Judges 16:13 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 16:13, NIV: Delilah then said to Samson, 'All this time you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied.' He replied, 'If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin, I'll become as weak as any other man." So while he was sleeping, Delilah took the seven braids of his head, wove them into the fabric

Judges 16:13, ESV: Then 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.”

Judges 16:13, KJV: And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web.

Judges 16:13, NASB: Then Delilah said to Samson, 'Up to now you have toyed with me and told me lies; tell me how you may be bound.' And he said to her, 'If you weave the seven locks of my hair with the web [and fasten it with the pin, then I will be weak like any other man.'

Judges 16:13, NLT: Then Delilah said, 'You've been making fun of me and telling me lies! Now tell me how you can be tied up securely.' Samson replied, 'If you were to weave the seven braids of my hair into the fabric on your loom and tighten it with the loom shuttle, I would become as weak as anyone else.' So while he slept, Delilah wove the seven braids of his hair into the fabric.

Judges 16:13, CSB: Then Delilah said to Samson, "You have mocked me all along and told me lies! Tell me how you can be tied up."He told her, "If you weave the seven braids on my head into the fabric on a loom--"

What does Judges 16:13 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Samson is either arrogant about his ability to defeat his enemies, or clueless that the woman he loves is working for them (Judges 16:4–6). Twice, he told her a way to remove his supernatural strength; both were lies. In both cases, she did what he suggested, then shouted out a warning as if his Philistine enemies were there. Both times, he easily broke his bonds (Judges 16:7–12). Both times, she responds with a pouting, pleading attitude and asks again.

It's natural to wonder how someone as headstrong and clever as Samson (Judges 14:12–14; 15:4–5) could fall into this trap. Delilah consistently attempts any method he suggests for erasing his great strength. Nothing happens when she tests him the first several times, which probably lulls him into a false sense of trust. The experience likely felt like a lover's game: a teasing, flirting banter between he and Delilah.

Whatever skepticism or common sense Samson might have had about the situation is fading. He once again invents a lie about the source of his strength. But this one is dangerously close to springing the trap. He seems to intentionally play with fire, making this lie about his long hair. Samson had been set aside by the angel of the Lord as a Nazirite before he was even born (Judges 13:5). Normally, those who voluntarily take a Nazirite vow agree not to drink wine or touch dead bodies, among other requirements (Numbers 6:1–21). The only obligation explicitly mentioned for Samson, however, was that he never cut his hair. Though Samson had willfully touched dead bodies and had likely consumed wine, he seems to have been faithful to that single mandate.

As a result, Samson's hair would have been quite long. It is apparently divided into seven long locks or braids. He tells Delilah that if she intertwines his hair into fabric and fastens it tight, he will lose his superhuman strength. The context of this passage suggests the use of an actual loom, implying Delilah might have been a weaver.