a tribe and a family in Israel?” 20 So the priest’s heart was glad. He took the ephod, the household idols, and the carved image and went among the people. 21 So they turned and left, putting the children, livestock, and valuables in front of them.

22 They had gone far from the house of Micah, but the neighbors of Micah assembled and caught up to the children of Dan. 23 They called out to the children of Dan. So they turned and said to Micah, “What is wrong that have you assembled together?”

24 He said, “You took the gods that I made, and the priest, and then you left. What do I have left? So what is this that you say to me, ‘What is wrong?’”

25 The children of Dan said to him, “Do not let us hear your voice again. Otherwise bitter men might meet you and you will forfeit your life and the lives of your family.” 26 So the children of Dan went their way. And when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house.

27 They took what Micah had made and his priest, and came to Laish to a quiet and secure people. They struck them down with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire. 28 There was no one to save them because the city was far from Sidon and had no contact with anyone. It was in the valley by Beth Rehob.

They rebuilt the city and lived there. 29 They called the city Dan, after their father Dan, who was born to Israel (Laish was the former name of the city). 30 The children of Dan set up the carved idol for themselves. Jonathan the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the time of exile from the land. 31 So they displayed Micah’s graven image that he had made, for the whole time that the house of God was in Shiloh.

Luke 7:1–30

1 When He had completed all His words in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. 2 Now a centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. 3 When he heard of Jesus, he sent the elders of the Jews to Him, asking Him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they asked Him earnestly, saying, “You should do this for him for he is worthy, 5 for he loves our nation, and he has built us a synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them.

When He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. 7 Likewise, I did not think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

9 When Jesus heard these words, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the people who followed Him, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.

11 The following day He went into a city called Nain, and many of His disciples and a large crowd went with Him. 12 When He came near the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”

14 Then He came and touched the coffin, and those who carried it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 He who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He gave him to his mother.

16 Fear came on everyone. And they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us!” and “God has visited His people!” 17 This rumor of Him went throughout all Judea and the surrounding region.

18 The disciples of John told him of all these things. 19 John, calling for two of his disciples, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the One who is coming, or shall we look for another?”

20 When the men had come to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, ‘Are You the One who is coming, or shall we look for another?’”

21 In that same hour He cured many of their infirmities and afflictions and evil spirits. And to many who were blind He gave sight. 22 So Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the gospel is preached to the poor. 23 Blessed is he who does not fall away on account of Me.”

24 When the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak to the crowd concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 25 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? Now those who are splendidly clothed and live luxuriously are in royal palaces. 26 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and much more than a prophet. 27 This is he of whom it is written:

‘Look, I am sending My messenger before Your face,

who shall prepare Your way before You.’

28 I say to you, among those who are born of women there is no greater prophet than John the Baptist. Yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

29 All the people who heard Him, including the tax collectors, justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. 30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God for themselves, not having been baptized by John.