Chapter 13 brings us to the most famous of the judges, Samson. Unfortunately, his story is one of the most misunderstood by most people. His power came from God, and it left him because of his lack of self-control and unfaithfulness to the Lord, as we will see in the next three chapters. The angel of the Lord appeared first to Samson’s childless mother, and told her that she would have a son. and would be a Nazirite. Her husband Manoah showed his faithfulness first when instead of questioning what she said, prayed to God, wanting to have the opportunity to be instructed how to raise the child. When asked his name, the angel of the Lord replied that it was too wonderful for man to comprehend (verse 18).
Any man or woman could take a vow to become a Nazirite as told in Numbers 6. It was a vow to set ones self apart for God, and it came with certain restrictions, including no razor to the hair, no fruit from a vine, and no contact with the dead (corpses). After Samson was born, verses 24-25 relate that as the young man grew, the spirit of the Lord began to “stir him.” The Philistines were in control of the Israelites, and God would use Samson to stir the people as well. Clearly, they needed it.
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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