Israel Serves the Philistines Forty
1. the Lord delivered them into the hand of the
Philistines forty years—The Israelites were represented
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 ascendency comprised forty years, reckoning from
the time of Elon till the death of Samson.
Jud 13:2-10. An Angel
Appears to Manoah's Wife.
2. Zorah—a Danite town (Jos 15:33) lying on the common boundary of Judah
and Dan, so that it was near the Philistine border.
3. 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.
5. thou shalt conceive, and bear a
son—This predicted child was to be a Nazarite. The mother
was, therefore, for the sake of her promised offspring, required to
practice the rigid abstinence of the Nazarite law (see on Nu 6:2).
he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand
of the Philistines—a prophecy encouraging to a patriotic man;
the terms of it, however, indicated that the period of deliverance was
still to be distant.
6-8. 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. This is a remarkable instance,
indicative of the connection which God has established between prayer
and the fulfilment of His promises.
Jud 13:11-14. The Angel
Appears to Manoah.
11. 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
Jud 13:15-23. Manoah's
15. Manoah said unto the angel …, I pray
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 [Jud 13:6].
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 (Jud 13:16),
but a prophet or merely human messenger. It was on this account, and
not as rejecting divine honors, that he spoke in this manner to Manoah.
The angel's language was exactly similar to that of our Lord (Mt 19:17).
17-20. Manoah said unto the angel …, What is
thy name?—Manoah's request elicited the most unequivocal
proofs of the divinity of his supernatural visitor—in his name
"secret" (in the Margin, "wonderful"), and in the miraculous
flame that betokened the acceptance of the sacrifice.
Jud 13:24, 25. Samson
24. 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 peculiar interest and careful
25. 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.
Eshtaol—the free city. It, as well as
Zorah, stood on the border between Judah and Dan.