What does Judges 16:13 mean?
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."
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
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.'
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—"
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.
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.
NKJV: Delilah said to Samson, “Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me what you may be bound with.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head into the web of the loom”—
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Judges 16:4–22 finds Samson falling in love with Delilah. In exchange for an outrageous sum of money, she agrees to seduce him so she can pass along the secret of Samson's strength to his Philistine enemies. This begins a pattern Samson probably thought was a lover's game, where he repeatedly lies about his secret. Eventually, however, he tells her the truth: shaving his head will make him weak. She has his head shaved as he sleeps and then turns him over to the Philistines, who gouge his eyes out and make him into a slave.
Chapter Summary:
After escaping an ambush in the Philistine city of Gaza, Samson rips the city gates out and walks away with them. When he falls deeply in love with Delilah, Philistine nobles pay her a fortune to seduce Samson into revealing the secret of his strength. She eventually succeeds, shaving his head while he sleeps. The Philistines gouge out Samson's eyes and put him in prison in Gaza. He is put on display at a celebration for the Philistine idol Dagon. God grants a last moment of supernatural power in response to Samson prayer. Samson collapses the support beams of the temple, crushing himself along with thousands of Philistine leaders.
Chapter Context:
Samson's story began in chapter 14 and will end here. His time as a judge lasted twenty years (Judges 15:20), but Scripture records only a few major incidents from his life. No specific times are assigned to these events. Samson humiliates Gaza by ripping out the city gates with his bare hands. He then falls for Delilah, who finds out the secret of his strength and betrays him. The Philistines blind Samson and enslave him in a prison near Gaza. They then parade him around during a noblemen's celebration in the temple of Dagon. With power from the Lord, granted as a last request, Samson collapses the temple's support pillars. This kills everyone inside, including himself. This begins the process of Israel's liberation (Judges 13:5), which later men such as Samuel will complete (1 Samuel 7:11–14).
Book Summary:
The Book of Judges describes Israel's history from the death of Joshua to shortly before Israel's first king, Saul. Israel fails to complete God's command to purge the wicked Canaanites from the land (Deuteronomy 7:1–5; 9:4). This results in a centuries-long cycle where Israel falls into sin and is oppressed by local enemies. After each oppression, God sends a civil-military leader, labeled using a Hebrew word loosely translated into English as "judge." These appointed rescuers would free Israel from enemy control and govern for a certain time. After each judge's death, the cycle of sin and oppression begins again. This continues until the people of Israel choose a king, during the ministry of the prophet-and-judge Samuel (1 Samuel 1—7).
Accessed 6/21/2024 3:32:52 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com