King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Judges 13

The Philistines, Samson announced. (1-7) The angel appears to Manoah. (8-14) Manoah’s sacrifice. (15-23) Birth of Samson. (24,25)

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The Philistines, Samson announced

1 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.

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.

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.

4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:

5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name:

7 But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.

The angel appears to Manoah

8 Then Manoah intreated 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.

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 sacrifice

15 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.

17 And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?

18 And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?

19 So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wonderously; 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.

22 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.

Birth of Samson

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

25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Years. It is not clear whence this sixth and longest servitude is to be dated. If it terminated at the death of Samson, when the Philistines lost their chief nobility, &c. we must allow that the Israelites began to be obliged to pay tribute in the 6th year of Abesan. A.C. 1193. Salien. C. xii. 8. H. — Marsham dates from the third month after the death of Jair, to the third year of Samuel, during which period Heli governed in one part, and Jephte, Abesan, Ahialon, and Abdon in other provinces of Palestine. It is not very material which of these systems be adopted, as they do not contradict the text. All Israel was not reduced under the power of the Philistines; but the neighbouring tribes were infested with their incursions, and were obliged to pay tribute. Juda complains at their invading his territory, and they allege that it was because Samson had been the aggressor, which shews that the Israelites retained some little liberty. C. xv. 9. C. — The servitude had scarcely commenced, when God provided Samson a deliverer for his people. Salien, A. 2860. H.

Ver. 2. Saraa, in the confines of Juda and of Dan, ten miles north of Eleutheropolis. Euseb. — Manue seems to have resided in the country, near this town, v. 25. M.

Ver. 3. Angel, in human form. Some Protestants pretend that he was “the Son of God,” and yet (v. 16) they say, “he sought not his own honour, but God’s, whose messenger he was,” (Bible, 1603) in which they plainly contradict themselves, or else teach Arianism, as if the Son were not true God, and equal to his Father. W. — The title of God, (Jehova) which is given to this angel, (v. 15, 21) is no proof that he was the Supreme Being. C. vi. 11.

Ver. 4. Thing. Exhortations to observe the law are not unnecessary. S. Aug. q. 50. Besides the things which common people might take, such as wine, grapes, &c. were unclean for the Nazarites. The mother of Samson was required to abstain from every species of uncleanness as much as possible, at least while she bore and nursed her child. C. — Abulensis says, she was unquestionably under peculiar restrictions till her delivery. M. — This was a preparation for the child who should abstain from all unclean things, not only for a time, (Num. vi.) but during his whole life, that he might be a more perfect figure of Christ. W. — His dignity was not of choice, nor could he forfeit it by touching any thing unclean, nor by the violent cutting off his hair. As the deliverer of the people, he must often have been obliged to touch dead bodies. C. — Begin. The power of the Philistines was greatly broken by Samson. C. xvi. 13. M. — But Samuel, Saul, and David had still to contend with them. 1 K. vii. 13. H.

Ver. 6. And when, &c. Heb. Chal. Syr. Arab. and the Vatican Sept. read a negation, “And I did not ask him whence he came; neither did he tell me his name.” The other copies of the Sept. S. Aug. (q. 51.) &c. agree with the Vulg. though S. Aug. suspected that the negation was wanting. C.

Ver. 8. Born. Josephus (v. 10.) insinuates that Manue was touched with a sort of jealousy, as his wife had mentioned the comeliness of the stranger. H. — But S. Ambrose (ep. 70) has undertaken his defence; and surely God would not have wrought a miracle to gratify his request, if it had not proceeded from a virtuous motive, desiring to enjoy the same happiness as his wife, and to know precisely how they were to educate their son. C. — Procopius thinks that the wife of Manue was of more eminent virtue than her husband, and was therefore honoured with the first vision. She had been more afflicted at her sterility, and had prayed more earnestly for the people’s safety. M.

Ver. 12. Himself. Heb. and Sept. “What shall be the judgment (education. C.) of the boy, and what his works? (or Prot.) how shall we do unto him?” H.

Ver. 13. Let her refrain, &c. By the Latin text, it is not clear whether this abstinence was prescribed to the mother or to the child; but the Heb. (in which the verbs relating thereto are of the feminine gender) determines it to the mother. But then the child also was to refrain from the like things, because he was to be from his infancy a Nazarite of God, (v. 5) that is, one set aside in a particular manner, and consecrated to God; now the Nazarites, by the law, were to abstain from all these things.

Ver. 15. Dress. Heb. and Sept. “let us make.” Vulg. faciamus, is used either for a common feast or for a sacrifice. Ex. xxix. 36. Virg. (eclog. iii.) Cras faciam vitula. Manue did not yet know who the angel was. He only designed to give him something to eat. A kid was then esteemed the most delicious food, and physicians esteem it very wholesome. The taste of people has since altered. Bochart, Anim. p. i. b. ii. 52. C.

Ver. 16. Bread is put for all sorts of food. Angels eat none. Toby xii. 19. M.

Ver. 17. Honour thee with a suitable reward. 1 Tim. v. 17.

Ver. 18. Wonderful. Heb. Peli. Some have concluded that this was the proper name of the angel, as it is one of the titles of the Messias. Isai. ix. 6. But it is more probable that the angel did not reveal his name. Chal. Others divide this sentence thus, “and he (the angel, or rather God) was wonderful.” He was the author of all miracles, to whom sacrifice was immediately offered. It is doubtful whether the angels have distinctive names. But we read of Michael, &c. and there is no reason why they should not have names denoting their peculiar dignity and offices. C. — Michael, the guardian of the church, perhaps appeared on this occasion. M.

Ver. 19. On. Manue was convinced that the person who had authorized him to offer sacrifice, had power to dispense with him. W. — The angel “did wonderful things,” as the Heb. may be explained, causing a flame to proceed from the rock and to consume the victim, as Josephus assures us, (C.) and as the angel who had appeared to Gedeon had done. C. vi. 21. M.

Ver. 22. Seen God: not in his own person, but in the person of his messenger. The Israelites, in those days imagined they should die if they saw an angel, taking occasion perhaps from those words spoken by the Lord to Moses, (Ex. xxxiii. 20.) No man shall see me and live. But the event demonstrated that it was but a groundless imagination. Ch. — Elohim is applied to angels and men, as well as to God. C.

Ver. 23. Come. The wife of Manue allays his fears with great prudence, as she observes that God had just promised them a son. H.

Ver. 24. Samson signifies, “His sun, or joy;” or Syr. “service.” C. — “His, or a little sun.” M. — Blessed him with graces and strength, suitable for his office. C.

Ver. 25. To be. Sept. “to walk along.” Jonathan, “to sanctify.” Samson began to manifest an eager desire to deliver his brethren. C. — Dan, as it was called from those 600 men who encamped here, when they were going to take Lais. C. xviii. 12. H. — God inspired him to commence the liberation of his country, when he was about 17 years old, (Usher) or 20 according to Salien. Then he entered upon his judicial authority, and punished the wrongs which the Philistines did him in person, as well as his countrymen. The seven years wandering of ├ćneas had terminated in his death just before, at the river Numicus. Halicar. 1. Salien, A.C. 1176. H.