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CHAPTER 13 Jun. 13 
The Birth of Samson
The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh and Yahweh delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years. 2There was a man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah, and his wife was barren and childless. 3The angel of Yahweh appeared to the woman and said to her, Look now, you are barren and childless but you will conceive and bear a son. 4Now therefore you must be careful and drink no wine nor strong drink, and don’t eat any unclean thing. 5You shall conceive and bear a son, and no razor must come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he will begin to save Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. 6Then the woman went and told her husband, A man of God came to me, and his face was like the face of the angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he was from, neither did he tell me his name, 7but he said to me ‘You will conceive and bear a son; drink no wine or strong drink, and eat no unclean thing, for the child shall be a Nazirite unto God from the womb to the day of his death’. 8Then Manoah entreated Yahweh and said, Oh Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we should do to the child who will be born. 9God 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, wasn’t with her. 10The woman quickly ran and told her husband, and said to him, The man has appeared to me, who came to me that day. 11Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the man and said to him, Are you the man who spoke to the woman? He said, I am. 12Manoah said, Now may your words come true. What should the child’s way of life and mission be? 13The angel of Yahweh said to Manoah, All that I said to the woman she must do. 14She may not eat anything that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing; all that I commanded her let her observe. 15Manoah said to the angel of Yahweh, Please, let us detain you so that we may make a young goat ready for you. 16The angel of Yahweh said to Manoah, Though you detain me, I won’t eat your food, and if you prepare a burnt offering, you must offer it to Yahweh. Manoah didn’t know that he was the angel of Yahweh. 17Manoah said to the angel of Yahweh, What is your name, that when your words come true, we may honour you? 18The angel of Yahweh said to him, Why do you ask about my name, since it is beyond understanding? 19So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to Yahweh. Then the angel did a wonderful thing as Manoah and his wife looked on. 20When the flame went up toward the sky from the altar, the angel of Yahweh ascended in the flame of the altar, and Manoah and his wife looked on, and they fell on their faces to the ground. 21But the angel of Yahweh didn’t appear to Manoah or to his wife any more. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of Yahweh. 22Manoah said to his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. 23But his wife said to him, If Yahweh wanted to kill us He wouldn’t have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from us, neither would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have told us such things as these. 24The woman bore a son, and named him Samson, and the child grew and Yahweh blessed him. 25The Spirit of Yahweh began to trouble him in the camp of Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.


13:5 Although he was to be the beginning of serious deliverance of Israel from the Philistines, the whole story of Samson is prefaced by the fact that during the 40 years of Samson's' ministry (15:20;16:31), "Yahweh delivered (Israel) into the hand of the Philistines" (:1). It is emphasized in 14:4 that "at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel" (see too 15:11). The point is hammered home in 15:20: "He judged Israel in the days of the Philistines for twenty years". God's intention was that Samson was to deliver Israel from the Philistines; but somehow he never rose up to it. They remained under the Philistines, even during his ministry. One interpretation of his life is that he made a few sporadic attempts in red hot personal zeal, confirmed by God, to deliver Israel. But he never rose up to the potential level that God had prepared for him in prospect. And yet for all this, he was accepted in the final analysis as a man of faith. This provides comfort not only to us in our weakness, but assists us in more positively and hopefully perceiving others whose weaknesses are so apparent to us. When she relayed the incident to her husband, Samson’s mother omitted to repeat the part of the Angel’s conversation about Samson delivering Israel from the Philistines (:7)- perhaps because she didn’t believe that her child would be capable of this. And perhaps this was a factor in his failure to achieve what God had intended for him. 
13:7 It may be possible to understand that the breaking of his Naziriteship was yet another way in which he never lived up to his God-given potential. He was "a Nazirite unto God from the womb to the day of his death". Yet he broke the Nazirite vow by touching dead bodies and having his hair shaven (Num. 6:6). This may mean that he chose to break God's ideal intention for him, to take a lower and lower level of service to God until actually he had slipped away altogether. This is the problem with eagerly making use of God’s concessions to human weakness. However, it may be that God counted his desirefor the high standard of Naziriteship to him. He saw him as if this never happened, in the same way as He saw Abraham as if he had offered up Isaac, even though ultimately he didn't (Heb. 11:17; James 2:21). Intention, not the human strength of will to do the act, seems to sometimes be what God earnestly looks for.  
13:8 The child who will be born- We see here Manoah’s respect and belief of his wife’s word, which he accepted as God’s word. When a wife says she is pregnant because an Angel visited her- it’s quite something for the husband to believe that, especially in a culture which stereotyped women as untruthful and likely to be unfaithful. Manoah’s example likely inspired Joseph centuries later when Mary said the same. Manoah’s respect of his wife’s word was again put to the test in :9,10.
13:9 God listened to the voice of Manoah- His hearkening to God’s word led to God hearing his word in prayer- see on 9:7. Manoah asked for the prophet (whom he thought the Angel was) to come again and tell them how to train their new child. His prayer was answered- but actually, his request wasn't specifically dealt with. The Angel came- not a prophet, as he asked- and confirmed to Manoah that really his wife was going to have a child. The spirit behind his request was understood and answered, rather than the actual words which he spoke.
13:15 The record of Samson and his parents has a large number of situations where he was connected into the experience of those who had gone before; they were intended to learn the lessons, as we are to turn God’s word into flesh, making the historical accounts have practical relevance to life today. Consider: Manoah's desire to detain the Angel (cp. Gen. 18:5). Manoah's desire to detain the Angel and offer sacrifice was exactly that of Gideon (6:18). His belief after he had seen the Angel ascend (13:20 = 6:21), and his subsequent fear, were again expressed in the words of Gideon (13:21,22 cp. 6:22). As Gideon was, perhaps subconsciously, the hero of Manoah, so Samson followed his father's spirituality in this (see on 14:1; 15:4). It seems he lived out parental expectation, and imbibed the spirituality of his father without making it his own. Born and raised believers, beware. See on :24; 14:1,3; 15:4,15,19; 16:24,25.
13:24 The child grew, and Yahweh blessed him- cp. Samuel, John, the Lord Jesus- all chosen from the womb.
13:25 The Spirit of the Lord had been troubling his conscience as to why the people of Dan had not followed up Joshua's victories, and had allowed themselves to be overrun by the uncircumcised. The only other references to "troubled" are in Gen. 41:8; Ps. 77:4; Dan. 2:1,3. The Spirit of God worked with Samson's spirit, so that it was troubled as he went for his solitary walks of meditation.