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Bible Commentaries
Judges 13

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

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.

And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord. — To whom any sin is an eyesore, but especially apostasy and idolatry, the sins of those Israelites, who were therefore worse than others, because they ought to have been better.

Into the hand of the Philistines forty years. — During the days of Samson and Eli. Peace they had enjoyed likely, under the three forementioned Judges, Judges 12:7-9 ; Judges 12:13-14 and were the worse for it.

Luxuriant animi rebus plerunque secundis.

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.

A certain man of Zorah. — Samson’s country, much ennobled by his name: as afterwards Co was by Hippocrates, Arpinum by Cicero, Hippo by Augustine, …

And his wife was barren. — What her name was is not recorded; written her name was in the Book of Life, and the Lord knoweth all his by name, and will give them a name in his house better than of sons and of daughters. Isaiah 56:5 A good woman she was, and the better, doubtless, for her barrenness: which was a great means to humble, and so to prepare her for such a mercy in her son Samson. It is observed that the barren women in both Testaments had the best children: as Sarah, Rachel, Elizabeth, … David also had his best sons by Bathsheba, after that they had been soundly humbled for their sin.

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.

And the angel of the Lord,i.e., Christ the Angel of the Covenant, called afterwards by Manoah Elohim, and by his wife Jehovah, Judges 13:23 and by himself Wonderful. Judges 13:18 Isaiah 9:6

Behold now, thou art barren. — See Judges 13:2 .

And bear a son. — A singular son, a Nazarite; such as should be "purer than snow, whiter than milk," Lamentations 4:7 drained from the dregs, and sifted from the bran of the ordinary sort of people.

Verse 4

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

Now therefore beware, I pray thee. — Since he must draw nourishment from thee, both in the womb and at the breasts; since the sanctifying of thy son must take beginning from thyself; beware therefore for his sake, and inure him to abstinence and sobriety of a little child. See also that he nourish his hair, which is the crown of his Nazariteship, Numbers 6:1-27 and that he come not at funerals, … Quintilian requireth in him that shall be an orator, that by his parents, nurses, attendants, he be inured to the best words well pronounced, and that from his infancy; that so he may soon become Vir bonus dicendi peritus, a good man and well-spoken. How much more requisite is this to a magistrate or minister!

Verse 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.

For the child shall be a Nazarite unto God. — And so a type of Christ, the great votary.

And he shall begin to deliver Israel. — He shall be doing at it, but David shall perfect this deliverance. Christ is both author and finisher of his people’s salvation.

Verse 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:

Then the woman came and told her husband. — Which because the first woman did not, but held a parley with the serpent, great mischief ensued. Married couples must freely impart their minds one to another in things of common concernment. Coniugis illa sui Cor, Caput iste suae. Josephus tells us that Manoah was jealous of his wife: but who told him so?

A man of God. — A prophet: it was indeed the Arch-prophet.

Very terrible. — Majestic, glorious, and sparkling with divine light.

But I asked him not whence he was. — Modesty and taciturnity do well become women. Video, taceo, I see and say nothing, was Queen Elizabeth’s motto.

Verse 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.

Behold, thou shalt conceive. — Had her husband been jealous, as Josephus wrongfully reporteth him, she would hardly have told him this story. But had not she been barren, the angel had not now been sent to her. Afflictions to the saints are advantageous.

From the womb to the day of his death. — By God’s special designation and command. So was John Baptist. This was not ordinary.

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. — So should we as oft as any difficulty ariseth in wedlock, or otherwise, especially about the breeding or disposing of our dear children. There is a woe to such as "take counsel, but not of God; and that cover with a covering, but not of his Spirit." Isaiah 30:1

Verse 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.

And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah. — As he turneth not away any faithful prayer without a comfortable answer. Psalms 66:20

As she sat in the field,i.e., Rusticabatur, saith Vatablus, she was about her country business.

Verse 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.

Ran, and showed her husband.See Trapp on " Judges 13:6 "

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].

And Manoah arose, and went after his wife. — Whereby appeareth the unity wherein these two lived together, and that conjugal love which is the inward cement of married couples, and such an elixir, as by contaction, if there be any disposition of goodness in the same metal, it will render it of the property.

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? — Or, What shall be his office and his work? This their solicitude about the child was very commendable. Let it be parents’ care, that

Ipsa Deo blandos fundant cunabula flores. ” - Virg.

Careless parents are a kind of parricides, peremptores potius quam parentes, saith Bernard.

Verse 13

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

Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware,sc., For her child’s sake. And generally, that mother that would have a holy child, must herself be holy and temperate: for Partus sequitur ventrem, the birth usually followeth the belly, the child taketh after the mother.

Verse 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.

She may not eat, …, — viz., While she is with child, or a nurse: and let her see that the child do much more refrain the use of those things forbidden him by the law. Numbers 6:1-27

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, … — A prophet’s reward they held him worthy of, even "double honour," 1 Timothy 5:17 that is, Reverentia et alimonia, saith Ambrose: Officium et subsidium, saith Beza.

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.

I will not eat of thy bread. — I need it not, as you mortal wights do, since Animantis cuiusque vita in fuga est, your life must be upheld by food, but not so mine: I am more than a creature. It is by degrees that Christ revealeth himself.

And if thou wilt offer a burnt offering. — Thou must be a willing offerer: God straineth upon no man. Virtus nolentium nulla est.

Thou must offer it unto the Lord. — And therefore to me, who am Aυτοθεος , very God.

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? — This he asketh, not out of curiosity, but of an honest intent to do him honour, by some munus honorarium, honorary present, and all due respect besides; such as the Shunamite gave Elisha, and as that good woman in the Book of Martyrs gave Dr Sands, who departing the land for fear of Queen Mary, told her, who had been married eight years, and was childless, that ere one whole year was past, she should have a son: and it came to pass accordingly, that time twelveth month, lacking but one day. Act. and Mon., 1894.

Verse 18

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

Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret? — Or, Wonderful, that is, incomprehensible. I am called as I am called; but such is thy weakness, that it surpasseth thy conception. So Bede, Victorinus, and others expound it. God, as he surmounteth all creatures, so he surpasseth all notion, all name. Afri vocant Deum ignotum Amon, idest, Heus tu quis es! Plutarch, lib. De Iside et Osiride. Christ, not only as God, but as Mediator also, is called Wonderful. Isaiah 9:6

Verse 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.

So Manoah took a kid, … — Both the sacrifiser and the altar were extraordinary; but they had Christ’s warrant for it. Judges 19:16

And the angel did wondrously. — Probably by bringing fire out of the rock, as before for Gideon, and consuming the sacrifice.

And Manoah and his wife looked on. — For the confirmation of their faith. This was a high favour. All Israel might see Moses go toward the rock of Rephidim. None but the elders might see him strike it: their unbelief made them unworthy of this privilege. It is no small favour of God to make us witnesses of his wondrous works.

Verse 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.

When the flame went up toward heaven. — As it doth naturally. God can draw up our spirits as a heave offering. Exodus 29:27 As we see the flame ascend, we are to think of it as of a sheet let down by God from heaven, to take up our love and affections in, like the flame of this sacrifice wherein the angel ascended.

That the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar. — This did most sweetly represent and shadow forth, saith a grave interpreter, the office of Christ, whose work it is to present all our services before God, and to procure them to be graciously accepted of him.

And fell on their faces to the ground. — Partly through fear, and partly in way of thankfulness to God.

Verse 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.

Then Manoah knew that he was an angel. — Even that Angel of the covenant, the Angel of the great council, as the Septuagint styles him. και καλειται το ονομα αντου μεγαλης βουλης αγγελος . /LXXE Isaiah 9:6 prefixing that before other of Christ’s titles there, though that be not found in the Hebrew.

Verse 22

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

And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die. — The most valiant Gideon said as much in effect. Judges 6:22 This opinion grew, as it is thought, from the misunderstanding of that text, "There shall no man see me, and live." Exodus 33:20 But albeit we cannot see God in his majesty; yet Jacob, Moses, and others have seen some simulacra vel species, whereby he hath made himself visible to them; they have seen the chariot in which God rode, but not the rider, as the Rabbis express it. Merchabah, velo Rochebh.

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.

But his wife said unto him. — She, it seemeth, had the stronger faith; and her arguments were in readiness to cheer up her fainting husband. The like, in likelihood, did Priscilla for her Aquila, when for St Paul’s life they laid down their own necks: wherefore also she hath the first salutation. Romans 16:3-4 Sure it is that Helen Stirk, a Scotch martyr, suffering together with her husband for the cause of Christ, thus bespake him at the place of execution: Husband, rejoice; for we have lived together many joyful days; but this day, wherein we must die together, ought to be most joyful to us both, because we must have joy for ever: therefore I will not bid you good night, for we shall suddenly meet within the kingdom of heaven. Act. and Mon., 1154.

Verse 24

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

And called his name Samson. — That is, Solilus, a little sun, a type of Christ "the Sun of Righteousness." Josephus expoundeth it, Robustus, strong; because as the sun in his strength is irresistible, so was Samson.

And the child grew, and the Lord blessed him. — With a heroic spirit, and extraordinary strength of body, far above that which the poets feign of their Hercules, with his twelve incredible labours.

Verse 25

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

And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times. — Or, Hither and thither, as the bells which hung in the skirts of Aaron’s garment. Those bells have their name (pagnamon) from pagham Agere sive impellere, verberare ut incus, quae nominatur "Pagnain" Isaiah 41:7 here used; because they were shaken to and fro.

In the camp of Dan. — Whence some think he is called Bedan; 1 Samuel 12:11 others quasi Ben Dan, the son of Dan.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Judges 13". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/judges-13.html. 1865-1868.
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