Judges 13

A promise is given to try our faith and a precept to try our obedience – for God requires both faith and obedience from those on whom He would bestow special favors.
(It is desirable that our children be devoted to God even before their birth.)

1 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.

2 ¶ And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not.

3 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.

4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:

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: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

6 ¶ Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name:

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.

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.

9 And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her.

10 And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day.

11 And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am.

12 And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?

13 And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware.

14 She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.

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.

16 And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD.

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 honour?

18 And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?

19 So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on.

20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground.

21 But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD.

22 And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.

23 But his wife 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 shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.

24 ¶ And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.

25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Judges 13:1-14 – The Promise of a Nazarite Champion

   The secret of Samson’s strength was a puzzle to his contemporaries. Even Delilah could not account for it, Judges 16:5-6. Clearly, then, it did not depend on his great height, nor his brawny chest and arms, nor his muscular development. It was due, as Hebrews 11:32 explains, to his faith, which opened his nature to the Spirit of God. See Judges 14:6, 19; 15:14. But faith is always in direct proportion to consecration. The soul cannot give itself in two directions nor serve two masters; and if it draws its energy from the eternal God, there must be strict discipline exercised on the gateways of sense.
   This was the intention of the Nazarite vow, which was generally taken for a limited period, but in this case for life. Its three particulars are enumerated in Numbers 6:4-9. Modern physiology has laid heavy emphasis on the necessity for a mother’s careful regimen. How blessed it would be if not mothers only, but fathers and indeed all who influence young life, would, for the sake of Christ and the children, abstain from alcohol! Is this price too much for love to give? See Mark 9:42. —Through the Bible Day by Dayr adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Judges 13:15-25 – The Promise Fulfilled

   Manoah’s wife comforted her husband with admirable tact. How often her words come back to us, at the different stages of life! The fact that God continues to bless and use, to answer prayer and give revelations of Himself, may be quoted as a reason for believing that He has not cast us off. Would He have showed us such things as these and then kill us? His love in time past forbids us to think so. 
   Samson means sunny. A happy, laughing lad, with his profuse crown of unshorn hair—is it any wonder that the soldiers of the garrison, situated on the Dan-frontier, welcomed him? And the Spirit of God began to play on his young soul, as a minstrel plays on his harp “began to move”. Oh, happy are they whose natures lie open to God’s touch, so that the least movement produces a quick and glad answer! As the Aeolian harp will respond to the kiss of the zephyr or the moan of the rising storm, so be it with our hearts and lives. Thus our unconscious influence may become as songs without words. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Judges 13:23—If the LORD were pleased to kill us, He would not have received a burnt offering.

   Manoah was a pessimist, given to dark foreboding, fond of anticipating misfortune. So soon as he realized that he had seen the face of God, he made sure that his wife and he would die. His wife, on the contrary, was prone to look on the bright side of things, and she must have been an admirable helpmeet. How much some of us owe to the temperament of those with whom we live! Many a time would Christian sit down to die, and succumb in the dark waters of the river, if it were not for Hopeful, who pierces the gloom, and beholds the light shining beyond the cloud.
   Often enough Foreboding whispers, “We shall surely die.” It is the voice of conscience, dreading the result of sin. It is the voice of mistrust, which fails to look beyond the hills for its help. It is the voice of human frailty. At such times let us look back and recount the blessings of the past. Did not God receive our burnt-offering? Did He not conspicuously answer our prayers? Did He not give his only begotten Son? Has He not led us by his right hand and holy arm? Has He not delivered us in seven troubles? Besides, has He not pledged Himself for the future? Has He not showed us “all these things”? It is impossible to believe that He will allow us to be overwhelmed.

       His love in time past forbids me to think,
       He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink.

   Trust Him, O suffering saints, doing his will in the teeth of opposition and hate! Fear not the faces of men; be not dismayed before their threats—He is with you to deliver you. They may fight against you, but they shall not prevail; their proudest threats shall fail of their fulfillment. —Our Daily Homily