Judges 13 Commentary

A man to fight the Philistines (13:1-25)

The Philistines were by far the strongest enemy that Israel had yet met. Their forty years of rule lasted until the time of Samuel, and they continued to give trouble during the reigns of Saul and David (13:1).

Samson was the man God chose to begin the job of breaking the Philistines’ rule. Before he was born, his mother was told by a messenger from God that she was to dedicate the child to God as a Nazirite for life. This meant that Samson was not to drink wine, touch anything dead, or cut his hair. These restrictions were to be a constant reminder to him and to others that he was totally dedicated to the service of God (2-7; cf. Num 6:1-21).

God’s messenger repeated the instructions for the benefit of Samson’s father (8-14), who then prepared to offer a sacrifice to God (15-16). When the messenger ascended towards heaven in the flames of the altar, Samson’s parents realized that he was a supernatural figure, the angel of the Lord (17-23; see note on Josh 5:13-15).

In due course Samson was born. As he grew to manhood, God’s special power worked in him to prepare him for the tasks ahead (24-25).

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