March 16: Day 75

Reading: Judges 16-18, Psalm 75 (ESV)

Judges 16

Samson and Delilah

1Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her. 2The Gazites were told, "Samson has come here." And they surrounded the place and set an ambush for him all night at the gate of the city. They kept quiet all night, saying, "Let us wait till the light of the morning; then we will kill him." 3But Samson lay till midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts, and pulled them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron.

4After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, "Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver." 6So Delilah said to Samson, "Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you."

7Samson said to her, "If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and be like any other man." 8Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she bound him with them. 9Now she had men lying in ambush in an inner chamber. And she said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" But he snapped the bowstrings, as a thread of flax snaps when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known.

10Then Delilah said to Samson, "Behold, you have mocked me and told me lies. Please tell me how you might be bound." 11And he said to her, "If they bind me with new ropes that have not been used, then I shall become weak and be like any other man." 12So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" And the men lying in ambush were in an inner chamber. But he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread.

13Then Delilah said to Samson, "Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you might be bound." And he said to her, "If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and fasten it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man." 14So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his head and wove them into the web. And she made them tight with the pin and said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" But he awoke from his sleep and pulled away the pin, the loom, and the web.

15And she said to him, "How can you say, 'I love you,' when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies." 16And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death. 17And he told her all his heart, and said to her, "A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man."

18When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, "Come up again, for he has told me all his heart." Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. 19She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. 20And she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" And he awoke from his sleep and said, "I will go out as at other times and shake myself free." But he did not know that the Lord had left him. 21And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison. 22But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.

The Death of Samson

23Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, "Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand." 24And when the people saw him, they praised their god. For they said, "Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us." 25And when their hearts were merry, they said, "Call Samson, that he may entertain us." So they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. They made him stand between the pillars. 26And Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, "Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them." 27Now the house was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about 3,000 men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained.

28Then Samson called to the Lord and said, "O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes." 29And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. 30And Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines." Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life. 31Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had judged Israel twenty years.


Judges 17

Micah and the Levite

1There was a man of the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Micah. 2And he said to his mother, "The 1,100 pieces of silver that were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse, and also spoke it in my ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it." And his mother said, "Blessed be my son by the Lord." 3And he restored the 1,100 pieces of silver to his mother. And his mother said, "I dedicate the silver to the Lord from my hand for my son, to make a carved image and a metal image. Now therefore I will restore it to you." 4So when he restored the money to his mother, his mother took 200 pieces of silver and gave it to the silversmith, who made it into a carved image and a metal image. And it was in the house of Micah. 5And the man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and household gods, and ordained one of his sons, who became his priest. 6In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

7Now there was a young man of Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there. 8And the man departed from the town of Bethlehem in Judah to sojourn where he could find a place. And as he journeyed, he came to the hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah. 9And Micah said to him, "Where do you come from?" And he said to him, "I am a Levite of Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to sojourn where I may find a place." 10And Micah said to him, "Stay with me, and be to me a father and a priest, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year and a suit of clothes and your living." And the Levite went in. 11And the Levite was content to dwell with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons. 12And Micah ordained the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. 13Then Micah said, "Now I know that the Lord will prosper me, because I have a Levite as priest."


Judges 18

Danites Take the Levite and the Idol

1In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of the people of Dan was seeking for itself an inheritance to dwell in, for until then no inheritance among the tribes of Israel had fallen to them. 2So the people of Dan sent five able men from the whole number of their tribe, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land and to explore it. And they said to them, "Go and explore the land." And they came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there. 3When they were by the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young Levite. And they turned aside and said to him, "Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What is your business here?" 4And he said to them, "This is how Micah dealt with me: he has hired me, and I have become his priest." 5And they said to him, "Inquire of God, please, that we may know whether the journey on which we are setting out will succeed." 6And the priest said to them, "Go in peace. The journey on which you go is under the eye of the Lord."

7Then the five men departed and came to Laish and saw the people who were there, how they lived in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and unsuspecting, lacking nothing that is in the earth and possessing wealth, and how they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone. 8And when they came to their brothers at Zorah and Eshtaol, their brothers said to them, "What do you report?" 9They said, "Arise, and let us go up against them, for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. And will you do nothing? Do not be slow to go, to enter in and possess the land. 10As soon as you go, you will come to an unsuspecting people. The land is spacious, for God has given it into your hands, a place where there is no lack of anything that is in the earth."

11So 600 men of the tribe of Dan, armed with weapons of war, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol, 12and went up and encamped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. On this account that place is called Mahaneh-dan to this day; behold, it is west of Kiriath-jearim. 13And they passed on from there to the hill country of Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah.

14Then the five men who had gone to scout out the country of Laish said to their brothers, "Do you know that in these houses there are an ephod, household gods, a carved image, and a metal image? Now therefore consider what you will do." 15And they turned aside there and came to the house of the young Levite, at the home of Micah, and asked him about his welfare. 16Now the 600 men of the Danites, armed with their weapons of war, stood by the entrance of the gate. 17And the five men who had gone to scout out the land went up and entered and took the carved image, the ephod, the household gods, and the metal image, while the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the 600 men armed with weapons of war. 18And when these went into Micah's house and took the carved image, the ephod, the household gods, and the metal image, the priest said to them, "What are you doing?" 19And they said to him, "Keep quiet; put your hand on your mouth and come with us and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and clan in Israel?" 20And the priest's heart was glad. He took the ephod and the household gods and the carved image and went along with the people.

21So they turned and departed, putting the little ones and the livestock and the goods in front of them. 22When they had gone a distance from the home of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah's house were called out, and they overtook the people of Dan. 23And they shouted to the people of Dan, who turned around and said to Micah, "What is the matter with you, that you come with such a company?" 24And he said, "You take my gods that I made and the priest, and go away, and what have I left? How then do you ask me, 'What is the matter with you?'" 25And the people of Dan said to him, "Do not let your voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows fall upon you, and you lose your life with the lives of your household." 26Then the people of Dan went their way. And when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his home.

27But the people of Dan took what Micah had made, and the priest who belonged to him, and they came to Laish, to a people quiet and unsuspecting, and struck them with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire. 28And there was no deliverer because it was far from Sidon, and they had no dealings with anyone. It was in the valley that belongs to Beth-rehob. Then they rebuilt the city and lived in it. 29And they named the city Dan, after the name of Dan their ancestor, who was born to Israel; but the name of the city was Laish at the first. 30And the people of Dan set up the carved image for themselves, and Jonathan the son of Gershom, son of Moses, and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land. 31So they set up Micah's carved image that he made, as long as the house of God was at Shiloh.


Psalm 75

God Will Judge with Equity

To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.


1 We give thanks to you, O God;

we give thanks, for your name is near.

We recount your wondrous deeds.

2 "At the set time that I appoint

I will judge with equity.

3 When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants,

it is I who keep steady its pillars.

Selah

4 I say to the boastful, 'Do not boast,'

and to the wicked, 'Do not lift up your horn;

5 do not lift up your horn on high,

or speak with haughty neck.'"

6 For not from the east or from the west

and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,

7 but it is God who executes judgment,

putting down one and lifting up another.

8 For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup

with foaming wine, well mixed,

and he pours out from it,

and all the wicked of the earth

shall drain it down to the dregs.

9 But I will declare it forever;

I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.

10 All the horns of the wicked I will cut off,

but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.