Judges 15:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 15:18, NIV: Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the LORD, 'You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?'

Judges 15:18, ESV: And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the LORD and said, “You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?”

Judges 15:18, KJV: And he was sore athirst, and called on the LORD, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?

Judges 15:18, NASB: Then he became very thirsty, and he called to the LORD and said, 'You have handed this great victory over to Your servant, and now am I to die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?'

Judges 15:18, NLT: Samson was now very thirsty, and he cried out to the LORD, 'You have accomplished this great victory by the strength of your servant. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of these pagans?'

Judges 15:18, CSB: He became very thirsty and called out to the Lord, "You have accomplished this great victory through your servant. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised? "

What does Judges 15:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

For the first time in this story, Samson is recorded acknowledging the role of God in his life. Even so, it comes in the form of a backhanded demand. Supernaturally empowered by the Lord, Samson has utterly obliterated the Philistine army sent to kill him. Armed only with a donkey's jawbone, he has piled up the corpses of his enemies (Judges 15:14–16). How long this took to accomplish, Scripture does not say. Once it is over, and Samson cries out a clever, poetic boast (Judges 15:17). Then the limits of his physical body seem to catch up to him.

Athletes in combat sports often endure long, grueling contests before finally attaining victory. It's common, in those moments, for the victor to celebrate wildly, only to collapse seconds later in utter exhaustion. Samson has not merely been in a fight; he's killed an entire army's worth of enemy soldiers. Likely out of breath, dehydrated, exhausted, and battered, he cries out to God for relief. The most pressing feeling is that of thirst—so intense Samson thinks he might die.

This prayer begins by acknowledging that the Lord granted his miraculous rescue. Rather than being taken in and killed, he has instead killed the troops sent against him. And yet, the request comes in the form of an accusing question: after all that, are you going to let me die of thirst, so the Philistines can find my corpse? Even when praying, Samson demonstrates his selfish, abrasive nature (Judges 14:1–4).

There's a strange irony in Samson's mention of uncleanness, regarding the uncircumcised Philistines. As far as Scripture has recorded, Samson has shown little concern for ceremonial uncleanness thus far. He ignored his parents' objection to marrying a woman from these same "uncircumcised" people (Judges 14:1–4). He ate honey from an animal carcass (Judges 14:8–9). His interest in ritual purity seems extremely fickle.

The Lord will not rebuke Samson, yet. He has used Samson to accomplish His purpose of creating war between Israel and the Philistines (Judges 13:5). And it seems He has more work for Samson to do.