Summary: Oddly enough, I believe it’s Samson’s mother who was the more level headed and perhaps strongest, spiritually in the family. It’s from her that I hope we can gain some important lessons.
6 September 2005
Judges 13, 14
Samson was one of the last judges to appear in Israel.
Despite the fact that he was gifted with extraordinary physical strength, Samson was morally and spiritually weak.
His feud with the Philistines, who dominated the Israelites during his lifetime, was rooted in personal hostility rather than a desire to free his people.
Although Samson killed many Philistines during his lifetime, he never won freedom from oppression for his people.
It is clear from the story in Judges that Samson’s flaws were his own and cannot be traced back to worldly and godless living by his parent’s.
Both parents are portrayed as godly and good persons who did their best to respond to God and give their son guidance.
Oddly enough, I believe it’s Samson’s mother who was the more level headed and perhaps strongest, spiritually in the family.
It’s from her that I hope we can gain some important lessons.
I’ll begin today’s lesson by giving you the Historical Background:
Much has happened in the lives of God’s people after their conquest of Canaan.
They have been on a “roller coaster” in terms of their relationship with God.
They do evil in the sight of the Lord, God punishes them by delivering them into the hands of an enemy, they beg for a deliverer, and God’s sends one in the form of a judge.
Not much has changed as we begin our study here in Judges 13:
Vs. 1: "And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.”
The Philistines had been enemies of God’s people for some time now and will continue to be for years to come.
They were not conquered and destroyed during the conquest of Canaan by Joshua (cf. Joshua 3:1-2).
In fact, five cities, belonging to the Philistines were left and they formed a centralized government to make war against Israel.
God tested Israel through their struggle with the Philistines, and He encourage them to trust Him for victory.
Some of the Israelites were not around when Joshua led Israel on their conquest of Canaan.
They were not familiar with warfare, and therefore those nations that remained in the land would teach them and subsequent generations of Israelites the art of warfare.
After Joshua’s death, we see the Israelites continuing to conquer Canaan; however, they didn’t completely destroy these people, rather they allowed them to live among them (cf. Judges 1).
The Philistines, therefore, served the purpose of testing Israel.
Vs. 2: “And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had no children.”
Manoah and family were Danites (from the tribe of Dan) living in Zorah—a city of Dan which was about 13 miles west of Jerusalem, on the border of Judah.
Manoah’s wife was barren and therefore there were no children.
We are not told if she couldn’t have children, or if they were just waiting.
But it wasn’t customary at that time to put off child birth, and so I would suspect she couldn’t have children.
She obviously has been selected by God to carry out His will.
I believe there are 2 lessons for us to learn from Manoah and his wife.
Lesson 1 - We must always stand ready to serve God.
Vs. 3: “And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have no children; but you shall conceive and bear a son.”
Notice that the angel didn’t appear to Manoah; instead he appeared to his wife directly.
I believe Manoah’s wife was stronger spiritually than Manoah himself.
Vs. 8: “Then Manoah prayed to the Lord, and said, “O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born.”
Notice, that after she tells her husband of her encounter with the angel, he asks for the angel to come back and give them further instructions.
Vs 9: “And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the Angel of God came to the woman again as she was sitting in the field; but Manoah her husband was not with her.”
God honored Manoah’s request, and the angel is sent back, but to whom does it appear?
So, what’s the point?
I believe these brief Biblical facts teach us something about Manoah’s wife’s spiritual character.
I believe she was a godly, obedient, spiritual woman who stood ready to serve God when ever the call came.
Would God have chosen a woman with any less character to do His will in this situation?