The Strange Case Of Samson Pt 1

Photo by Alexa Popovich:

Judges 13:8-10 Then Manoah entreated the Lord, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born. 9 And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day.

Last week we saw that God sent His Angel to the wife of Manoah to tell her she would have a child. Her child was to be special. The Angel told her that her child would be a “a Nazarite (see Numbers 6:2-8) unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5). Israel has failed God 11 times, so this time God will hold Israel into Philistine judgment for 40 years – similar to what God did with the first generation of Israel under Moses. Samson would start the process of freeing Israel from the Philistines. Another “Nazarite unto God from the womb” Samuel would continue the process. Then King David would take over, and the Philistines would be subdued. The Soniclight Commentary notes:

The Philistines continued to frustrate the Israelites until David subjugated them early in his reign (1004 B.C.; 2 Samuel 5:17-25). However, the Philistines continued to oppose the Israelites until the Babylonian Captivity removed both people groups from the land (Isaiah 14:29-32; Jeremiah 47; Ezekiel 25:15-17; Amos 1:6-8). The “land of the Philistines” became known as “Philistia.” The designation “Palestine” is a Greek word that derives from “Philistia.” The Roman emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-138) gave Canaan the name Palestine.”

It would not be a judge nor a king that would ultimately free Israel from Philistia, but the Assyrian Empire. In time, the Philistines would be absorbed into the Neo-Babylonian Empire.

When God told Manoah’s wife that she was going to have a special baby, she ran to tell her husband what the Angel told her. At that point Manoah prayed to God:

Judges 13:8-9 Then Manoah entreated the Lord, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born. 9 And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her.

Manoah seeks God in prayer. He wanted to know how to raise up this special child.

What is interesting about this is that “God hearkened to the voice of Manoah”, but God did NOT send the Angel to Manoah himself. Why?

I looked this up in various commentaries, and could find no answer. The commentaries I use just ignored this. Why did God send the Angel to Manoah’s wife, and not Manoah? I think the answer can be found in the name of “Samson” (Hebrew šimšôn, Assyrian Šamšânu), which means “Child of the Sun” or possibly “Child of the Light”. Among the Jews the husband, not the wife, named the child. Yet when we read to the end of this chapter we see:

Judges 13:24 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him.

When John the Baptist (also a Nazarite) was born, he was not named until Zechariah his father named him (Luke 1:63). Manoah’s wife, though we do not know her name, was strong in faith. God knew her name. Yet Manoah was weaker in faith – and perhaps, somewhat worldly if not outright lost. When Manoah prayed …

Manoah entreated the Lord {Yᵊhōvâ}, and said,
O my Lord {ăḏōnāy}

It is possible Manoah prayed just as many pray to God in our day. He knows the words, but has no real relationship with the Lord. The Bible makes it clear that it is the responsibility of the believing father to train his children in the faith. We are told …

Deuteronomy 4:9 … take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children …

Deuteronomy 6:7 {teach these laws} … diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Samson grows up with no genuine training in godliness from his father. This would show up in his adult life.

Though his parents would object, Samson would marry a Philistine woman contrary to the Word of God. Samson would take honey from the carcass of a lion – a violation of the Nazarite vow (Numbers 6:6). Samson would hire a prostitute, and fall in love with Delilah, another Philistine. Many of Samson’s sins and shortcomings can be traced to poor training in godliness from his father. When Manoah prays, God hears his prayer – but sends the Angel to Manoah’s believing wife.

Judges 13:10-14 And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day. 11 And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am. 12 And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him? 13 And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. 14 She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.

Manoah’s wife runs and brings her husband to the Angel of God. The Angel repeats what he told Manoah’s wife to him. Manoah does not understand that this is the Angel of the Lord, but thought this creature was just a Prophet. As such, Manoah offered to feed the “Man”:

Judges 13:15-16 And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee. 16 And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the Lord. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the Lord.

Manoah was offering hospitality to – he thought – a prophet of God. The Angel suggested that – instead of feeding him – that a burnt offering be made to God.

The Amazing Love Of God

Judges 13:17-18 And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honor? 18 And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?

Manoah wanted to know the “Prophet’s” name so he could honor him when little Samson was born. The Angel refused to give his name, saying that it is secret. The word translated “” is the Hebrew pil’î, which means “wonderful, remarkable”, unrecognizable because of its glory. The same Hebrew word is used in:

Psalm 139:5-6 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

The Hebrew means “to be so fantastic as to be above our concept”. If we cannot fully comprehend the name of an angel, how can we ever hope to comprehend God? The answer is, WE CANNOT! The Precepts Commentary notes:

Who can understand such a God—the God who wrote the 3-billion-letter software code in the DNA molecule of every human cell? Who can fully comprehend the God who knows everything, even our inner thoughts? Yet many Old Testament saints knew and loved this God. They experienced the joy of His grace and forgiveness, even though they didn’t completely understand how a holy God could forgive their sins.

As Christians, we too stand in awe before the majesty and mystery of an incomprehensible God. But we have a great advantage because we see Him revealed in Jesus, who said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). And when Jesus hung on the cross, He revealed God’s compassion and love, for He died there for us.”

Not knowing the Angel’s name, Manoah sets up a sacrifice for the Lord.:

Judges 13:19-21 So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the Lord: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. 21 But the angel of the Lord did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the Lord.

As the burnt offering is being made, the Angel rides the flame of the sacrifice to Heaven. It is only with this that Manoah realizes this was an angel of the Lord. As soon as Manoah and his wife see this they become frightened:

Judges 13:22-23 And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. 23 But his wife said unto him, If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.

Manasseh believed that by seeing this Angel – representing God – that he would die. When Moses wanted to see God’s face, God told him:

Exodus 33:20 … Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

Moses was not able to see God face to face in his own power. If a fallen human looks on God without God’s intervention, the very act can kill us. Yet the Bible tells us that Jacob saw God face to face at Peniel (Genesis 32:30). and Isaiah saw God in a vision (Isaiah 6:5) and lived. I believe the way to understand this is to view God through His Trinity. To see the Father face to face will kill us. But to see Jesus, the Manifest Member of the Godhead, will not kill you. We are told in:

1 Timothy 3:16 … without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Jesus Christ is “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Jesus told us, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). The Scripture declares:

Colossians 2:9 For in {Jesus} dwells all the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form … (my paraphrase)

This is why John the Revelator could see Jesus in Heaven and live. We read:

Revelation 1:17-18 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

When Manoah realized that he was seeing the Angel of the Lord, or God manifest in bodily form, he panicked! He said, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. But his wife – a woman of faith – brought him back to reality. She said, If the Lord were pleased to kill us – if God wanted to kill us – He would have done so before we offered Him the burnt offering. If God wanted us dead, He would have killed us before He told us all that He did. Our God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Praise God for His abundant Grace!

Samson – Though Flawed – Was Gifted Of God

Judges 13:25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to move {Samson} at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

The Holy Spirit began to move Samson about. Whatever Samson did, God either decreed, or allowed, for a greater purpose. The Enduring Word Commentary notes:

the Spirit of the LORD began to move upon Him: This is the source of the great strength we see 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. It is reasonable to think that he did not look very strong. Whether he looked strong or not, it was the Spirit of God who made him strong.”

The GIFTS and EMPOWERMENT of God are not talents that we can hone and build up. They are abilities that God Himself gives us for His glory. We are told in:

Romans 11:29 … the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

When God chose the Apostle Paul, He told Ananias Paul is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel(Acts 9:15). When Jesus chose Judas Iscariot to be an Apostle, He said, “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” (John 6:70). Though Samson was greatly flawed, he was chosen by God to be the 12th Judge of Israel. Samson did not earn nor deserve this great honor, no more than you or I have earned or deserved the appellation “sons of God(John 1:12; Romans 8:14; Philippians 2:15; 1 John 3:2). God chose Samson, then God used Samson to do His bidding.

Judges 14:1-4 And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife. 3 Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well. 4 But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the Lord, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.

As a Nazarite Samson was supposed to be dedicated to God. He was also to avoid all grape products. So where do we see Samson go first? Samson went down to Timnath. Timnath is a famous WINE producing region about 4 miles southwest from his home town of Zorah. Samson saw a woman in Timnath. The Soniclight Commentary notes:

The word woman in verse 2 is in the emphatic position in the Hebrew text, meaning “a woman I saw.” He had been greatly impressed with this woman. Samson described her to his parents as the ideal woman from his viewpoint, and he wanted to marry her.”

Among the ancient Jews (and in many third world countries today) people did not “date”, but their parents arranged their marriages based on family needs. Families would bind together to strengthen one another. God had told Israel when they entered the Promised Land:

Deuteronomy 7:2-5 … You shall make no covenant with {Canaanite unbelievers} and show no mercy to them. 3 You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, 4 for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. 5 But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire.

When Samson asked his parents to arrange his marriage with the Philistine, they begged him to marry within the faith. Yet Samson was relentless. He demanded this woman, and only this woman. The Bible tells us that Samson’s parents (and very probably Samson himself) did not know that:

it was of the Lord, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines

As the family went to Timnath to make the arrangements, we read:

Judges 14:5-9 Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him. 6 And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done. 7 And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well. 8 And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass of the lion. 9 And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcass of the lion.

We do not know where Samson’s parents were at the time, but a young lion roared against him. A lion will roar just before attacking in order to cause it’s prey to freeze in panic. The Bible tells us that:

1 Peter 5:8 (ESV) Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

This lion was ready to eat something, and Samson was on the menu. But the Bible says the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him. It was not Samson’s human muscle that gave him power, but God the Holy Spirit. Samson tore the lion in pieces with his bare hands! Tossing the body to the side, he continues on his way to Timnath. After visiting his Philistine lover, Samson returns home. Inside of the skeleton of the lion (probably pillages by vultures and crows) bees have made a nest, and have made honey. Samson grabs the honey – regardless of the bees – and carries enough home for his family as well. We read:

Judges 14:10-18 So his father went down unto the woman: and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do. 11 And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him. 12 And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments: 13 But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it. 14 And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle. 15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson’s wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father’s house with fire: have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so? 16 And Samson’s wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee? 17 And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people. 18 And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down, What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion? and he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.

As Samson’s father made the arrangements, Samson along with his intended Philistine Bride had a 7 day feast that preceded the wedding. The bride’s family invited 30 guests to the feast (see verse 11). During the feast Samson gave a riddle to the guests where the prize was thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. This was a day where there was no Walmart nor department stores. The Soniclight Commentary states,

The linen wraps (v. 12) were “large rectangular pieces of fine linen that were worn next to the body by day or by night” (as undergarments). The Hebrew word for wraps is rare (Proverbs 31:24; Isaiah 3:23). The Hebrew word translated clothes means “festal garments,” namely, garments for very special occasions, which were quite expensive and very beautiful (Genesis 45:22; 2 Kings 5:22).”

The 30 guests – all relatives of the Philistine Bride – cried to Samson until he told her the secret of the riddle. She, in turn, told her relatives. Bible Teacher Warren Wiersbe said, “First the Philistine woman enticed him (Judges 14:1), then she controlled him (v. 17), and then she betrayed him (v. 17), which is the way the world always treats the compromising believer.” How did Samson respond?

Judges 14:19-20 And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father’s house. 20 But Samson’s wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend.

Samson abandoned the feast and his wife. He went to Ashkelon where another wedding feast was being held, crashed the party, and killed 30 Philistines so he could take their wedding clothing. Samson then gave this clothing to his now ex-wife’s relatives. Did Samson learn from this encounter? No, for he would keep playing with fire, until it destroyed his life.

We’ll be back with Samson next week. Until then God Bless you!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in Judges, Sermons Preached and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.