The Birth of Samson
13 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, so the LORD gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.
There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. And the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” Then the woman came and told her husband, “A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name, but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”
Then Manoah prayed to the LORD and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.” And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field. But Manoah her husband was not with her. So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.” And Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the man and said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to this woman?” And he said, “I am.” And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?” And the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe.”
Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “Please let us detain you and prepare a young goat for you.” And the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “If you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the LORD.” (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the LORD.) And Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?” And the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the LORD, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the LORD went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.
The angel of the LORD appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the LORD. And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” But his wife said to him, “If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.” And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the LORD blessed him. And the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
Judges 13 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The cycle of sinfulness continued. The Israelite’s left God, followed their own terms, judgment came, they repented. This circular theme is found over and over again in the book of Judges. It seems the Israelite’s would not or possibly could not turn to God unless they were oppressed severely.
It was never until things were so absolutely brutal for them as a people that they would turn. Oppression would have to be high, death marked their people, and a litany of suffering that afflicted them and then… only then would they turn back. Although this suffering was not caused by God, He certainly allowed it to grab their hearts.
The man God would raise up to become their next judge and bring relief is one of the most conflicted men in Scripture.
Samson struggled with his flesh continually, lied when convenient, and was unruly a good portion of his life; the list goes on and on. Samson would be a man who wasted his strength and life. He played practical jokes, was constantly battling to get out of scrapes and eventually gave it all up to follow a woman he loved. Much of Samson’s wasted potential are parallel to his locks of hair laying on the ground after surrendering once again to his own wants and strength.
His beginnings though paint a calling far different than how he ended. Born to a couple unable to have children, he was a miracle on every sense. An angel of the Lord spoke of his future. His calling would be to deliver Israel. He would be raised Nazirite – which was a person set aside for complete service to God Almighty. If Samson would follow after God all of his days, his service would be blessed and directed. It would only be in his final moments that seemingly he surrendered.
The cycle of sin is something we all struggle with. The grace of Jesus today is something we can cling and live within even through our struggles. However, as the potential of Samson lay waste for most of his life as he would not yield himself completely the same is true for us. His grace definitely meets us in our most despicable selves showing it is never too late to start over. But sometimes the consequences of our choices and selfish mindsets block the full potential God had for our lives.
Within this cycle – where do you find yourself?
Judges 13 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
There are many instances in the Old Testament where scholars attribute a being from heaven as being Jesus Christ. This is one of those times. The ‘angel of the Lord’ comes to give instructions regarding Samson, but has some strange responses that cause us to pause and question.
Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “What is your name, so that when your words come to pass, we may honor you?” 18 But the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?”Judges 13:17-18 NASB
Compare this to the nameless man who wrestles Jacob until daybreak and then gives him a blessing – also a possible instance of Christ.
Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.Genesis 32:24 NASB
Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there.Gen 32:29
“Why is it you ask my name?” The same response is found by a heavenly being who both has the authority to give blessings as well as redirect praise to His Father. He also states His name is wonderful.
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.Isaiah 9:6 NASB
Was it really Him? We can’t know for sure. But it is interesting to consider. No matter if it was or was not, the message from God was crystal clear. Samson’s parents were to obey. This is something we should remember as we read the next few chapters.