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