Judges 13

The Birth of Samson

1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.
2 A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth.
3 The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son.
4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean.
5 You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”
6 Then the woman went to her husband and told him, “A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name.
7 But he said to me, ‘You will become pregnant and have a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from the womb until the day of his death.’ ”
8 Then Manoah prayed to the LORD: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.”
9 God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her.
10 The woman hurried to tell her husband, “He’s here! The man who appeared to me the other day!”
11 Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the man who talked to my wife?” “I am,” he said.
12 So Manoah asked him, “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that governs the boy’s life and work?”
13 The angel of the LORD answered, “Your wife must do all that I have told her.
14 She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her.”
15 Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.”
16 The angel of the LORD replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the LORD.” (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the LORD.)
17 Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the LORD, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?”
18 He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.[a]
19 Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the LORD. And the LORD did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched:
20 As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground.
21 When the angel of the LORD did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the LORD.
22 “We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!”
23 But his wife answered, “If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.”
24 The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the LORD blessed him,
25 and the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah 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 43

  • 1. S Judges 3:31; Judges 2:11; 1 Samuel 12:9
  • 2. Judges 14:4
  • 3. S Joshua 15:33; Joshua 19:41
  • 4. ver 8; Judges 16:31
  • 5. S Genesis 30:6
  • 6. S Genesis 11:30
  • 7. S Genesis 16:7; ver 6,8; Judges 6:12
  • 8. ver 10
  • 9. Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:13
  • 10. S Leviticus 10:9
  • 11. ver 14; Numbers 6:2-4; S Luke 1:15
  • 12. S Genesis 3:15
  • 13. Numbers 6:5; 1 Samuel 1:11
  • 14. S Numbers 6:2,13; Amos 2:11,12
  • 15. 1 Samuel 7:13
  • 16. ver 8; 1 Samuel 2:27; 1 Samuel 9:6; 1 Kings 13:1; 1 Kings 17:18
  • 17. S Numbers 22:22; ver 17-18; Matthew 28:3
  • 18. Psalms 66:5
  • 19. Jeremiah 35:6
  • 20. Leviticus 10:9
  • 21. 1 Samuel 1:11,28
  • 22. S ver 2
  • 23. S ver 6
  • 24. ver 3
  • 25. Leviticus 10:9; Numbers 6:4
  • 26. S ver 4
  • 27. ver 3; Judges 6:19
  • 28. S Judges 11:31; Judges 6:20
  • 29. S Judges 6:22
  • 30. S Genesis 32:29
  • 31. S Genesis 32:29; Isaiah 9:6
  • 32. Judges 6:20
  • 33. S Leviticus 9:24
  • 34. S Genesis 17:3; 1 Chronicles 21:16; Ezekiel 1:28; Matthew 17:6
  • 35. ver 16; S Judges 6:22
  • 36. S Numbers 17:12; S Deuteronomy 5:26
  • 37. S Genesis 16:13; Genesis 32:30; S Exodus 3:6; S Exodus 24:10; S Judges 6:22
  • 38. Psalms 25:14
  • 39. Judges 14:1; Judges 15:1; Judges 16:1; Hebrews 11:32
  • 40. 1 Samuel 2:21,26; 1 Samuel 3:19
  • 41. Luke 1:80
  • 42. S Judges 3:10
  • 43. Judges 18:12

Footnotes 1

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