Judges 16:19 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 16:19, NIV: After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him.

Judges 16:19, ESV: She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him.

Judges 16:19, KJV: And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.

Judges 16:19, NASB: And she made him sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to humble him, and his strength left him.

Judges 16:19, NLT: Delilah lulled Samson to sleep with his head in her lap, and then she called in a man to shave off the seven locks of his hair. In this way she began to bring him down, and his strength left him.

Judges 16:19, CSB: Then she let him fall asleep on her lap and called a man to shave off the seven braids on his head. In this way, she made him helpless, and his strength left him.

What does Judges 16:19 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Delilah knows Samson has finally told her the truth about the source of his supernatural strength (Judges 16:5–6; 15–17). If his head is shaved, he will become no stronger than any other man. She has signaled her sponsors, Philistine noblemen, to prepare to capture their hated enemy.

Now Delilah manages to get Samson to sleep, apparently with his head on her lap. This is something of a mirror image of when Jael, a woman loyal to Israel, tricked a powerful enemy man into sleeping, then destroyed him (Judges 4:17–21). When Samson is fully asleep, Delilah summons a helper to shave off his hair. Scripture does not explain why Samson failed to wake up, but it's likely he was drugged or drunk. Some commentators suggest that God caused Samson to remain asleep to accomplish His purpose; Delilah's cunning makes it likely she'd take deliberate steps to prevent Samson from noticing what was happening until it was too late.

Once Samson's hair is gone, Delilah begins to "torment" or "subdue" Samson in some way. That might mean tying him up, much as she'd done before (Judges 16:9, 12, 14). Samson's strength had already evaporated before he knew it. When he awakes to hear her familiar warning, he will be shocked to realize he's weak, and that God's power has left him (Judges 16:20).