JUDGES CHAPTER 13
The Birth of Samson.
THE FIRST APPEARANCE OF THE ANGEL. — V. 1. And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord, they fell back into their former ways of idolatry, adding to the transgression of their fathers; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years, the tribes most concerned in this oppression being Dan and Judah with Simeon. V. 2. And there was a certain man of Zorah, Josh. 19, 41, of the family of the Danites, the tribes nearest to the territory of the Philistines, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and bare not, a fact which was regarded as a painful visitation of the Lord, if not as a distinct curse. V. 3. And the Angel of the Lord, He who is equal with God in essence, who always revealed Himself when help and salvation was needed, appeared unto the woman and said unto her, Behold, now, thou art barren and bearest not; but thou shalt conceive and bear a son, an announcement much like that made to Abraham, to Zacharias, and to Mary. V. 4. Now, therefore, beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, the latter being a very intoxicating beverage usually made of barley, dates, and honey, and eat not any unclean thing, Lev. 11; Deut. 14; v. 5. for, lo, thou shalt conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come on his head; for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb, from his birth to his death, Num. 6, 5. And he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines. It was only a beginning which he made, for his victories were not full and final, the complete deliverance being effected later. V. 6. Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, the word used for a prophet or for one in the most intimate relation toward God, and his countenance, his appearance, was like the countenance of an angel of God, that is, the special Angel, in whom the invisible God reveals Himself to men, this fact being well known among the children of Israel, very terrible, inspiring the greatest awe and reverence; but I asked him not whence he was, not daring to ask for this information, neither told he me his name; v. 7. but he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing; for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death. As a man set apart to God by a vow, consecrated to His service, the son who was to be born should lead his entire life. The children of Christian parents are also consecrated to the Lord, even before their birth, and should spend their entire life in His service.
THE SECOND APPEARANCE OF THE ANGEL. — V. 8. Then Manoah intreated the Lord and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which Thou didst send come again unto us and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born. He was not unbelieving, but he desired a confirmation of his wife’s statements and further instructions as to their manner of conducting themselves. V. 9. And God hearkened unto the voice of Manoah, for He has respect to the scruples of His weak children if they but turn to Him in childlike trust. And the Angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field; but Manoah, her husband, was not with her. V. 10. And the woman made haste, and ran, and showed her husband, announced the fact of the Angel’s coming to her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me that came unto me the other day. Her language was again that which implied that she believed the visitor to be the Angel of the Lord. V. 11. And Manoah arose, from the work which he just then had in hand, and went after his wife, who ran ahead in her eagerness, and came to the man and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And He said, I am. V. 12. And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him? When this happy event would take place, he wanted to be sure of treating the boy in a manner which would accord entirely with God’s plans. V. 13. And the Angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware; she had sufficient instructions concerning her conduct. V. 14. She may not eat of anything that cometh of the vine, not even the tendrils and leaves, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing; all that I commanded her let her observe, the responsibility was naturally laid on the mother, because a holy and pure consecration was to rest on him whom she was to bring forth. V. 15. And Manoah said unto the Angel of the Lord, I pray Thee, let us detain Thee until we shall have made ready a kid for Thee. This reminds us of the manner in which Gideon wanted to show hospitality to the Angel of the Lord, chap. 6, 18-21. V. 16. And the Angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Though thou detain Me, I will not eat of thy bread, of the meal prepared for Him; and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the Lord, literally, “But if thou wilt offer a burnt sacrifice to Jehovah, offer it”; that is, He would not hinder Manoah, he might go ahead with his preparations. For Manoah knew not that He was an Angel of the Lord, the Angel of the Lord in the very special sense of the word. V. 17. And Manoah said unto the Angel of the Lord, What is Thy name, that, when Thy sayings come to pass, we may do Thee honor? namely, by sending presents. V. 18. And the Angel of the Lord said unto him, Why askest thou thus after My name, seeing it is secret? The great name of the heavenly Visitor was Peli, that is, Wonderful, the God of wonders, Is. 9, 6 (5) A miracle He performed here before Manoah and his wife, but a far greater miracle was to be performed in the future, when He whose name is Wonderful would be born of a virgin. V. 19. So Manoah, still not knowing the identity of the visitor, took a kid with a meat-offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the Lord, as a burnt offering; and the Angel did wondrously, performed a miracle with it before their eyes; and Manoah and his wife looked on. V. 20. For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, evidently in a manner similar to that related in the case of Gideon, chap. 6, 21, for the flame seems to have come out of the rock, that the Angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar, thereby revealing His identity. And Manoah and his wife looked on it and fell on their faces to the ground, in worshipful adoration at the presence of God. V. 21. But the Angel of the Lord did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife, He did not present Himself in visible form again. Then Manoah knew, he finally understood and was convinced, that he was an Angel of the Lord. V. 22. And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die because we have seen God. Cp. Gen. 16, 13; Ex. 33, 20. V. 23. But his wife, whose faith was more childlike, but also firmer, said unto him, If the Lord were pleased to kill us, He would not have received a burnt offering and a meat-offering at our hands, neither would He have showed us all these things; the acceptance of their sacrifice, together with the miraculous revelation, showed that the Lord was not angry with them; nor would as at this time have told us such things as these, He would not have given them the promise of a son at a stated time if He had planned to put them to death. V. 24. And the woman, the wife of Manoah, in due time bare a son and called his name Samson; and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him. Cp. 1 Sam. 2, 21. V. 25. And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol. This statement serves as an introduction to the following chapters, with their narration of Samson’s exploits, for in every case the Spirit of Jehovah took hold on him and impelled him to perform special deeds of valor against the Philistines. Samson is clearly a type of Christ, whose conception and birth was far more miraculous, however. And Christ was always and in extraordinary measure filled with the Holy Ghost, for He was, even in His human existence, united with the Father in the most intimate relationship. And as Samson was a savior of his people, so Christ, again in a measure beyond compare, is the Redeemer of all His people, of the whole world, from the oppression of death and the devil.