Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty
years--The Israelites were represented
(Jud 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.
2. Zorah--a Danite town
lying on the common boundary of Judah and Dan, so that it was near the
3. the angel of the Lord--The messenger of the covenant, the divine
personage who made so many remarkable appearances of a similar kind
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
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.
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 believed.
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
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
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
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.
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 instruction.
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
Eshtaol--the free city. It, as well as Zorah, stood on the border
between Judah and Dan.