JUDGES CHAPTER 13
The Philistines again oppress Israel, Jude 13:1. An angel appeareth to Manoah’s wife, promising her a son that should be a Nazarite, and deliver Israel, Jude 13:2-5. She informs her husband hereof: he prayeth, and obtaineth a return of the angel, Jude 13:6-14. Manoah is desirous to provide food for the angel, and inquireth after his name, Jude 13:15-18. He sacrificeth to the Lord, and the angel ascendeth to heaven in the flame of the burnt-offering, Jude 13:19-21. Hereat Manoah is affrighted, but comforted by his wife; who beareth him a son; his name Samson, in whom is the Spirit of the Lord, Jude 13:22-25.
Did evil, i.e. fell into idolatry, &c., not now after the death of Abdon the last judge, but in the days of the former judges.
Forty years, to be computed not from Abdon’s death, but before that time, as is evident both from Jude 13:5, where it is declared that Israel was under the power of the Philistines; and from Jude 15:20, where only twenty of these years are said to have been in Samson’s days. And it is probably conceived, that that great slaughter of the Ephraimites made by Jephthah did greatly encourage the Philistines to rise against Israel, when one of their chief bulwarks was so much weakened; and therefore that the Philistines began to domineer over them not long after Jephthah’s death.
Zorah; a city, of which see Joshua 15:33 19:41.
Of the family, i.e. of the tribe or people, as family sometimes signifies, Joshua 7:17 Jeremiah 8:3 10:25 Amos 3:1 Micah 2:3 Zechariah 14:18.
Barren, and bare not; an emphatical repetition of the same thing in divers words, which is a usual elegancy, both in Scripture and other authors.
The angel of the Lord; the Son of God, oft so called in the Old Testament, as may be gathered from Jude 13:18, yet distinguished from the Lord, because he appeared here as it were in the form of a servant, as a messenger sent from God, and was really a distinct person from God the Father.
Beware, I pray thee; because the child was to be a Nazarite from the womb, Jude 13:5, and from the conception; and because the mother’s pollution extends to the child, she is enjoined from this time to observe the following rules belonging to the Nazarites.
And drink not wine, nor strong drink; under which by a synecdoche are comprehended the other particulars mentioned Numbers 6:2-4, as is implied Jude 13:14.
Any unclean thing; any of those meats forbidden Le 11, which were forbidden to all, but especially to the Nazarites.
A Nazarite; a person separated from others, and consecrated to God’s service.
He shall begin to deliver Israel; and the deliverance shall be carried on and perfected by others, as it was in part by Eli, and Samuel, and Saul; but especially by David.
A man of God; a prophet, or sacred person, sent with a message from God.
Very terrible, or, venerable, or awful, full of majesty.
Let thy words come to pass; or, thy words shall come to pass; I firmly believe that thy promises shall be fulfilled.
How shall we order the child? what rules shall we observe about his education?
Whilst the child is in her womb, and after the child is born, let him observe the same orders.
Supposing him to be a man and a prophet, to whom he would in this manner express his respect, as was usual to strangers. See Genesis 18:5 Jude 6:18.
Bread, i.e. meat, as bread is commonly taken in Scripture.
Unto the Lord; not unto a man, as now thou apprehendest me to be; but unto the Lord, as thou wilt by and by perceive me to be.
Either by making honourable mention of time, or by performing respect and service to thee, by a present, which they usually gave to prophets, 1 Samuel 9:7,8 1 Kings 14:3.
Or, hidden from mortal men; or, wonderful, such as thou canst not comprehend; my nature or essence (which is oft signified by name in Scripture) is incomprehensible. This shows that this was the Angel of the covenant, the Son of God.
Meat-offerings were generally joined with the chief sacrifices.
Offered it upon a rock; the angel’s presence and command being a sufficient warrant for the offering of sacrifice by a person who was no priest, and in a place otherwise forbidden.
The flame; either arising from the fire which Manoah brought for the offering, or produced by the angel out of the rock in a miraculous manner.
From off the altar, i.e. from that part of the rock which served instead of an altar, upon which the sacrifice was laid.
The angel ascended in the flame, to manifest his nature and essence to be spiritual, because not capable of hurt by the fire; and celestial.
Fell on their faces; partly in reverence to that glorious presence manifested in so wonderful a manner; and partly out of a religions horror and fear of death upon this occasion, as is expressed Jude 13:22, for the prevention whereof they fell down in way of supplication to God.
at this time; the particle as noting here, not likeness, but the truth and reality of the thing, as it doth Numbers 11:1 Deuteronomy 9:10, and elsewhere. This expression seems to have some emphasis in it, to enhance God’s mercy to them, as being afforded them in a time of such public and grievous calamity; and in a time when the word of the Lord was precious, and there was no open vision, as it was afterwards, 1 Samuel 3:1.
i.e. Endowed him with all those graces and gifts of mind and body which were necessary for the work he was designed for.
To move him at times, i.e. to stir him up to heroical designs; to show forth his power in him in the frame of his mind, and in the strength of his body, discovered to his neighbours in extraordinary actions; to incline his heart to great attempts to the help and deliverance of God’s people; and to give some essays of it to his brethren, and to seek all opportunities for it, as he did in the next chapter.
In the camp of Dan; a place so called, either from the expedition of the Danites, Jude 18:11,12; which though placed after this history, was done before it; or from some other camp which the Danites had formed there at this time, to give some check to the incursions of the Philistines.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Judges 13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
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