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Judges – Lesson 17 

Judges Chapter 13:1-25



For background, you remember that in chapter 12, we saw God raise up several more of the minor judges after Jephthah including Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon.  This week, we cover the Seventh apostasy and servitude and get into the story of Samson. 

I.                   The Seventh Apostasy and Servitude 

Judg 13:1  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. 

History repeats itself again and again as the children of Israel fall back from serving the Lord.  We need to be thankful that God did not turn His back on them in their rebellion, giving us confidence that when we fail God and sin, we can still come back and be reconciled when we repent and seek forgiveness.  We do need to always remember that sin has a price, and our failures may affect our lives in a way that can never be corrected.   Our testimony and reflection of Jesus Christ to the lost in the world should compel us to live a dedicated and consecrated life.   This would be the 7th time that Israel did evil in God’s sight, and again the enemy is permitted to conquer them.   God help us to realize that bondage comes when we sin.   Jesus said that he has come to set us free from bondage. 

John 8:34  Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

John 8:35  And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.

John 8:36  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 

John 10:9  I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

John 10:10  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

John 10:11  I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 

We find that the bondage that Israel falls under this time is from the Philistines, and it did not quickly go away.  For 40 long years, the Philistines ruled over God’s people.  They were stiff necked people, and they never learned from the past experiences.   God help us to use these experiences to improve our lives and not have to make all the mistakes on our own.


II.  The Parents of Samson  

Judg 13:2  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.

Judg 13:3  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 story of Samson begins with a sacred record giving a detailed account of a supernatural announcement of his birth.   No other judge had any mention of his birth before Samson, with the exception of the story of the illegitimate birth of Jephthah.  This perhaps was a typification of a much greater judge that would be announced to a certain young lady many years later.  Remember when the angel Gabriel came to Mary in Nazareth. 

Luke 1:26  And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

Luke 1:27  To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

Luke 1:28  And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

Luke 1:29  And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

Luke 1:30  And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

Luke 1:31  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

Luke 1:32  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 

Samson’s parents lived in the city of Zorah, near the dividing line between Philistine and Israelite territory.  They were Danites, which means that their ancestors had not moved in the earlier migration to Laish.  To Manoah’s wife, the angel of the Lord announced that though she was barren, she would now have a son. 

Judg 13:4  Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:

Judg 13:5  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. 

Samson’s mother is given instructions before he is ever born as to what he was to eat or drink.  And she was also not to drink wine or strong drink during her pregnancy.   I would like to say that it would be wise for all of us to stay away from wine and strong drink.  So many look at the first miracle of Jesus and say that if Jesus turned the water into wine, how can it be wrong to partake of alcoholic beverages.  But as anyone who has ever been in the far east can tell you, in those nations, the term wine can be used to mean more that one kind of “fruit of the vine.”  For our Lord to have turned the water into fermented wine, would have contradicted earlier scripture that warns against the drinking of fermented wine.  And the Bible does not contradict itself.  The wine that Jesus created on that day was pure wine, juice from the grapes, not an alcoholic drink.   Here are a couple of verses that substantiate the teachings to stay away from strong drink. 

Prov 23:31  Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.

Prov 23:32  At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. 

Prov 20:1  Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. 

Rom 14:21  It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

Rom 14:22  Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. 

The reason that Samson was to follow this strict diet was due to him being a consecrated Nazarite unto God.  The angel tells her that afterwards, Samson would deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines.   Only God could know that a child, even before it was born, would be the very one to be the great Judge to deliver His people. 

There were rules given as to how Nazarites were to eat and live. 

Num 6:1  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

Num 6:2  Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD:

Num 6:3  He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.

Num 6:4  All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.

Num 6:5  All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.

Num 6:6  All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body.

Num 6:7  He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head.

Num 6:8  All the days of his separation he is holy unto the LORD. 

Normally this was a form of life entered into for a short time.  The person performing the vow of a Nazarite would drink no strong drink, consume nothing made from the product of the vine, refrain from cutting his hair, and never come near a dead body.   For Samson, this was a lifelong vow.  For a long as he lived, Samson was to be a living miracle.  You and I should be so concerned about our walk with the Lord that we would do everything possible to have God receive honor and glory from our lives. 

1 Pet 1:6  Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

1 Pet 1:7  That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

1 Pet 1:8  Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 

1 Cor 10:31  Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 

God extended to Samson a high privilege, but at the same time, it was a heavy responsibility.  That is much like the dedicated walk of a Christian.  The yoke is light, but God wants us in the harness pulling our share of the burden.   Jesus will carry the blunt of the load, but he wants us to be walking in that same pathway, following those same footsteps of our Lord.   Samson was to use his unique gift only for the glory of God. 

J. Vernon McGee said this about Samson. 

Before Samson was born, God marked him out. God raised him up to perform a gigantic task: he was to deliver Israel. The people of Israel were in a bad way because God had delivered them into the hands of the Philistines.

The angel of the Lord that appeared to the mother of Samson told her what her son was to be—a Nazarite. You will recall that back in the Book of Numbers we are told what constituted a Nazarite vow. It was threefold: (1) He was not to touch strong drink or use grapes in any form. Why? Because wine is a symbol in the Scriptures of earthly joy. It is to cheer the heart. The Nazarite was to find his joy in the Lord. Ephesians 5:18 says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” If we want to please Christ, we, too, are to find our joy in Him. In fact, joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit—“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22–23). Joy is one of the fruits the Holy Spirit wants to produce in your life and mine. (2) A Nazarite was not to cut his hair. Now what does that mean? In 1 Corinthians 11:14 Paul says, “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?” The Scripture says that long hair dishonors a man. A Nazarite, however, would be willing to bear the shame of long hair, and that is the reason a razor was not to touch his head. (3) He was not to go near a dead body. There were to be no natural claims upon him. He had to put God first, above his relatives and loved ones. The Lord Jesus said in Luke 14:26–27, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” This simply means that we cannot put anything before Christ. This is something that we have lost sight of today.

Samson was a Nazarite. He was God’s man, and that was the secret of the success he had. He was raised up for a great purpose, and his success was in God. Unfortunately he never succeeded in performing his God-appointed task. Did you notice what verse 5 said? Samson began to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines. Success knocked at his door. He was a beginner, not a finisher. He began to deliver Israel, but he never finished the task.   [1] 

Judg 13:6  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:

Judg 13:7  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.

Judg 13:8  Then Manoah entreated 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.

Judg 13:9  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.

Judg 13:10  And the woman made haste, and ran, and showed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day.

Judg 13:11  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.

Judg 13:12  And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him? 

Manoah puts forth an improper question to the angel.  His wish was to have the “man of God” permitted to return which was an improper desire on his part.  He should have just accepted the directions, and patiently waited on the Lord.  But he wants the “man of God” to totally explain each thing in great detail.  Manoah said “What will be the manner of the child and what will we do for him?”  God would give these answers in due time if he would have waited.     

Judg 13:13  And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware.

Judg 13:14  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.

Judg 13:15  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.

Judg 13:16  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. 

Manoah knew not that this was an angel of the Lord.  One of the oddest things we find about angels is that all pictures seem to depict them in forms that look like a female, yet all are addressed in the masculine term.  Perhaps angels are not like humans at all, because we know that there will be no husbands and wives in heaven as we are here on earth based upon Jesus’ teachings.  But this angel told Manoah that even if he detained him, he would not eat with him. 

Judg 13:17  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?

Judg 13:18  And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret? 

Manoah had good intentions at heart, and intended to do something like give a burnt offering unto the angel to honor him.  But the angel corrected him, and told them that all honor was to go to God.   

Judg 13:19  So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wonderously; and Manoah and his wife looked on.

Judg 13:20  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. 

They prepare a burnt offering of a goat, and offer it unto the Lord.  And while this was done, the angel did a wondrous thing as Manoah and his wife looked on.  It says in verse 20, that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar.  This caused great fear to come unto them, as they fell on their faces to the ground.  It is a serious thing to be involved in the worship of the Lord, and I think that when we fear the Lord properly, we will realize what an honor it is to be able to partake in worshipping the Heavenly Father. 

Judg 13:21  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.

Judg 13:22  And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. 

The angel of God leaves and comes no more to Manoah and his wife.  It was a great happening in their lives, and Manoah states that he knew that it was an angel of the Lord.   I believe in every believer’s life, there are times when you and I know that God has come to us and done certain things for us.  The first is when we accept Christ as Savior.  In Romans, it speaks of how His Spirit beareth witness with our spirit that we are the Sons of God.   So God does, through the Holy Spirit, direct and help us in our daily lives.  They are fearful for their lives, being afraid that it perhaps was God Himself who came unto them.  They did not die, but were greatly blessed by this angelic visit.   When God comes to us, we are always greatly blessed.  Even during the times of greatest trial, God is there to uplift and support us. 

1 Pet 4:12  Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

1 Pet 4:13  But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.


God warns us that a fiery trial is coming one day… not if, but which is to try you.  But God will stand by us in that day, just like God was with Christ through his temptations and ultimate death on the cross. 

Judg 13:23  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 showed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these. 

His wife makes some good statements that made sense.  She says that if the Lord was pleased to kill them, why would He have accepted the burnt offering… why would he have showed them all the things that were to come to pass… all the things that they were to do to this son that was to come into their lives.


III.              The Birth of Samson 

Judg 13:24  And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.

Judg 13:25  And the spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol. 

The promise that the couple received from the angel of the Lord comes to pass just as it was told to them.  Thank the Lord, God never breaks His promises.  If we promise to come over and help someone, we may or may not show up.  But if God says He will do something, you can put it down in concrete.  It is going to happen.  Thousands of promises are in the Word of God, and some were broken.  But every one was a promise man made to man or to God.  EVERY PROMISE THAT GOD HAS MADE HAS COME TO PASS OR SOON WILL COME TO PASS.  Praise the Lord for his faithfulness.   

Josh 23:14  And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof

Joshua told them that not one thing had failed to come to pass that God had promised, and you and I will have to admit the same in our lives.   

When the son was born, the mother called him Samson.  We are not told if this name was told to them by the angel.   Samson was apparently a healthy child and he grew.  The Lord blessed him in his life.  No one can ask for more than to be blessed of the Lord.   As he grew, verse 25 says that the Spirit of the Lord began to move him.  In the Old Testament, believers did not have the Holy Spirit inside them all the time like we do today when we accept Christ as our Savior.  God would still use the Spirit in those days to lead them and plan their life. 

Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit is the one that dwells within us today. 

1 Cor 6:19  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?


Samson lived in the vicinity of Zorah and Eshtaol.  It was the area that the Philistines made their presence of oppression know.  Next week, we will see the things that happened to Samson as an adult before he is used to deliver Israel from the Philistines.


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.





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[1]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.