28 May. Judges 13:2-25

28 May. Samson is brought up as a Nazirite

“There was a man named Manoah from the tribe of Dan, who lived in the city of Zorah. He had a wife, but she could not have children. The angel of the LORD appeared to Manoah’s wife and said, ‘You have not been able to have children, but you will become pregnant and give birth to a son.’”

“’Be careful not to drink wine or beer or eat anything that is unclean, because you will become pregnant and have a son. You must never cut his hair, because he will be a Nazirite, given to God from birth. He will begin to save Israel from the power of the Philistines.’”

“Then Manoah’s wife went to him and told him what had happened… Then Manoah prayed to the LORD, ‘Lord, I beg you to let the man of God come to us again. Let him teach us what we should do for the boy who will be born to us.’”

“God heard Manoah’s prayer, and the angel of God came to Manoah’s wife again while she was sitting in the field. But her husband Manoah was not with her. So she ran to tell him, ‘He is here!’… The man got up and followed his wife… So Manoah asked [the angel], ‘When what you say happens, what kind of life should the boy live? What should he do?’”

“The angel of the LORD said, ‘Your wife must be careful to do everything I told her to do. She must not eat anything that grows on a grapevine, or drink any wine or beer, or eat anything that is unclean… Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, ‘We would like you to stay awhile so we can cook a young goat for you.’ The angel of the LORD answered, Even if I stay awhile, I would not eat your food. But if you want to prepare something, offer a burnt offering to the LORD.’ (Manoah did not understand that the man was really the angel of the LORD.)”

“Then Manoah asked the angel of the LORD, ‘What is your name? Then we will honour you when what you have said really happens.’ The angel of the LORD said, ‘Why do you ask my name? It is too amazing for you to understand.’ So Manoah sacrificed a young goat on a rock and offered some grain as a gift to the LORD.”

“Then an amazing thing happened as Manoah and his wife watched. The flames went up to the sky from the altar. As the fire burned, the angel of the LORD went up to heaven in the flame. When Manoah and his wife saw that, they bowed face down on the ground.”

“The angel of the LORD did not appear to them again. Then Manoah understood that the man was really the angel of the LORD. Manoah said, ‘We have seen God, so we will surely die.’ But his wife said to him, ‘If the LORD wanted to kill us, he would not have accepted our burnt offering or grain offering. He would not have shown us all these things or told us all this.’”

“So the woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew, and the LORD blessed him. The Spirit of the LORD began to work in Samson while he was in the city of Mahaneh Dan, between the cities of Zorah and Eshtol.”

          (Judges 13:2-25)



For about four hundred years, from the Israelite invasion of Canaan in c.1406BC until the expansion of Israel’s boundaries under King David around 1000BC, the southern coastal plain cities of Gaza, Gath, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Ekron became the stronghold of Philistine kings (see 3 on the map on 10 May).

The Philistines – like the Phoenicians who inhabited the coastal plain further north around Tyre and Sidon – were ‘sea peoples’ who had sailed across the Mediterranean from Cyprus and Crete (‘Caphtor’ – see Amos 9:7), the Pelaponnese, and the islands of the Aegean. As allies of the local ‘superpower’, Egypt, the Philistines used the latest weapon - iron chariots - to defend the Via Maris, the highly lucrative trading route along the coastal plain from Egypt to Mesopotamia.

While the Israelites conquered most of the city-states in the central hill country of Canaan (where the terrain favoured surprise attacks and hand-to-hand fighting), they were less successful in defeating the kingdoms of the Mediterranean coastal plain. Here, the technologically more advanced Philistines deployed their fast-moving chariots to protect the prosperous cities (see Joshua 13:1-3).

During the time of the ‘Judges’, the Israelites and Philistines frequently clashed, with the Philistines often becoming dominant and demanding subservience from the Israelites.

Samson was born at Zorah (see 11 on the map on 10 May) in c.1081BC. He was brought up as a ‘Nazirite’ – a man set apart for serving God from birth (see Numbers 6:1-21). He became a ‘judge’ (a leader) of Israel for twenty years at the beginning of a seventy-year period during which Israel was under the control of the Philistines.

The photo (by Abraham) shows remains of the Philistine city of Ashkelon.

You can read more about the Philistines @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/samson-challenges-the-ph…/

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