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Bible Commentaries
Judges 13

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 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.

The Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years. The Israelites were represented (Judges 10:6-7) as having fallen universally into a state of gross and confirmed idolatry; and in chastisement of this great apostasy the Lord raised up enemies that harassed them in various quarters, especially the Ammonites and Philistines. The invasions and defeat of the former, were narrated in the two chapters immediately preceding this; and now the sacred historian proceeds to describe the inroads of the latter people. The period of Philistine ascendancy comprised forty years, reckoning from the time of Elon until the death of Samson.

Verse 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.

Zorah - a Danite town (Joshua 15:33), lying on the common boundary of Judah and Dan, so that it was near the Philistine border.

Verse 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.

The angel of the Lord - the messenger of the covenant; the divine personage who made so many remarkable appearances of a similar kind already described.

Verse 4

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

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 5

For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no rasor 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.

Thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. This predicted child being to be a Nazarite, the mother was, for the sake of her promised offspring, required to practice the rigid abstinence of the Nazarite law (see the note at Numbers 6:3).

He shall begin to deliver Israel - a prophecy encouraging to a patriotic man; the terms of it, however, indicated that the period of deliverance was still to be distant.

Verses 6-7

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:

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 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.

Then Manoah entreated the Lord. On being informed by his wife of the welcome intimation, the husband made it the subject of earnest prayer to God; and this is a remarkable instance, indicative of the connection which God has established between prayer and the fulfillment of His promises.

Verses 9-10

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.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 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.

Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? Manoah's intense desire for the repetition of the angel's visit was prompted, not by doubts or anxieties of any kind, but was the fruit of lively faith, and of his great anxiety to follow out the instructions given. 'Blessed was he who had not seen, yet had believed.'

Verse 12

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

How shall we order the child?, [ mah (H4100) yihªyeh (H1961) Mishpat (H4941) hana`ar (H5288)] - What will be the manner of the child? - i:e., What sort of a child, and what will he do?

Verses 13-14

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

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 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.

Let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid. The stranger declined the intended hospitality; and intimated that if the meat were to be an offering, it must be presented to the Lord. Manoah needed this instruction, for his purpose was to offer the prepared viands to Him, not as the Lord, but as what he imagined Him to be, not even an angel (Judges 13:16), but a prophet or merely human messenger. It was on this account, and not as rejecting divine honours, that he spoke in this manner to Manoah. The angel's language was exactly similar to that of our Lord, Matthew 12:17.

Verse 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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 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?

What is thy name? Manoah's request elicited the most unequivocal proofs of the divinity of this supernatural Visitor-in his name "secret" [peli'y, wonderful] (used in regard to what is supernatural, cf. Isaiah 9:6), and in the miraculous flame that betokened the acceptance of the sacrifice. There was an extraordinary mystery enveloping the angel's appearance to Manoah and his wife, as well as in his subsequent procedure, which stamped him in the eyes of that pious pair as wonderful. There is a marked difference between the mode of the divine procedure in pre-intimating the births of Isaac and of Samson. 'While Yahweh enters Abraham's abode as a guest, and partakes of the food that is set before him, in the history of Manoah, on the contrary, "the angel of Jehovah" expressly declines to do so. How shall we explain this difference? In Abraham's case so intimate a relation subsists between him and his God, that he obtains a distinction which, in accordance with his exalted vocation as the Friend of God, he only could obtain. But another relation comes before us, where the standing-point of the theocratic law had revealed the alienation between God and man, and the majesty of God is there, even as on mount Sinai, a majesty fenced around with bounds that may not be passed' (Havernick's 'Introduction to the Pentateuch,' p. 160).

Verses 18-21

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

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 22

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

We shall surely die, because we have seen God - (see the note at Genesis 16:13.) The frequent manifestations of the angel of Yahweh to the worthies of the early Jewish Church had rendered the description of His terrible majesty a current tradition. A popular belief also prevailed that the party to whom He thus revealed Himself would die. In this belief Manoah participated; and he was relieved from the painful apprehension of impending death only by the seasonable and happy suggestion of his wife, that the acceptance of their offerings was a pledge of His gracious and beneficent purpose toward them.

Verse 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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 24

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

The woman bare a son, and called his name Samson. The birth of this child of promise, and the report of the important national services he was to render, must from the first have made him an object of special interest and careful instruction.

Verse 25

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

The Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times - not probably as it moved the prophets, who were charged with an inspired message, but kindling in his youthful bosom a spirit of high and devoted patriotism. [ lªpa`ªmow (H6470) is improperly rendered in our version "at times," as if the divine afflatus was merely occasional; because the purport of this verse is to state that an extraordinary influence began to be exerted upon him for the first time. Pa`am (H6471) denotes an anvil, a tread of the foot, an impression on the senses made with sudden violence; and hence, trop to agitate the mind, to arouse it to a state of powerful emotion.] The word, as employed in the present instance, is evidently expressive of the excitation of the Hebrew youth to feats of chivalrous valour, exceeding anything which he or any of his companions could have exhibited, if they had been left to the exercise of their ordinary strength, in order that he might be prepared, by the experience which he thus had of supernatural aid, to trust in Yahweh when he should be called to fill situations in which nothing short of that aid could enable him successfully to cope with the enemies of his people (cf. Judges 14:6; Judges 15:14).

Eshtaol - the free city. It, as well as Zorah, stood on the border between Judah and Dan.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Judges 13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/judges-13.html. 1871-8.
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