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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Judges 13

 

 

Verses 1-25

13:1. Forty years. There are no exact dates of the commencement and termination of this servitude. Therefore to harmonize it with the four hundred and eighty years from the going out of Egypt, to the fourth year of Solomon, 1 Kings 16:1, nearly twenty years of this oppression must have expired on the birth of Samson. Consequently, it must have commenced about the end of Ibzan’s presidency.

13:3. The angel of the Lord appeared. He is called the angel of the Lord, Genesis 22:15; he sware by himself, and was assuredly the Messiah. Manoah calls him God, and his wife, JEHOVAH. And though he declined accepting the sacrifice, and bade Manoah offer it upon the rock to JEHOVAH, “who does wonderful things;” yet it was solely in the way that our Saviour refused to be called good, being then in the form of a servant. The answer he returned, when asked to tell his name, was in substance the same as when Jacob asked his name. It was secret, or wonderful, as Isaiah 9:6.

13:5. A Nazarite. See note on Numbers 6:1. He shall begin the work of deliverance, and David shall temporally, and the Messiah spiritually complete it.

13:19. The angel did wondrously, by causing fire to consume the sacrifice. The LXX, followed by the Vulgate, read, “Manoah—offered it on a rock to the Lord, who doth wonderful things.”

13:22. We shall surely die. This sentiment being of frequent occurrence in the Hebrew scriptures, 6:22; and in the Gentile mythology, some of the ancients must have died in their approaches to the divine presence. Ovid’s Metam. lib. 3., and Cicero of the nature of the gods, lib. 3., mention the death of Semelè, mother of Bacchus by Jupiter, how she was consumed by the approaches of the father of the gods, when she had rashly desired to see his brightness; and that the child, dropping &c., was sewed up in the thigh of Jupiter, to complete the time of pregnancy. Dr. Stukely thinks that these sacred figures designate the divine and human geniture of Christ.

13:23. If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt-offering. Be encouraged, oh trembling soul; the Lord who inspires thy prayer, will give thee an answer of peace.

REFLECTIONS.

This chapter opens with a new scene of mercy, in the singular preparation for the deliverance of Israel, long and frequently oppressed. It exhibits the never-failing care of God over his church and people, and a care most clearly manifested by special interpositions, whenever they cry under the visitations of his hand.

The good news came to Manoah and his wife when they expected no such favour, but were apparently fully reconciled to their childless lot. It is almost an invariable method with God to try those whom he greatly honours: let the christian wait, and God will one day more than realize his hopes, and deliver him from every fear.

This divine Hercules, this infant judge of Israel was born in the tribe of Dan, whose lot was bounded by Philistia, on the west; and thus the Lord raised up a deliverer in presence of the enemy. Ah, haughty oppressor, let thy youths and thy princes tremble: He is born who shall requite thee according to thy sins. Moses also was born in the time of oppression; and thus God will ever in due time save those that call upon his name.

Samson’s extraordinary endowment of strength was connected with the purity and laws of a Nazarite; for many in Israel, it is probable, equalled him in point of natural strength; and in that respect, as well as in several circumstances of his birth, he is a figure of Christ. If his locks were at any time shorn, that strength was forfeited. God has generally been pleased to give some covenant seals to man, as the rainbow with Noah, circumcision, &c. In like manner, all that divine power afforded the christian to vanquish his foes, is connected with his abiding in covenant with God.

Conformably to all those intimations, the Spirit of the Lord began to move him in the camp of Dan. The soul of a hero and a prince made its appearance when occasions offered; almost every man designated of providence for eminence in church or state, has afforded in infancy and youth hopeful indications of future glory. Who can decypher the emotions of the youthful mind when contemplating the character of a hero in the field, a minister in the sanctuary, or any object which interests the soul? Surely these are omens that God has for him better things in store than are yet revealed. Surely these emotions should prompt him to industry in mental and virtuous improvements. Every young man, contemplating so many scripture characters, whose hearts were early touched with grace, should most religiously devote himself to God, that he may be ready for every work and service to which he may be called.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Judges 13:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/judges-13.html. 1835.

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