Judges 16:7 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 16:7, NIV: Samson answered her, 'If anyone ties me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I'll become as weak as any other man.'

Judges 16:7, ESV: Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.”

Judges 16:7, KJV: And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.

Judges 16:7, NASB: And Samson said to her, 'If they bind me with seven fresh animal tendons that have not been dried, then I will become weak and be like any other man.'

Judges 16:7, NLT: Samson replied, 'If I were tied up with seven new bowstrings that have not yet been dried, I would become as weak as anyone else.'

Judges 16:7, CSB: Samson told her, "If they tie me up with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I will become weak and be like any other man."

What does Judges 16:7 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Samson seems to be playing a dangerous game with Delilah, the woman he loves (Judges 16:4–6). We're not told how much he knew about her plan. Most likely, he didn't know she had been paid to betray his secret and hand him over to his enemies. And yet, it's highly likely Samson ignored common sense and other warning signs. The lords of the Philistines offered Delilah a huge amount of money to seduce Samson into revealing the secret of his supernatural strength. They intend to subdue and humiliate him.

Rather than trying to be sneaky, Delilah has taken a less suspicious approach. She presumably lavishes Samson with love, while bluntly asking about the secret of his supernatural strength. In that context, a lover asking, "how can you be defeated?" would appear more curious than anything else. Samson gives Delilah an answer. It's a lie, seemingly part of what he thinks is a flirtatious, private game. His answers, her use of them, and his responses imply he thinks this is an amusing way to show off for his lover (Judges 16:9, 12, 14). Eventually, he will trust her enough to tell the truth, foolishly assuming she won't harm him—though that's exactly what she will do (Judges 16:20–21).

In his first blatant lie, Samson tells Delilah that seven fresh, undried bowstrings would make him as weak as any other man. If Delilah knows anything about Nazirite vows (Judges 13:4–5; Numbers 6:1–21), this would make a certain amount of sense. Samson's position as a Nazirite should have prevented him from contacting anything from a corpse. Bowstrings were made from sinews or intestines of dead animals; an undried bowstring came straight from a carcass. Samson knew from experience, though, that touching something from a dead body would not take away his strength.