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6. Sixth Declension: Under the Philistines and Samson
1. Israel delivered to the Philistines (Judges 13:1 )
2. Manoah and his wife (Judges 13:2-23 )
3. Samson born (Judges 13:24-25 )
The sixth and last declension of Israel in this book is now before us. This section has deep and interesting lessons. The darkest period is reached. The Philistines lorded over Israel. We miss in connection with this declension the statement which occurs in every preceding departure from Jehovah: “And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.” Here is no cry recorded nor a return unto the Lord. It seems the greatest indifference controlled the people so that there was no desire to cry to the Lord. And when we come to the deliverance we find that it was an imperfect one. “He shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (verse 5), is the divine announcement of Samson’s work. And how did he end? He died as a captive of the Philistines. But what does the Philistine typify? He represents the religious man, one who has the form of godliness but knows not the power, the ritualistic Pharisee. We quote from Notes on Judges by F.C. Jennings:
Turning to the tenth chapter of Genesis, we find the genealogy of the Philistines. They are the children of Ham, and Ham is, as his name denotes, the “black one” or sunburnt. Dark indeed, but darkened by the sun. God wanted a man who should show us, as in a figure, or picture, what He sees man who is turned away from Himself (light), so He brings on to the stage of this world a “black man,” a man made black by the sun, and crystalizes the sorrowful truth in his name, Ham. A very clear picture of the “old man.” The sun has shone upon him indeed, but he has not received the light. He has rejected the light--has not come to the light, has hated the light, and, of course, it has not enlightened him; but it must have had some effect. What is it? It has been only to darken him. We may truthfully say that if he had never had light he would not have been dark as he is, and the brighter the light, the darker he has become. Now this is surely the picture of the Pharisee rather than the Publican. It was the Pharisee, the religious man, who was warned “if the light which is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness.” It was the Pharisee, the religious man, not the Publican, of whom the Lord testified that his deeds were evil. It was the Pharisee, the religious man of that day, who with the very Light of the World--the true, bright light shining clearly right before his eyes--asked for a sign! As if one should ask for a light at noonday--what would it prove but his blindness? Oh, blind Pharisee, oh, dark Pharisee, oh, thou child of Ham, thou unregenerate religionist, thou unconverted church-member, how great was, and is even up to this day, thy darkness--a “black man” indeed!
The marks of the Philistine are given as follows:
First. Wherever there is an introduction of carnal principles--that is, principles that the flesh can understand and approve--into the things of God, there is the Philistine.
Second. Wherever there is the teaching of some other way into the land of blessing than by the Red Sea and Jordan (the Cross of Christ) there is the Philistine.
Third. Wherever there are claims to sole authority over the refreshing fountain of God’s Word, which is then tightly shut up, there is the Philistine, for that is how his ancestors treated Abraham’s wells.
Fourth. Wherever you get uncertainty as to sins forgiven--a dread, cold fear that all is not well, for there is no knowledge of a sacrifice that takes away sin--there is the work of the Philistine.
Fifth. Wherever you get principles that would bind the energy of faith, there is the Philistine. And one may still further question whether there are not other phases of Philistinism, far more subtle and dangerous in these last days, than these open expressions of it. The Philistine women of whom we shall read were not warriors, but they were always the ensnarers of the Nazarite.
And who is the deliverer out of the hands of the Philistine? A Nazarite. (See our annotations on Numbers 6:0 of what the Nazarite is and represents. A careful perusal of that chapter is needed to understand the typical meaning of Samson.) Even so the heart knowledge of Christ, our blessed place in Him, as well as the practical life of separation unto which we are called, is the power which delivers from the evil of Philistinism. The Angel of the Lord appeared to the wife of Manoah and later also to Manoah. Her name is not given. He announces to her, who was barren, the birth of a son, who was to be a Nazarite unto God from the womb. The mother herself was to abstain from wine and strong drink and defilement with any unclean thing. The messenger, the Angel of the Lord, is the same who had come from Gilgal to Bochim, the Captain of the Lord’s host, He who appeared to Moses in the burning bush, Jehovah Himself. When asked what is thy Name? He answers: “It is Wonderful” (Isaiah 9:6 ). Then He ascended in the flame of the altar. Samson was born and Jehovah blessed him. The Spirit of the Lord even in his young days began to move him in Mahaneh-dan, the camp of Dan. (Dan means “judging.”)
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Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Judges 13". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
Eve of Ascension