1 Some time later, in the season of the wheat harvest, Shimshon came to visit his wife, bringing a kid as a gift. He said, “Let me go into the chamber to my wife.” But her father would not let him go in.
א וַיְהִי מִיָּמִים בִּימֵי קְצִיר־חִטִּים וַיִּפְקֹד שִׁמְשׁוֹן אֶת־אִשְׁתּוֹ בִּגְדִי עִזִּים וַיֹּאמֶר אָבֹאָה אֶל־אִשְׁתִּי הֶחָדְרָה וְלֹא־נְתָנוֹ אָבִיהָ לָבוֹא׃
2 “I was sure,” said her father, “that you had taken a dislike to her, so I gave her to your wedding companion. But her younger sister is more beautiful than she; let her become your wife instead.”
ב וַיֹּאמֶר אָבִיהָ אָמֹר אָמַרְתִּי כִּי־שָׂנֹא שְׂנֵאתָהּ וָאֶתְּנֶנָּה לְמֵרֵעֶךָ הֲלֹא אֲחֹתָהּ הַקְּטַנָּה טוֹבָה מִמֶּנָּה תְּהִי־נָא לְךָ תַּחְתֶּיהָ׃
4 Shimshon went and caught three hundred foxes. He took torches and, turning [the foxes] tail to tail, he placed a torch between each pair of tails.
5 He lit the torches and turned [the foxes] loose among the standing grain of the Philistines, setting fire to stacked grain, standing grain, vineyards, [and] olive trees.
6 The Philistines asked, “Who did this?” And they were told, “It was Shimshon, the son-in-law of the Timnite, who took Shimshon‘s wife and gave her to his wedding companion.” Thereupon the Philistines came up and put her and her father to the fire.
ו וַיֹּאמְרוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים מִי עָשָׂה זֹאת וַיֹּאמְרוּ שִׁמְשׁוֹן חֲתַן הַתִּמְנִי כִּי לָקַח אֶת־אִשְׁתּוֹ וַיִּתְּנָהּ לְמֵרֵעֵהוּ וַיַּעֲלוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים וַיִּשְׂרְפוּ אוֹתָהּ וְאֶת־אָבִיהָ בָּאֵשׁ׃
7 Shimshon said to them, “If that is how you act, I will not rest until I have taken revenge on you.”
ז וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם שִׁמְשׁוֹן אִם־תַּעֲשׂוּן כָּזֹאת כִּי אִם־נִקַּמְתִּי בָכֶם וְאַחַר אֶחְדָּל׃
8 He gave them a sound and thorough thrashing. Then he went down and stayed in the cave of the rock of Etam.
ח וַיַּךְ אוֹתָם שׁוֹק עַל־יָרֵךְ מַכָּה גְדוֹלָה וַיֵּרֶד וַיֵּשֶׁב בִּסְעִיף סֶלַע עֵיטָם׃
va-ya-a-LU f’-lish-TEEM va-ya-kha-NU bee-hu-DAH va-yi-na-t’-SHU ba-LE-khee
The land of Yehuda encompasses much of the biblical heartland of Eretz Yisrael. Chevron and Beit Lechem are in the heart of the territory of Yehuda, while Yerushalayim is on its border. Though it borders both Yehuda and Binyamin, the Talmud (Yoma 12a) states that Yerushalayim was not given to a specific tribe; rather, it belongs to all of Israel. The holiness of the city chosen by God (Deuteronomy 12:5) is a unifying force that joins everyone together in the service of the Almighty.1 comment
11 Thereupon three thousand men of Yehuda went down to the cave of the rock of Etam, and they said to Shimshon, “You knew that the Philistines rule over us; why have you done this to us?” He replied, “As they did to me, so I did to them.”
13 “We won’t,” they replied. “We will only take you prisoner and hand you over to them; we will not slay you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock.
יג וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ לֵאמֹר לֹא כִּי־אָסֹר נֶאֱסָרְךָ וּנְתַנּוּךָ בְיָדָם וְהָמֵת לֹא נְמִיתֶךָ וַיַּאַסְרֻהוּ בִּשְׁנַיִם עֲבֹתִים חֲדָשִׁים וַיַּעֲלוּהוּ מִן־הַסָּלַע׃
14 When he reached Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Thereupon the spirit of Hashem gripped him, and the ropes on his arms became like flax that catches fire; the bonds melted off his hands.
יד הוּא־בָא עַד־לֶחִי וּפְלִשִׁתִּים הֵרִיעוּ לִקְרָאתוֹ וַתִּצְלַח עָלָיו רוּחַ יְהֹוָה וַתִּהְיֶינָה הָעֲבֹתִים אֲשֶׁר עַל־זְרוֹעוֹתָיו כַּפִּשְׁתִּים אֲשֶׁר בָּעֲרוּ בָאֵשׁ וַיִּמַּסּוּ אֱסוּרָיו מֵעַל יָדָיו׃
15 He came upon a fresh jawbone of an ass and he picked it up; and with it he killed a thousand men.
טו וַיִּמְצָא לְחִי־חֲמוֹר טְרִיָּה וַיִּשְׁלַח יָדוֹ וַיִּקָּחֶהָ וַיַּךְ־בָּהּ אֶלֶף אִישׁ׃
16 Then Shimshon said: “With the jaw of an ass, Mass upon mass! With the jaw of an ass I have slain a thousand men.”
טז וַיֹּאמֶר שִׁמְשׁוֹן בִּלְחִי הַחֲמוֹר חֲמוֹר חֲמֹרָתָיִם בִּלְחִי הַחֲמוֹר הִכֵּיתִי אֶלֶף אִישׁ׃
17 As he finished speaking, he threw the jawbone away; hence that place was called Ramath-lehi.
יז וַיְהִי כְּכַלֹּתוֹ לְדַבֵּר וַיַּשְׁלֵךְ הַלְּחִי מִיָּדוֹ וַיִּקְרָא לַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא רָמַת לֶחִי׃
18 He was very thirsty and he called to Hashem, “You Yourself have granted this great victory through Your servant; and must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?”
יח וַיִּצְמָא מְאֹד וַיִּקְרָא אֶל־יְהֹוָה וַיֹּאמַר אַתָּה נָתַתָּ בְיַד־עַבְדְּךָ אֶת־הַתְּשׁוּעָה הַגְּדֹלָה הַזֹּאת וְעַתָּה אָמוּת בַּצָּמָא וְנָפַלְתִּי בְּיַד הָעֲרֵלִים׃