Judges 13

Listen to Judges 13

The Birth of Samson

1 And the people of Israel again 1did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, so the LORD gave them 2into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.
2 There was a certain man of 3Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. 4And his wife was barren and had no children.
3 5And the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, "Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son.
4 Therefore be careful 6and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean,
5 for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. 7No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be 8a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall 9begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines."
6 Then the woman came and told her husband, 10"A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. 11I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name,
7 but he said to me, 12'Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.'"
8 Then Manoah prayed to the LORD and said, "O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born."
9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field. But Manoah her husband was not with her.
10 So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, "Behold, the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me."
11 And Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the man and said to him, "Are you the man who spoke to this woman?" And he said, "I am."
12 And Manoah said, "Now when your words come true, 13what is to be the child's manner of life, and what is his mission?"
13 And the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, "Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful.
14 She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, 14neither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe."
15 Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, "Please let us detain you and 15prepare a young goat for you."
16 And the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, "If you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the LORD." (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the LORD.)
17 And Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, 16"What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?"
18 And the angel of the LORD said to him, 17"Why do you ask my name, seeing 18it is wonderful?"
19 So 19Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the LORD, to the one who works[a] wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching.
20 And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the LORD went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, 20and they fell on their faces to the ground.
21 The angel of the LORD appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. 21Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the LORD.
22 And Manoah said to his wife, 22"We shall surely die, for we have seen God."
23 But his wife said to him, "If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these."
24 And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. 23And the young man grew, and the LORD blessed him.
25 24And the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between 25Zorah and Eshtaol.

Judges 13 Commentary

Chapter 13

The Philistines, Samson announced. (1-7) The angel appears to Manoah. (8-14) Manoah's sacrifice. (15-23) Birth of Samson. (24,25)

Verses 1-7 Israel did evil: then God delivered them again into the hands of the Philistines. When Israel was in this distress, Samson was born. His parents had been long childless. Many eminent persons were born of such mothers. Mercies long waited for, often prove signal mercies; and by them others may be encouraged to continue their hope in God's mercy. The angel notices her affliction. God often sends comfort to his people very seasonably, when they feel their troubles most. This deliverer of Israel must be devoted to God. Manoah's wife was satisfied that the messenger was of God. She gave her husband a particular account, both of the promise and of the precept. Husbands and wives should tell each other their experiences of communion with God, and their improvements in acquaintance with him, that they may help each other in the way that is holy.

Verses 8-14 Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet, as Manoah, have believed. Good men are more careful and desirous to know the duty to be done by them, than to know the events concerning them: duty is ours, events are God's. God will guide those by his counsel, who desire to know their duty, and apply to him to teach them. Pious parents, especially, will beg Divine assistance. The angel repeats the directions he had before given. There is need of much care for the right ordering both of ourselves and our children, that we may be duly separate from the world, and living sacrifices to the Lord.

Verses 15-23 What Manoah asked for instruction in his duty, he was readily told; but what he asked to gratify his curiosity, was denied. God has in his word given full directions concerning our duty, but never designed to answer other questionings. There are secret things which belong not to us, of which we must be quite contented to be ignorant, while in this world. The name of our Lord is wonderful and secret; but by his wonderful works he makes himself known as far as is needful for us. Prayer is the ascent of the soul to God. But without Christ in the heart by faith, our services are offensive smoke; in him, acceptable flame. We may apply this to Christ's sacrifice of himself for us; he ascended in the flame of his own offering, for by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, ( Hebrews 9:12 ) . In Manoah's reflections there is great fear; We shall surely die. In his wife's reflection there is great faith. As a help meet for him, she encouraged him. Let believers who have had communion with God in the word and prayer, to whom he has graciously manifested himself, and who have had reason to think God has accepted their works, take encouragement from thence in a cloudy and dark day. God would not have done what he has done for my soul, if he had designed to forsake me, and leave me to perish at last; for his work is perfect. Learn to reason as Manoah's wife; If God designed me to perish under his wrath, he would not give me tokens of his favour.

Verses 24-25 The Spirit of the Lord began to move Samson when a youth. This was evidence that the Lord blessed him. Where God gives his blessing, he gives his Spirit to qualify for the blessing. Those are blessed indeed in whom the Spirit of grace begins to work in the days of their childhood. Samson drank no wine or strong drink, yet excelled in strength and courage, for he had the Spirit of God moving him; therefore be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.

Cross References 25

  • 1. See Judges 2:11
  • 2. [Judges 3:31; Judges 10:7; 1 Samuel 12:9]
  • 3. Joshua 19:41; [Joshua 15:33]
  • 4. [1 Samuel 1:2; Luke 1:7]
  • 5. Judges 6:12; Luke 1:11, 13
  • 6. ver. 7, 14; [Numbers 6:2, 3; Luke 1:15]
  • 7. Judges 16:17; 1 Samuel 1:11; [Numbers 6:5]
  • 8. [See ver. 4 above]
  • 9. [1 Samuel 7:13; 2 Samuel 8:1; 1 Chronicles 18:1]
  • 10. See Deuteronomy 33:1
  • 11. [ver. 17, 18]
  • 12. ver. 3-5
  • 13. [Luke 1:66]
  • 14. ver. 4, 7
  • 15. Judges 6:19; [Genesis 18:5-8]
  • 16. [ver. 6]
  • 17. Genesis 32:29
  • 18. [Isaiah 9:6]
  • 19. Judges 6:19-21
  • 20. Leviticus 9:24; 1 Chronicles 21:16; Ezekiel 1:28
  • 21. Judges 6:22
  • 22. [See ver. 21 above]
  • 23. 1 Samuel 2:21; 1 Samuel 3:19; Luke 1:80; [Luke 2:52]
  • 24. See Judges 3:10
  • 25. Judges 18:11; Joshua 15:33

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Septuagint, Vulgate; Hebrew Lord, and working

Chapter Summary


This chapter relates the birth of Samson, another of the judges of Israel, which was foretold by an angel to his mother, who told her husband of it, Jud 13:1-7 upon whose entreaty the angel appeared again, and related the same to them both, Jud 13:8-14 and who was very, respectfully treated by the man, and by the wonderful things he did was known by him to be an angel of the Lord, which greatly surprised him, Jud 13:15-23 and the chapter is closed with an account of the birth of Samson, and of his being early endowed with the Spirit of God, Jud 13:24,25.

Judges 13 Commentaries