Friday, January 14, 2022
The Judges. Day 46, The Birth Of Samson, Part One
The next people to trouble the Israelites, after the Ammonites, were the Philistines. Our text tells us that the Lord allowed this to happen as correction for sin, likely the sin of idolatry. "Again the Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years." (Judges 13:1)
The birth of Israel's next judge, Samson, is foretold. "A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, 'You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.'" (Judges 13:2-5)
We studied the Nazirite vow in Numbers 6. The word is derived from the Hebrew "nazar" which means to consecrate/separate/devote oneself. A person who took a Nazirite vow was not to eat or drink anything derived from grapes during the period of their vow. They were not to use a razor on their head during this time or come in contact with anything that renders them ceremonially unclean, like a dead body. Later in our study of Samson's life we'll find him doing things that break his Nazirite vow.
After the angel tells Manoah's wife the news that she will bear a son, she goes to share this news with her husband. "Then the woman went to her husband and told him, 'A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn't ask him where he came from, and he didn't tell me his name. But he said to me, 'You will become pregnant and have a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from the womb until the day of his death.'" (Judges 13:6-7)
This is welcome news to Manoah. But he wants to know more. If the Lord has sent this special message then there must be something special the Lord wants this child to do. "Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: 'Pardon Your servant, Lord. I beg You to let the man of God You sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.'" (Judges 13:8)
I think Manoah is being very wise and is doing something that every parent can do: asking the Lord for guidance in raising their child. Not every child is going to grow up to be a political leader or army general or famous soldier. But anyone who grows up following the Lord and continues following the Lord can set a good spiritual example for others wherever they go and whatever they do. In the Lord's estimation, a successful life is one in which a person knows and loves and serves Him.