Today's reading

Reading 1

Judges chapter 16

(Jdg 16:1) And Samson goeth to Gaza, and seeth there a woman, a harlot, and goeth in unto her;

(Jdg 16:2) [it is told] to the Gazathites, saying, `Samson hath come in hither;` and they go round and lay wait for him all the night at the gate of the city, and keep themselves silent all the night, saying, `Till the light of the morning -- then we have slain him.`

(Jdg 16:3) And Samson lieth down till the middle of the night, and riseth in the middle of the night, and layeth hold on the doors of the gate of the city, and on the two side posts, and removeth them with the bar, and putteth on his shoulders, and taketh them up unto the top of the hill, which [is] on the front of Hebron.

(Jdg 16:4) And it cometh to pass afterwards that he loveth a woman in the valley of Sorek, and her name [is] Delilah,

(Jdg 16:5) and the princes of the Philistines come up unto her, and say to her, `Entice him, and see wherein his great power [is], and wherein we are able for him -- and we have bound him to afflict him, and we -- we give to thee, each one, eleven hundred silverlings.`

(Jdg 16:6) And Delilah saith unto Samson, `Declare, I pray thee, to me, wherein thy great power [is], and wherewith thou art bound, to afflict thee.`

(Jdg 16:7) And Samson saith unto her, `If they bind me with seven green withs which have not been dried, then I have been weak, and have been as one of the human race.`

(Jdg 16:8) And the princes of the Philistines bring up to her seven green withs which have not been dried, and she bindeth him with them.

(Jdg 16:9) And the ambush is abiding with her in an inner chamber, and she saith unto him, `Philistines [are] upon thee, Samson;` and he breaketh the withs as a thread of tow is broken in its smelling fire, and his power hath not been known.

(Jdg 16:10) And Delilah saith unto Samson, `Lo, thou hast played upon me, and speakest unto me lies; now, declare, I pray thee, to me, wherewith thou art bound.`

(Jdg 16:11) And he saith unto her, `If they certainly bind me with thick bands, new ones, by which work hath not been done, then I have been weak, and have been as one of the human race.`

(Jdg 16:12) And Delilah taketh thick bands, new ones, and bindeth him with them, and saith unto him, `Philistines [are] upon thee, Samson;` and the ambush is abiding in an inner chamber, and he breaketh them from off his arms as a thread.

(Jdg 16:13) And Delilah saith unto Samson, `Hitherto thou hast played upon me, and dost speak unto me lies; declare to me wherewith thou art bound.` And he saith unto her, `If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web.`

(Jdg 16:14) And she fixeth [it] with the pin, and saith unto him, `Philistines [are] upon thee, Samson;` and he awaketh out of his sleep, and journeyeth with the pin of the weaving machine, and with the web.

(Jdg 16:15) And she saith unto him, `How dost thou say, I have loved thee, and thy heart is not with me? these three times thou hast played upon me, and hast not declared to me wherein thy great power [is].`

(Jdg 16:16) And it cometh to pass, because she distressed him with her words all the days, and doth urge him, and his soul is grieved to death,

(Jdg 16:17) that he declareth to her all his heart, and saith to her, `A razor hath not gone up on my head, for a Nazarite to God I [am] from the womb of my mother; if I have been shaven, then hath my power turned aside from me, and I have been weak, and have been as any of the human race.`

(Jdg 16:18) And Delilah seeth that he hath declared to her all his heart, and she sendeth and calleth for the princes of the Philistines, saying, `Come up this time, for he hath declared to me all his heart;` and the princes of the Philistines have come up unto her, and bring up the money in their hand.

(Jdg 16:19) and she maketh him sleep on her knees, and calleth for a man, and shaveth the seven locks of his head, and beginneth to afflict him, and his power turneth aside from off him;

(Jdg 16:20) and she saith, `Philistines [are] upon thee, Samson;` and he awaketh out of his sleep, and saith, `I go out as time by time, and shake myself;` and he hath not known that Jehovah hath turned aside from off him.

(Jdg 16:21) And the Philistines seize him, and pick out his eyes, and bring him down to Gaza, and bind him with two brazen fetters; and he is grinding in the prison-house.

(Jdg 16:22) And the hair of his head beginneth to shoot up, when he hath been shaven,

(Jdg 16:23) and the princes of the Philistines have been gathered together to sacrifice a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice; and they say, `Our god hath given into our hand Samson our enemy.`

(Jdg 16:24) And the people see him, and praise their god, for they said, `Our god hath given in our hand our enemy, and he who is laying waste our land, and who multiplied our wounded.`

(Jdg 16:25) And it cometh to pass, when their heart [is] glad, that they say, `Call for Samson, and he doth play before us;` and they call for Samson out of the prison-house, and he playeth before them, and they cause him to stand between the pillars.

(Jdg 16:26) And Samson saith unto the young man who is keeping hold on his hand, `Let me alone, and let me feel the pillars on which the house is established, and I lean upon them.`

(Jdg 16:27) And the house hath been full of men and of women, and thither [are] all the princes of the Philistines, and on the roof [are] about three thousand men and women, who are looking on the playing of Samson.

(Jdg 16:28) And Samson calleth unto Jehovah, and saith, `Lord Jehovah, remember me, I pray Thee, and strengthen me, I pray Thee, only this time, O God; and I am avenged -- vengeance at once -- because of my two eyes, on the Philistines.`

(Jdg 16:29) And Samson turneth aside [to] the two middle pillars, on which the house is established, and on which it is supported, [to] the one with his right hand, and one with his left;

(Jdg 16:30) and Samson saith, `Let me die with the Philistines,` and he inclineth himself powerfully, and the house falleth on the princes, and on all the people who [are] in it, and the dead whom he hath put to death in his death are more than those whom he put to death in his life.

(Jdg 16:31) And his brethren come down, and all the house of his father, and lift him up, and bring him up, and bury him between Zorah and Eshtaol, in the burying-place of Manoah his father; and he hath judged Israel twenty years.

Reading 2

Judges chapter 17

(Jdg 17:1) And there is a man of the hill-country of Ephraim, and his name [is] Micah,

(Jdg 17:2) and he saith to his mother, `The eleven hundred silverlings which have been taken of thine, and [of which] thou hast sworn, and also spoken in mine ears; lo, the silver [is] with me, I have taken it;` and his mother saith, `Blessed [is] my son of Jehovah.`

(Jdg 17:3) And he giveth back the eleven hundred silverlings to his mother, and his mother saith, `I had certainly sanctified the silver to Jehovah, from my hand, for my son, to make a graven image, and a molten image; and now, I give it back to thee.`

(Jdg 17:4) And he giveth back the money to his mother, and his mother taketh two hundred silverlings, and giveth them to a refiner, and he maketh them a graven image, and a molten image, and it is in the house of Micah.

(Jdg 17:5) As to the man Micah, he hath a house of gods, and he maketh an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrateth the hand of one of his sons, and he is to him for a priest;

(Jdg 17:6) in those days there is no king in Israel, each that which is right in his own eyes doth.

(Jdg 17:7) And there is a young man of Beth-Lehem-Judah, of the family of Judah, and he [is] a Levite, and he [is] a sojourner there.

(Jdg 17:8) And the man goeth out of the city, out of Beth-Lehem-Judah, to sojourn where he doth find, and cometh to the hill-country of Ephraim, unto the house of Micah, to work his way.

(Jdg 17:9) And Micah saith to him, `Whence comest thou?` and he saith unto him, `A Levite [am] I, of Beth-Lehem-Judah, and I am going to sojourn where I do find.`

(Jdg 17:10) And Micah saith to him, `Dwell with me, and be to me for a father and for a priest, and I give to thee ten silverlings for the days, and a suit of garments, and thy sustenance;` and the Levite goeth [in].

(Jdg 17:11) And the Levite is willing to dwell with the man, and the young man is to him as one of his sons.

(Jdg 17:12) And Micah consecrateth the hand of the Levite, and the young man is to him for a priest, and he is in the house of Micah,

(Jdg 17:13) and Micah saith, `Now I have known that Jehovah doth good to me, for the Levite hath been to me for a priest.`

Reading 3

Judges chapter 18

(Jdg 18:1) In those days there is no king in Israel, and in those days the tribe of the Danite is seeking for itself an inheritance to inhabit, for [that] hath not fallen to it unto that day in the midst of the tribes of Israel by inheritance.

(Jdg 18:2) And the sons of Dan send, out of their family, five men of them, men, sons of valour, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to traverse the land, and to search it, and they say unto them, `Go, search the land;` and they come into the hill-country of Ephraim, unto the house of Micah, and lodge there.

(Jdg 18:3) They [are] with the household of Micah, and they have discerned the voice of the young man, the Levite, and turn aside there, and say to him, `Who hath brought thee hither? and what art thou doing in this [place?] and what to thee here?`

(Jdg 18:4) And he saith unto them, `Thus and thus hath Micah done to me; and he hireth me, and I am to him for a priest.`

(Jdg 18:5) And they say to him, `Ask, we pray thee, at God, and we know whether our way is prosperous on which we are going.`

(Jdg 18:6) And the priest saith to them, `Go in peace; over-against Jehovah [is] your way in which ye go.`

(Jdg 18:7) And the five men go, and come in to Laish, and see the people which [is] in its midst, dwelling confidently, according to the custom of Zidonians, quiet and confident; and there is none putting to shame in the land in [any] thing, possessing restraint, and they [are] far off from the Zidonians, and have no word with [any] man.

(Jdg 18:8) And they come in unto their brethren, at Zorah and Eshtaol, and their brethren say to them, `What -- ye?`

(Jdg 18:9) And they say, `Rise, and we go up against them, for we have seen the land, and lo, very good; and ye are keeping silent! be not slothful to go -- to enter to possess the land.

(Jdg 18:10) When ye go, ye come in unto a people confident, and the land [is] large on both hands, for God hath given it into your hand, a place where there is no lack of anything which [is] in the land.`

(Jdg 18:11) And there journey thence, of the family of the Danite, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, six hundred men girded with weapons of war.

(Jdg 18:12) And they go up and encamp in Kirjath-Jearim, in Judah, therefore they have called that place, `Camp of Dan,` till this day; lo, behind Kirjath-Jearim.

(Jdg 18:13) And they pass over thence [to] the hill-country of Ephraim, and come in unto the house of Micah.

(Jdg 18:14) And the five men, those going to traverse the land of Laish, answer and say unto their brethren, `Have ye known that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and graven image, and molten image? and now, know what ye do.`

(Jdg 18:15) And they turn aside thither, and come in unto the house of the young man the Levite, the house of Micah, and ask of him of welfare, --

(Jdg 18:16) (and the six hundred men girded with their weapons of war, who [are] of the sons of Dan, are standing at the opening of the gate), --

(Jdg 18:17) yea, the five men, those going to traverse the land, go up -- they have come in thither -- they have taken the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image -- and the priest is standing at the opening of the gate, and the six hundred men who are girded with weapons of war --

(Jdg 18:18) yea, these have entered the house of Micah, and take the graven image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image; and the priest saith unto them, `What are ye doing?`

(Jdg 18:19) and they say to him, `Keep silent, lay thy hand on thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us for a father and for a priest: is it better thy being a priest to the house of one man, or thy being priest to a tribe and to a family in Israel?`

(Jdg 18:20) And the heart of the priest is glad, and he taketh the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and goeth into the midst of the people,

(Jdg 18:21) and they turn and go, and put the infants, and the cattle, and the baggage, before them.

(Jdg 18:22) They have been far off from the house of Micah -- and the men who [are] in the houses which [are] near the house of Micah have been called together, and overtake the sons of Dan,

(Jdg 18:23) and call unto the sons of Dan, and they turn round their faces, and say to Micah, `What -- to thee that thou hast been called together?`

(Jdg 18:24) And he saith, `My gods which I made ye have taken, and the priest, and ye go; and what to me more? and what [is] this ye say unto me, What -- to thee!`

(Jdg 18:25) And the sons of Dan say unto him, `Let not thy voice be heard with us, lest men bitter in soul fall upon you, and thou hast gathered thy life, and the life of thy household;`

(Jdg 18:26) and the sons of Dan go on their way, and Micah seeth that they are stronger than he, and turneth, and goeth back unto his house.

(Jdg 18:27) And they have taken that which Micah had made, and the priest whom he had, and come in against Laish, against a people quiet and confident, and smite them by the mouth of the sword, and the city have burnt with fire,

(Jdg 18:28) and there is no deliverer, for it [is] far off from Zidon, and they have no word with [any] man, and it [is] in the valley which [is] by Beth-Rehob; and they build the city, and dwell in it,

(Jdg 18:29) and call the name of the city Dan, by the name of Dan their father, who was born to Israel; and yet Laish [is] the name of the city at the first.

(Jdg 18:30) And the sons of Dan raise up for themselves the graven image, and Jonathan son of Gershom, son of Manasseh, he and his sons have been priests to the tribe of the Danite, till the day of the removal of [the people] of the land.

(Jdg 18:31) And they appoint for them the graven image of Micah, which he had made, all the days of the house of God being in Shiloh.