Judges 15:16
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Then Samson said, "With a donkey's jawbone I have made donkeys of them. With a donkey's jawbone I have killed a thousand men."

New Living Translation
Then Samson said, "With the jawbone of a donkey, I've piled them in heaps! With the jawbone of a donkey, I've killed a thousand men!"

English Standard Version
And Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey have I struck down a thousand men.”

New American Standard Bible
Then Samson said, "With the jawbone of a donkey, Heaps upon heaps, With the jawbone of a donkey I have killed a thousand men."

King James Bible
And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then Samson said: With the jawbone of a donkey I have piled them in a heap. With the jawbone of a donkey I have killed 1,000 men.

International Standard Version
Then Samson declared, "With a jawbone from the donkey— here a heap, there a pair of heaps— with the jawbone of the donkey I've killed 1,000 men."

NET Bible
Samson then said, "With the jawbone of a donkey I have left them in heaps; with the jawbone of a donkey I have struck down a thousand men!"

New Heart English Bible
Samson said, "With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps on heaps; with the jawbone of a donkey I have struck a thousand men."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Then Samson said, "With a jawbone from a donkey, I've made two piles of them. With a jawbone from a donkey, I've killed a thousand men."

JPS Tanakh 1917
And Samson said: With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, With the jawbone of an ass have I smitten a thousand men.

New American Standard 1977
Then Samson said,
            “With the jawbone of a donkey,
            Heaps upon heaps,
            With the jawbone of a donkey
            I have killed a thousand men.”



Jubilee Bible 2000
Then Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, one heap, two heaps; with the jaw of an ass I have slain a thousand men.

King James 2000 Bible
And Samson said, With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey have I slain a thousand men.

American King James Version
And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps on heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.

American Standard Version
And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, With the jawbone of an ass have I smitten a thousand men.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And he said: With the jawbone of an ass, with the jaw of the colt of asses I have destroyed them, and have slain a thousand men.

Darby Bible Translation
And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, a heap, two heaps, With the jawbone of an ass have I slain a thousand men.

English Revised Version
And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of an ass have I smitten a thousand men.

Webster's Bible Translation
And Samson said, With the jaw-bone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.

World English Bible
Samson said, "With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps on heaps; with the jawbone of a donkey I have struck a thousand men."

Young's Literal Translation
And Samson saith, 'With a jaw-bone of the ass -- an ass upon asses -- with a jaw-bone of the ass I have smitten a thousand men.'

Study Bible
Samson Defeats the Philistines
15He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, so he reached out and took it and killed a thousand men with it. 16Then Samson said, "With the jawbone of a donkey, Heaps upon heaps, With the jawbone of a donkey I have killed a thousand men." 17When he had finished speaking, he threw the jawbone from his hand; and he named that place Ramath-lehi.…
Cross References
Judges 15:15
He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, so he reached out and took it and killed a thousand men with it.

Judges 15:17
When he had finished speaking, he threw the jawbone from his hand; and he named that place Ramath-lehi.
Treasury of Scripture

And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps on heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.

with the jaw-bone. There is here a fine paronomasia upon the word chamor, 'an ass,' which also signifies 'a heap;' bilchee hachamor, chamor chamorathayim, 'With the jaw-bone of an ass, a heap upon two heaps.' heaps upon heaps. Heb. an heap, two heaps.

(16) And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass.--Here we once more find ourselves in very primitive regions of poetry and paronomasia. Samson's exultation over his extraordinary achievement finds vent in a sort of punning couplet, which turns entirely on the identity of sound between chamor, a heap, and chamor, an ass, and the play of meaning between aleph, a thousand, and aleph, an ox. In the Hebrew the couplet runs:--

"Bi-lechi ha-chamor chamor chamorathaim.

Bi-lechi ha-chamor hicceyth eleph eesh."

Literally, with some attempt, however clumsy, to keep up the play of words,

"With jaw of the ass, a (m)ass two (m) asses,

With jaw of the ass I smote an ox-load of men."

The versions are, of course, unable to preserve these rough paronomasias, which are characteristic of the age. It would be quite a mistake to infer that they show any levity of spirit in Samson. On the contrary, such peculiarities of expression often arise out of deep emotion. When John of Gaunt begins his dying speech to Richard II. with--

"Old Gaunt, indeed! and gaunt in being old," &c.,

the king asks:--

"Can sick men play so nicely with their names?"

and the dying prince makes the striking answer:--

"No; misery makes sport to mock herself."

I have fully examined the whole subject in Chapters on Language, pp. 227-238. These sallies of playful fancy tended no less than the flashes of military prowess to prepare the nation for better times by keeping up their buoyant mood. "The nation felt unsubdued in mind and body, while its sons could flow out in such health and vivacity;" and thus Samson began to deliver them, though his actual deeds were casual--"a sort of teasing, reiterated mark of mortifying humiliation" (Ewald).

Verse 16. - And Samson said, etc. The exploit gave birth to one of Sam son's punning, enigmatical, sayings: "With the jawbone of the ass, one heap, two heads of slain." Hamor, an ass, means also an heap. If one were to imitate the passage in English, supposing that the jaw of a sheep had been the implement, it might run something like this - By the jaw of a sheep they fell heap upon heap. A Latin imitation is, Maxilla cervi, acervum acervos (Bochart). He adds, as if in explanation, With the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men. So the women sang, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands (1 Samuel 18:7), And a Latin song is quoted, in which Aurelian is made to say after the Sarmatic war - "Mille Sarmatas, mille Frances, Semel et semel occidimus, Mille Persas quaerimus" (Bp. Patrick on Judges 15.). And Samson said,.... In a kind of triumphant song:

with the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps; that is, with such an instrument he had slain heaps of men, who lay dead in heaps upon one another; in the words for an "ass", and for an "heap", is an elegant "paronomosia", not easy to be expressed in our language:

with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men: this he said not in a proud and haughty manner, ascribing it to himself, as Josephus suggests (m), since he takes notice of the mean instrument he used; which showed that he was sensible it was not done by his own power, but by the power of God, which enabled him by such weak means to do such wonderful things.

(m) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 8. sect. 9. 16. With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men—The inadequacy of the weapon plainly shows this to have been a miraculous feat, "a case of supernatural strength," just as the gift of prophecy is a case of supernatural knowledge [Chalmers].15:9-17 Sin dispirits men, it hides from their eyes the things that belong to their peace. The Israelites blamed Samson for what he had done against the Philistines, as if he had done them a great injury. Thus our Lord Jesus did many good works, and for those the Jews were ready to stone him. When the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson, his cords were loosed: where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, and those are free indeed who are thus set free. Thus Christ triumphed over the powers of darkness that shouted against him, as if they had him in their power. Samson made great destruction among the Philistines. To take the bone of an ass for this, was to do wonders by the foolish things of the world, that the excellency of the power might be of God, not of man. This victory was not in the weapon, was not in the arm; but it was in the Spirit of God, which moved the weapon by the arm. We can do all things through Him that strengtheneth us. Seest thou a poor Christian, who is enabled to overcome a temptation by weak, feeble counsel, there is the Philistine vanquished by a sorry jaw-bone.
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