Judges 16:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 16:11, NIV: He said, 'If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I'll become as weak as any other man.'

Judges 16:11, ESV: And 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.”

Judges 16:11, KJV: And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.

Judges 16:11, NASB: Then He said to her, 'If they bind me tightly with new ropes which have not been used, then I will become weak and be like any other man.'

Judges 16:11, NLT: Samson replied, 'If I were tied up with brand-new ropes that had never been used, I would become as weak as anyone else.'

Judges 16:11, CSB: He told her, "If they tie me up with new ropes that have never been used, I will become weak and be like any other man."

What does Judges 16:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Samson continues to play Delilah's dangerous game (Judges 16:4–5). It's unknown what Samson might have suspected when she first began to ask about his secret weakness (Judges 16:6). He lied, at first, as one might expect (Judges 16:7). Even though she followed through on his lie and then tested it (Judges 16:7–10), most likely the Philistine men waiting in ambush didn't spring out. From Samson's perspective, this might be a kind of lover's banter. Or, a trust exercise between Samson and the woman he loves. On the other hand, one would expect him to at least realize the possibility that she is working with his enemies.

The fact that this pattern repeats several times might help explain why it eventually succeeds. After several rounds of questions, lies, tests, and no real consequences, Samson may have concluded Delilah never intended to harm him, but was merely curious. To each failure, she claims to be hurt over his lack of honesty and asks again how a person could possibly defeat him.

Samson now responds with his second lie: that if someone were to tie his hands with unused ropes, he would lose his supernatural power. Those paying attention to Samson's story know this is not true. This was exactly how the men of Judah bound Samson when they attempted to hand him over to a Philistines army at Lehi (Judges 15:13). When God's Spirit empowered him, Samson snapped the ropes as if they were burnt threads (Judges 15:14–15). The same thing happened when Delilah tried tying him with seven undried bowstrings.

She doesn't know this, it seems, so once again Delilah will test the source of Samson's power (Judges 16:12).