Judges 15:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 15:17, NIV: When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was called Ramath Lehi.

Judges 15:17, ESV: As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone out of his hand. And that place was called Ramath-lehi.

Judges 15:17, KJV: And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramathlehi.

Judges 15:17, NASB: When he had finished speaking, he threw the jawbone from his hand; and he named that place Ramath-lehi.

Judges 15:17, NLT: When he finished his boasting, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was named Jawbone Hill.

Judges 15:17, CSB: When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone and named that place Jawbone Hill.

What does Judges 15:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Empowered by the Spirit of the Lord, Samson has slaughtered a massive number of Philistines. Unarmed when the battle started, he tore the jawbone from a donkey's carcass. That was his only weapon, yet the battle ends with literal heaps of enemy corpses and Samson still alive (Judges 15:14–16). Samson has already spoken a poem about his victory. Now he tosses the jawbone aside. The significance of this event inspires the name Ramath-lehi, literally meaning "the hill of the jawbone." The prior reference to the Philistine army approaching "Levi" may have been a reference to that later name (Judges 15:9, 14). Samson's utter annihilation of the enemy using a small bone club results in the location being called "Jawbone Hill," or something similar.

Neither Samson's poem nor his initial reaction to the victory acknowledge that God has accomplished this feat through him. Samson doesn't seem prepared to share glory in the moment, even with the true source of the victory. As the frenzy of battle wears off, however, Samson seems to experience two things: a moment of clarity and the limitations of his own body (Judges 15:18–19).