OceanSide church of Christ

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Lesson #2


The Birth of Samson (1)

Judges 13:2-25

Victor M. Eskew




A.   One of the unique aspects of the study of Samson is that the Biblical text begins prior to his birth.  The other judges are introduced to us when they are in their adult lives.


B.   The account of Samson birth takes up one-fourth of the narrative about Samson (24 verses).  Butler notes:  “Any study of Samson which leaves out this revelation will have some serious deficiencies” (Samson, Butler, 17).


I.            AN EMPTY HOUSE (Judg. 13:2)


And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not.


A.   The Town:  Zorah

1.    Definition:  wasp or hornet

2.    Located in the land given to Dan.

3.    A town not far from the Philistine border.




B.   The Tribe:  of the family of the Danites

1.    Dan was the first child of Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid (Gen. 30:1-6).

2.    He was the full brother of Naphtali (Gen. 30:7-8).

3.    His name means:  “He that judges” (Gen. 49:16).

4.    The allotment of land given to the Danites in Palestine is recorded in Joshua 19:40-48.


C.   The Title (name):  Manoah

1.    Definition:  “rest”

2.    He will be mentioned four other times in this account of Samson’s life (See All the Men of the Bible, Lockyer, 228).

a.    His remonstrance with Samson over his Philistine marriage (Judg. 14:2-3).

b.    His visit with Samson to Timnah (Judg. 14:5-6).

c.    His presence at his son’s marriage (Judg. 14:5-6).

d.    His death (Judg. 16:3).


D.   The Trouble:  his wife was barren and bare not

1.    The nameless wife

a.    Although we read of Manoah’s name 18 times, we never read of his wife’s name.

b.    The Bible records events in the lives of several people who are never named (Ex., Potipher’s wife, the Ethiopian eunuch).

c.    Lessons:

1)    Fame is not needed for Divine favor to be granted.

2)    Fame is not nearly as important as faith.

3)    It is not essential for people to know us.  What is essential is for God to be able to use us.

2.    The childless wife

a.    Barrenness was a great reproach for a woman in Israel.

1)    Psalm 127:3


Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord:  and the fruit of the womb is his reward.


2)    Barrenness caused one to be subjected to ridicule and disrespect.

a)    Two examples:

1)    Sarai (Gen. 16:1, 4)


Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children…And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived:  and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.


2)    Hannah (I Sam. 1:6)


And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb.


b)    Each society has situations that it frowns upon.  (Ex., There is still a stigma of being single, especially as one gets older).

b.    It is interesting that when one is said to be barren in Scripture, many supernatural things were about to transpire.

1)    Sarai (Gen. 11:30)

2)    Rebekah (Gen. 25:21)

3)    Rachel (Gen. 29:31)

4)    Hannah (I Sam. 1:5)

5)    Elisabeth (Luke 1:7)


II.          AN ENCOURAGING MESSAGE (Judg. 13:3-5)


A.   The Promise (Judg. 13:3)


And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not:  but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.


1.    The Messenger:  the angel of the Lord

a.    Twenty-three times “the angel of the Lord” is mentioned in the book of Judges.  Thirteen of these are found in this narrative.

b.    The angel of the Lord is a theophany.

1)    It is a visible manifestation of the invisible God.

2)    Look at Manoah’s statement in Judges 13:22.  We shall surely die, because we have seen God.

3)    Most believe that this was the second member of the Godhead, Jesus Christ.

2.    The Message:  thou shalt conceive, and bear a son

a.    The angel did not begin with these words.  Instead he began by reminding her of her lack.

1)    “Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not.”

2)    “Being made acutely aware of her lack and having it so wonderfully filled by God would help the woman to greatly appreciate and esteem the power of God” (Butler, 21).

3)    Lesson:  God may show us our lack before blessing us.  This helps us to see the need for a remedy and to be thankful when that remedy is applied to our lives (See John 21:5-6).


Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat?  They answered him, No.  And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.  They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.


b.    The promise was for a male child.

1)    Samson’s mother learned patience.

a)    She had been barren for a while.  She had to wait on God.  God finally blessed her.

b)    James 5:11


Behold, we count them happy which endure.  Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.


2)    Samson’s parents learned the quality is more important that quality.