Judges 13

1 The children of Israel again did that which was evil in the LORD’s sight; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years. 2 There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and childless. 3 The LORD’s angel appeared to the woman, and said to her, “See now, you are barren and childless; but you shall conceive, and bear a son. 4 Now therefore please beware and drink no wine nor strong drink, and don’t eat any unclean thing: 5 for, behold, you shall conceive, and give birth to a son. No razor shall come on his head; for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb. He shall begin to save Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.” 6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, “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; 7 but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink. Don’t eat any unclean thing; for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’” 8 Then Manoah entreated the LORD, 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 shall be born.” 9 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, wasn’t with her. 10 The woman hurried and ran, and told her husband, and said to him, “Behold, the man who came to me that day has appeared to me.” 11 Manoah arose, and followed his wife, and came to the man, and said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to my wife?” He said, “I am.” 12 Manoah said, “Now let your words happen. What shall the child’s way of life and mission be?” 13 The LORD’s angel said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her beware. 14 She may not eat of anything that comes of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing. Let her observe all that I commanded her.” 15 Manoah said to the LORD’s angel, “Please stay with us, that we may make a young goat ready for you.” 16 The LORD’s angel said to Manoah, “Though you detain me, I won’t eat your bread. If you will prepare a burnt offering, you must offer it to the LORD.” For Manoah didn’t know that he was the LORD’s angel. 17 Manoah said to the LORD’s angel, “What is your name, that when your words happen, we may honor you?” 18 The LORD’s angel said to him, “Why do you ask about my name, since it is incomprehensible?” 19 So Manoah took the young goat with the meal offering, and offered it on the rock to the LORD. Then the angel did an amazing thing as Manoah and his wife watched. 20 For when the flame went up towards the sky from off the altar, the LORD’s angel ascended in the flame of the altar. Manoah and his wife watched; and they fell on their faces to the ground. 21 But the LORD’s angel didn’t appear to Manoah or to his wife any more. Then Manoah knew that he was the LORD’s angel. 22 Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God.” 23 But his wife said to him, “If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he wouldn’t have received a burnt offering and a meal offering at our hand, and he wouldn’t he have shown us all these things, nor would he have told us such things as these at this time.” 24 The woman bore a son, and named him Samson. The child grew, and the LORD blessed him. 25 The LORD’s Spirit began to move him in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–7

Israel did evil: then God delivered them again into the hands of the Philistines. When Israel was in this distress, Samson was born. His parents had been long childless. Many eminent persons were born of such mothers. Mercies long waited for, often prove signal mercies; and by them others may be encouraged to continue their hope in God’s mercy. The angel notices her affliction. God often sends comfort to his people very seasonably, when they feel their troubles most. This deliverer of Israel must be devoted to God. Manoah’s wife was satisfied that the messenger was of God. She gave her husband a particular account, both of the promise and of the precept. Husbands and wives should tell each other their experiences of communion with God, and their improvements in acquaintance with him, that they may help each other in the way that is holy.

Verses 8–14

Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet, as Manoah, have believed. Good men are more careful and desirous to know the duty to be done by them, than to know the events concerning them: duty is ours, events are God’s. God will guide those by his counsel, who desire to know their duty, and apply to him to teach them. Pious parents, especially, will beg Divine assistance. The angel repeats the directions he had before given. There is need of much care for the right ordering both of ourselves and our children, that we may be duly separate from the world, and living sacrifices to the Lord.

Verses 15–23

What Manoah asked for instruction in his duty, he was readily told; but what he asked to gratify his curiosity, was denied. God has in his word given full directions concerning our duty, but never designed to answer other questionings. There are secret things which belong not to us, of which we must be quite contented to be ignorant, while in this world. The name of our Lord is wonderful and secret; but by his wonderful works he makes himself known as far as is needful for us. Prayer is the ascent of the soul to God. But without Christ in the heart by faith, our services are offensive smoke; in him, acceptable flame. We may apply this to Christ’s sacrifice of himself for us; he ascended in the flame of his own offering, for by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, Heb 9:12. In Manoah’s reflections there is great fear; We shall surely die. In his wife’s reflection there is great faith. As a help meet for him, she encouraged him. Let believers who have had communion with God in the word and prayer, to whom he has graciously manifested himself, and who have had reason to think God has accepted their works, take encouragement from thence in a cloudy and dark day. God would not have done what he has done for my soul, if he had designed to forsake me, and leave me to perish at last; for his work is perfect. Learn to reason as Manoah’s wife; If God designed me to perish under his wrath, he would not give me tokens of his favour.

Verses 24–25

The Spirit of the Lord began to move Samson when a youth. This was evidence that the Lord blessed him. Where God gives his blessing, he gives his Spirit to qualify for the blessing. Those are blessed indeed in whom the Spirit of grace begins to work in the days of their childhood. Samson drank no wine or strong drink, yet excelled in strength and courage, for he had the Spirit of God moving him; therefore be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.

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