The Period Of The Judges

 Chapter 65
Birth and Inspiration of Samson [Judges 13.24, 25]

 

Scripture (KJV) Judges 13:24, 25

24 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.
25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.


Commentary

These final two verses make six assertions about Samson, giving, "His birth, his sex, his name, his growth, his divine blessing, and the fact of God's Spirit moving within him."

24 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.--Judges 13:24 (KJV)
24 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and Jehovah blessed him.—Judges 13:24 (ASV)

And the woman bare a son, and called name Samson…After these [1]appearances were over, Manoah and his wife returned to their home, and she soon became pregnant, and after the usual course of time her son was born, and she gave him the name of Samson, which means “strong man” or “sun-man” or “Sunny.” The birth of this child of promise to an infertile woman, the unique announcement of his birth by an angel, and the report of the important national services he was to perform, must, from the first, have made him an object of peculiar interest to his family and all those familiar with his story. The date of his birth is believed to be B.C.1155. The woman chosen for Samson’s mother was a truly remarkable person, and it would have been wonderful if the Lord had revealed the name of this great woman, but for reasons unknown to us she was continually mentioned as "the woman."

Samson’s birth is unusual for yet another reason; that a woman who had been barren for a long time gave birth to a son, according to the promise made by the Lord Jesus Christ, who appeared as an Angel. It is a reminder to us that no word of God will fall to the ground.  What He has spoken, he will make good. God had promised "a son"; and "a son" was born.  It is not sure why she picked that name; Samson. However, Josephus says the word signifies "strong." She may have given him that name when he was born a strong robust child, which is not unlikely, or the woman might have received some prophetic hint of his future strength, and so gave him this name. But the name does not carry with it the notion of strength; rather it signifies the sun, which is indeed a strong body, and is likened to a strong man running a race, and so a strong man may be compared to the sun; therefore, this name might have been given him to signify great strength (strong like the sun). Another explanation that has been advanced is that he was given this name in commemoration of the shining countenance of the angel which brought the tidings of his birth, or because he was to be the instrument for dispelling the darkness of misfortune and distress Israel was now in. But the word more appropriately signifies a minister or servant, from where the sun got its name; for Samson was to be a minister and servant of God, and of his people Israel. Samson is a type of Christ, but there are both agreements and disagreements between them. Christ is the mighty God, and mighty Savior, the sun of righteousness, the light of the world, and the deliverer of his people from the darkness of calamity and distress; and who came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and perform the great service of redemption and salvation.

His name, Samson, so some believe, was derived from Shemesh, the sun, turned into a diminutive, sol exiguus--the sun in miniature, perhaps because, being born like Moses to be a deliverer, he was like him in one respect; as was mentioned before, he was extremely fair, his face shone like a little sun; or perhaps his parents named him in remembrance of the shining countenance of that man of God who brought them the notice of his birth. They had not decided what to name him, but now that his prophetic words had come to pass, they did him this honor. Samson means “a little sun,” a fitting name for one born a Nazarite (for the Nazarites were as rubies and sapphires, [2]Lamentations 4:7. The sun is compared to a strong man in [3]Psalms 19:5); then why not compare a strong man to the sun when he goes about in his strength? A little sun, because he is a light to his people Israel, a type of Christ, the Sun of righteousness. The original word is shimshon, which is from the root shamash, to serve, (hence shemesh, the sun,) probably means either a little sun, or a little servant; and the latter is a name that is likely to be imposed on an only son, by maternal love, that it leaves but little doubt of the correctness of the derivation of the word. Samson is a Hebrew name, but it was also a perfectly good Canaanite name. Many foreign personal names were assumed by Hebrews.

and the child grew,…and grew up to man's standing, [4](Luke 2:40,52). He grew more than is usual in strength and stature, and he far out-grew other children of his age; and not only that, since it appeared that the Lord blessed him, and qualified him, both in body and mind, for something great and extraordinary.

and the Lord [5]blessed him;…not only with extraordinary strength, but with exceptional intelligence, with the presence of the Holy Spirit; and with His gracious presence; with this compare [6](Psalms 21:3,6) [7](Ephesians 1:3). These were evident proofs that the child was under the peculiar personal protection of the Most High.

Article 13.6: Samson
Samson was granted supernatural strength by God in order to combat his enemies and perform heroic feats such as wrestling a lion, slaying an entire army with only the jawbone of an ass, and destroying a pagan temple.

Samson is believed to have been buried in Tel Tzora in Israel overlooking the Sorek valley. There reside two large gravestones of Samson and his father Manoah. Nearby stands Manoah’s altar (Judges 13:19-24). It is located between the cities of Zorah and Eshtaol.

Samson's activity takes place during a time when God was punishing the Israelites, by giving them "into the hand of the Philistines". An angel appears to Manoah, an Israelite from the tribe of Dan, in the city of Zorah, and to his wife, who had been unable to conceive. This angel proclaims that the couple will soon have a son who will begin to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines. The wife believed the angel, but her husband wasn't present, at first, and wanted the heavenly messenger to return, asking that he himself could also receive instruction about the child that was going to be born.

Requirements were set up by the angel that Manoah's wife (as well as the child) were to abstain from all alcoholic beverages, and her promised child was not to shave or cut his hair. He was to be a "Nazirite" from birth. In ancient Israel, those wanting to be especially dedicated to God for a while could take a nazarite vow, which included things like the aforementioned as well as other stipulations. After the angel returned, Manoah soon prepared a sacrifice, but the Messenger would only allow it to be for God, touching his staff to it, miraculously engulfing it in flames. The angel then ascended up into the sky in the fire. This was such dramatic evidence as to the nature of the messenger, that Manoah feared for his life, as it has been said that no-one can live after seeing God; however, his wife soon convinced him that if God planned to slay them, he would never have revealed such things to them to begin with. In due time the son, Samson, is born; he is reared according to these provisions.

When he becomes a young adult, Samson leaves the hills of his people to see the cities of the Philistines. While there, Samson falls in love with a Philistine woman from Timnah whom he decides to marry, overcoming the objections of his parents who do not know that "it is of the Lord". The intended marriage is actually part of God's plan to strike at the Philistines. On the way to ask for the woman's hand in marriage, Samson is attacked by an Asiatic Lion and simply grabs it and rips it apart, as the spirit of God moves upon him, divinely empowering him. This so profoundly affects Samson that he just keeps it to himself as a secret. He continues on to the Philistine's house, winning her hand in marriage. On his way to the wedding, Samson notices that bees have nested in the carcass of the lion and have made honey. He eats a handful of the honey and gives some to his parents. At the wedding-feast, Samson proposes that he tell a riddle to his thirty groomsmen (all Philistines); if they can solve it, he will give them thirty pieces of fine linen and garments. The riddle ("Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet") is a veiled account of his second encounter with the lion (at which only he was present). The Philistines are infuriated by the riddle. The thirty groomsmen tell Samson's new wife that they will burn her and her father's house if she does not discover the answer to the riddle and tell it to them. At the urgent and tearful imploring of his bride, Samson tells her the solution, and she tells it to the thirty groomsmen.

Before sunset on the seventh day they said to him,
"What is sweeter than honey?
and what is stronger than a lion?"
Samson said to them,
"If you had not plowed with my heifer,
you would not have solved my riddle."

He flies into a rage and kills thirty Philistines of Ashkelon for their garments, which he gives his thirty groomsmen. Still in a rage, he returns to his father's house and his bride is given to the best man as his wife. Her father refuses to allow him to see her and wishes to give Samson the younger sister. Samson attaches torches to the tails of three hundred foxes, leaving the panicked beasts to run through the fields of the Philistines, burning all in their wake. The Philistines find out why Samson burned their crops and they burn Samson's wife and father-in-law to death. In revenge, Samson slaughters many more Philistines, smiting them "hip and thigh".

Samson then takes refuge in a cave in the rock of Etam. An army of Philistines went up and demanded from 3000 men of Judah to deliver them Samson. With Samson's consent, they tie him with two new ropes and are about to hand him over to the Philistines when he breaks free. Using the jawbone of an ass, he slays one thousand Philistines. At the conclusion of Judges 15 it is said that "Samson led Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines".

Later, Samson goes to Gaza, where he stays at a harlot's house. His enemies wait at the gate of the city to ambush him, but he rips the gate up and carries it to "the hill that is in front of Hebron".

He then falls in love with a woman, Delilah, at the Brook of Sorek. The Philistines approach Delilah and induce her (with 1100 silver coins each) to try to find the secret of Samson's strength. Samson, not wanting to reveal the secret, teases her, telling her that he will lose his strength should he be bound with fresh bowstrings. She does so while he sleeps, but when he wakes up he snaps the strings. She persists, and he tells her he can be bound with new ropes. She ties him up with new ropes while he sleeps, and he snaps them, too. She asks again, and he says he can be bound if his locks are woven together. She weaves them together, but he undoes them when he wakes. Eventually Samson tells Delilah that he will lose his strength with the loss of his hair. Delilah calls for a servant to shave Samson's seven locks. Since that breaks the Nazarite oath, God leaves him, and Samson is captured by the Philistines, who stab out his eyes with their swords. After being blinded, Samson is brought to Gaza, imprisoned, and put to work grinding grain.

One day the Philistine leaders assemble in a temple for a religious sacrifice to Dagon, one of their most important deities, for having delivered Samson into their hands. They summon Samson so that people can gather on the roof to watch. Once inside the temple, Samson, his hair having grown long again, asks the servant who is leading him to the temple's central pillars if he may lean against them (referring to the pillars).

"Then Samson prayed to God, "remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes" (Judges 16:28)". "Samson said, 'Let me die with the Philistines!' (Judges 16:30) He pulled the two pillars together, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more as he died than while he lived." (Judges 16:30).

After his death, Samson's family recovers his body from the rubble and buries him near the tomb of his father Manoah.

The fate of Delilah is never mentioned.

 

_____________________________verse 24 notes_______________________________

[1]appearances: Two appearances by the Angel of the lord are recorded earlier in Judges 13. The first time he appeared, it was to Manoah’s wife only; the second time he appeared to Manoah and his wife. Both times, the messenger was the Angel of the Lord; the Lord Jesus Christ.
[2](Lamentations 4:7; KJV) Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire:
[3](Psalms 19:5; ASV) Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoiceth as a strong man to run his course. The sun, as the most glorious heavenly body, is specially used to illustrate the sentiment; and his vigorous, cheerful, daily, and extensive course, and his reviving heat (including light), well display the wondrous wisdom of his Maker.—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
[4](Luke 2:40, 52; NLT) There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him… Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people. Verse 40. His mental development kept pace with His bodily, and "the grace of God," the divine favor, rested manifestly and increasingly upon Him—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
[5]blessed him…That is, endowed him with all those graces and gifts of mind and body which were necessary to sustain an extraordinary person.
[6](Psalms 21:3, 6; KJV) For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head… For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.
[7](Ephesians 1:3; ASV). Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ:

 

25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.—Judges 13:16 (KJV)
25 And the Spirit of Jehovah began to move him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol. Judges 13:25 (ASV)

And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan…probably not as it moved the prophets, who were charged with an inspired message, but kindling in his youthful bosom a spirit of high and devoted patriotism. When he grew up a little [8]the Spirit of the Lord began [9]to move him. This was evidence that the Lord blessed him. Where God gives his blessing he gives his Spirit to qualify the person for the blessing. Those are blessed indeed in whom the Spirit of grace begins to work in their lives while they are children. He felt the degrading bondage of his countrymen, and a strong desire to accomplish something for their deliverance. These feelings and emotions he had were from the Divine Spirit. If the Spirit be poured out upon our offspring, they will spring up as willows by the water courses, Isaiah 44:3, 4. The Spirit of God moved Samson while he was in the [10]camp of Dan, that is, in the general assembly of the trained bands of that tribe, who probably had formed a camp between Zorah and Eshtaol, near the place where he lived. The reason they came together was to oppose the incursions made by the Philistines. There Samson, when he was a child, appeared among them, and distinguished himself by some very brave actions, excelling them all in manly exercises and trials of strength: and probably he showed himself more than ordinarily zealous against the enemies of his country, and discovered he had more of a public spirit than could be expected in a child. The Spirit moved him at times, but not all the time; however, when it happened it showed that what he did was not from him; if it was he could have done it at any time, and act proud and boastful.

Strong men may be greatly stimulated by wine [11](Psalms 78:65), but Samson didn’t drink wine, and yet he excelled in strength and courage, and everything that was bold and brave, for he had the Spirit of God moving him. There is a message here for us, “therefore be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit, who will come to those that are sober and reasonable. And so, the childhood exploits of Samson served to impress upon the minds of others the great things Samson would do for their nation in the future. But in the present, he would continue to do strange and wonderful things only when he was moved to do so by the urging of the Holy Spirit, and the strength  he infected him with on those occasions; so the Targum states;
“and the Spirit of strength from the Lord began to strengthen him.”

The Holy Spirit, of course, is the source of the great strength we will be observed in Samson later. We usually think of Samson as a man with huge, rippling muscles; but others couldn't figure out why he was so strong, so he must not have looked very strong. It was the Spirit of God who made him strong. Great strength was necessary for the work he was designed for. It was the operation of the Spirit of God within him, which took possession of him suddenly, and impelled him to put forth supernatural powers.

between [17]Zorah and [18]Eshtaol; which were two cities in the tribe of Dan, and upon the borders of the tribe of Judah; see [12](Joshua 15:33) and [13](Judges19:40, 41). It may be appropriate, that since the tribe of Dan was situated in close proximity to the Philistines, and so they were likely to be subjected to their ravages, and might be oppressed by them, so a deliverer of Israel was raised up in this tribe.

Mahaneh-dan, the camp of Dan, was the name given to the district in which the Danites who emigrated, according to [14]Judges 18:12, from the land their tribe inherited, to this new district, located to the west of, Kirjath-jearim, or according to this verse, between Zorea and Eshtaol. It was there that Samson lived with his parents, judging from [15]Judges 16:31.

The location of Mahaneh-dan cannot be determined precisely, since the location of Eshtaol itself has not yet been discovered (see at [12]Joshua 15:33). It was there that Samson lived with his parents, judging from [15]Judges 16:31 and [16]Judges 13:2. As he had these influences between Zorah and Eshtaol, it is evident that this was while he dwelt at home with his parents; for Zorah was the place where his father dwelt. Thus God began, from his infancy, to qualify him for the work to which he had called him.

The meaning of this verse, which forms the introduction to the following account of the acts of Samson, is simply that Samson was there seized by the Spirit of Jehovah, and impelled to commence the conflict with the Philistines.


___________________________verse 25 notes_____________________________________

[8]the Spirit of the Lord: The compulsion of the Spirit of the Lord perhaps took the shape of burning indignation at the hopelessness of his brethren, and thoughts and plans for their deliverance, but especially showed themselves in feats of strength. Just one example of his awesome strength is found in Judges 14.69(NLT): “At that moment the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon him, and he ripped the lion’s jaws apart with his bare hands. He did it as easily as if it were a young goat. But he didn’t tell his father or mother about it.”
[9]to move him: That is, to stir him up to heroical exploits; to show the Lord’s power in the astuteness of his mind, and in the strength of his body, exposed to his neighbors in extraordinary actions; to incline his heart to make great attempts to help and deliver God's people, and to speak of it to his brethren at every opportunity.
[10]This camp of Dan was either a camp formed within that tribe, to prevent the incursions of the Philistines; or rather, since it does not seem that Israel had strength enough to resist them, because  they controlled Israel and brought hard times to make their lives miserable. But it is more likely that this camp was located in a place called Mahanehdan near Kirjathjearim. The name Mahanehdan, came from the time when the Danites camped there, when on their way to besiege Laish; “And there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed with weapons of war. And they went up, and pitched in Kirjathjearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahanehdan unto this day: behold, it is behind Kirjathjearim” (Judges 18:11, 12; KJV). 
[11](Psalms 78:65; ASV) “Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, Like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine.”
[12](Joshua 15:33; NLT) The following towns situated in the western foothills were also given to Judah: Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah,
[13](Josh 19:40-41; NLT) The seventh allotment of land went to the clans of the tribe of Dan.
The land allocated as their homeland included the following towns: Zorah, Eshtaol, Ir-shemesh,
[14](Judges 18:12; ASV) And they went up, and encamped in Kiriath-jearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan, unto this day; behold, it is behind Kiriath-jearim.
[15](Judges 16:31; KJV) Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.
[16](Judges 13:2; ASV) And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not.
[17]ZORAH Zo'rah (hornet), a town in the allotment of the tribe of Dan, Josh 19:41 It is previously mentioned Josh 15:33 in the catalogue of Judah, among the places in the district of the Shefelah (Authorized Version "Zoreah"), It was the residence of Manoah and the native place of Samson. It is mentioned among the places fortified by Rehoboam. 2 Chr 11:10. It is perhaps identical with the modern village of Sur'ah.—Smith's Bible Dictionary
[18]ESHTAOL Esh'taol (a pass), a town in the low country—the Shefelah—of Judah, afterwards allotted to Dan. Josh 15:33; 19:41.  A free city. It, as well as Zorah, stood on the border between Judah and Dan. Here Samson spent his boyhood, and hither after his last exploit his body was brought. Judg 13:25; 16:31; 18:2, 8, 11, 12—Smith's Bible Dictionary

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