1 And the [Bnei Yisroel] did evil [harah] again in the sight of Yahweh; and Yahweh delivered them into the hand [yad] of the Philistines [Pelishtim] 40 years [arba'im shanah.].
2 And there was a certain man [ish] of [Tzorah], of the family of the Danites [mishpakhat HaDanai], whose name was [Manoach]; and his wife [isha] was barren, and bare not.
Israel having been a long time in bitter servitude to the Philistines, the time had arrived when God would deliver them. The angel of Yahweh appeared to the wife of Manoah, of the family of the Danites, in Zorah, and informed her of the coming birth of Samson, for this purpose, and of the need for bringing him up as a Nazarite. The woman, without knowing the nature of her visitor, described him to her husband as "a man of God (with) countenance like the countenance of an angel of God-very terrible" (Judges 13: 6).
Manoah entreated Yahweh that the man might return to them to instruct them how to bring up the child that should be born. Manoah's request was granted, and the angel returned and repeated the message, with instructions how the mother was to treat herself. Manoah, who "knew not that he was an angel of Yahweh," asked the man's name, and pressed him to accept their hospitality. The angel declined on both points, but consented to remain while Manoah offered an offering to Yahweh.
"And Manoah took a kid with a meat offering and offered it upon a rock unto Yahweh. And the angel did wondrously. And Manoah and his wife looked on. For it came to pass when the flame went up toward heaven that the angel of Yahweh ascended in the flame of the altar. . . . Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of Yahweh" (Judges 13: 19-21).
Afterwards came the birth of Samson, who was tended, in accordance with the angel's instructions, with all the scrupulous care which such a prelude to his birth would generate.
When Samson was grown to manhood, he evinced a super-natural strength which enabled him single-handed to work his will upon the enemies of Israel, and finally to deliver his people. The record of his exploits is a record of miracle, in so far as his great strength was miraculous; but in so far as those exploits were natural to great strength, the narrative need not particularly engage our attention.
Suffice it, that the whole episode was one of many instrumentalities by which the feeble and struggling nationality of Israel was divinely kept alive in the midst of unfriendly surroundings, which, left to themselves, would have destroyed it from the earth, as in the case of all other nationalities of that time.
The miraculous was a necessary element occasionally brought to bear in the process by which this result was achieved. The agencies employed were in the main natural, but, in the right manipulation of these, the visible hand was necessary at certain points, and the time of Samson was one of these.
Visible Hand of God Ch 21
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 Elohim from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.
For commentary on the Nazarite vow see Num 6.
A special forerunner and a Nazarite vow
The work of Samuel, Hannah's son, had been preceded by another, in whom the Spirit of the Lord would also be seen. Samson was a special child, marked out by God for a special role. His mother and father received an angelic visitation concerning the birth of the child, made more memorable by the fact that the woman was barren and bare not, the studied superfluity of the record emphasising what pain her barrenness had caused. 1
Imagine then, what cause there was for rejoicing when the angel warned her to abstain from wine and strong drink, in preparation for the birth of a son who would be a Nazarite unto God from the womb. 2 From the moment of his birth, this child was set to begin a work that someone else would complete. 3 From childhood, he grew under the divine care, until the spirit of God moved him in the camp. 4
Like Manoah's wife, Elizabeth, the wife of Zacharias was barren, and furthermore, she was well stricken in years. It was because of her impediment that they had no child, 5 and this couple knew the same sadness as Manoah and his wife. But they were also to know the same joy, as they received an angelic assurance of the birth of their son - John.
Like the story of Samson, the matter of abstention from wine and strong drink was referred to, but this time the restriction would lie upon the child rather than the mother. And like Samson, who was to be a Nazarite from the womb, John was to be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 6
The spirit of Nazarite dedication could not be clearer. Like Samson, John's early childhood was overshadowed by God, as he waxed strong in the spirit. 7 And like Samson, John would begin a work, which would be completed by another. 8 How marvellous that the gospel record should begin with the story of a mother and a son who came before Mary and her son. In John and his mother who preceded Jesus, was seen again the story of Samson and his mother who preceded Samuel.
1. Judges 13:2.
2 Judges 13:3-5.
3 Notice the import of the phrase, "he shall begin to deliver Israel" (Judges 13:5).
What Samson began, was in fact completed by Samuel (1 Samuel 7:10-13). Samson became the harbinger of Samuel.
4, Judges 13:24,25.
5 Luke 1:7. 6 Luke 1:15.
7 Luke 1:80.
8 The terms, "he shall go before him", "to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Luke 1:17) echo the spirit of Sarnson's labours. John became the forerunner of Jesus.
Bro Roger Lewis - Hannah Handmaid of the Highest Ch 8
The Samson Option...
The US war with Iraq...
''General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the American commander, eventually acknowledged that Iraq could have as many as fifteen battalions of launchers, each supplied with fifteen Scuds- a total of 225 missiles.
There was another element involved in those first hours, not known to the public but detected by an American satellite making its ninety-six-minute orbit around the earth.
The satellite saw that Shamir had responded to the Scud barrage by ordering mobile missile launchers armed with nuclear weapons moved into the open and deployed facing Iraq, ready to launch on command. American intelligence picked up other signs indicating that Israel had gone on a full-scale nuclear alert that would remain in effect for weeks.
No one in the Bush administration knew just what Israel would do if a Scud armed with nerve gas struck a crowded apartment building, killing thousands. All George Bush could offer Shamir, besides money and more batteries of Patriot missiles, was American assurance that the Iraqi Scud launcher sites would be made a priority target of the air war.
Such guarantees meant little; no Jews had been killed by poison gas since Treblinka and Auschwitz, and Israel, after all, had built its bomb so it would never have to depend on the goodwill of others when the lives of Jews were being threatened.
The escalation didn't happen, however; the conventionally armed Scud warheads caused-amazingly-minimal casualties, and military and financial commitments from the Bush administration rolled in.
The government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir received international plaudits for its restraint.