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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Judges

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FRAMEWORKS: Judges 13 : The Birth of Samson


v.1-5 An Angel tells a woman of a coming pregnancy

v.6-8 On being told, her husband prays

v.9-15 The Angel comes again and confirms the message

v.16-21 Manoah at last believes

v.22-25 Samson is born


[Preliminary Notes: The story of Samson is, at first sight, theologically confusing. Samson is clearly chosen by God – before he is born [check our Jer 1:5] – and indeed God enables a barren woman to conceive. He is called to be a Nazirite [see Num 6:1-8 for the vow of a Nazirite], the objective of which is dedication to God. Samson is one by name only; he is more dedicated to his own desires, focused mostly on women. As a result of this he constantly gets into trouble with the Philistines who are oppressing Israel at this time, who God had used to discipline Israel [13:1] in the south of the country at least. The Lord uses Samson's self-centred desires to come against the Philistines and deliver Israel again, although there is no mention of Israel's repentance after 40 years oppression by the Philistines.]



v.1-5 An Angel tells a woman of a coming pregnancy


v.1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord , so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.

v.2 A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah , from the clan of the Danites, [a central but coastal tribal region north of Philistia] had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth.

v.3  The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son.

v.4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean.

v.You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”


[Notes: The story starts off with a barren wife – not uncommon in the Bible – see Sarai [Gen 11:30], Rebekah [Gen 25:21], Rachel [Gen 29:31], Hannah [1 Sam 1:5,6], Elizabeth [Lk 1:7] and the Lord enabling her to conceive, with the instruction that her son is to be brought up as a Nazirite.]



v.6-8 On being told, her husband prays


v.6 Then the woman went to her husband and told him, “A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn't ask him where he came from, and he didn't tell me his name.

v.7 But he said to me, ‘You will become pregnant and have a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from the womb until the day of his death.'”

v.Then Manoah prayed to the Lord : “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.”


[Notes: The woman tells her husband what has happened and he appears somewhat skeptical and asks the Lord for confirmation.]



v.9-15 The Angel comes again and confirms the message


v.9 God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her.

v.10 The woman hurried to tell her husband, “He's here! The man who appeared to me the other day!”

v.11 Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the man who talked to my wife?” “I am,” he said.

v.12 So Manoah asked him, “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that governs the boy's life and work?”

v.13 The angel of the Lord answered, “Your wife must do all that I have told her.

v.14 She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her.”

v.15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.”


[Notes: The angel appears again and confirms their son is to be a Nazirite. The man invites him to stay.]



v.16-21 Manoah at last believes


v.16 The angel of the Lord replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord.” (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the Lord.)

v.17  Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?”

v.18 He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.”

v.19 Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the Lord. And the Lord did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched:

v.20 As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground.

v. 21 When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord.


[Notes: The angel tells him simply to prepare a burnt offering for the Lord and when he does the angel went up in the flames and Manoah believes.]



v.22-25 Samson is born


v.22  “We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!”

v.23  But his wife answered, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.”

v.24 The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him,

v.25 and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol [on the border of Dan and Judah].


[Notes: The man is fearful but his wife reassures him and in time Samson is born. Samson's origin clearly has the hand of God on it.]