Samson: A Great Man of Faith? (Part 2)
In Judges 13:6ff, Manoah's wife informed him of the Angel's visit and His conversation with her. Their son would be a Nazirite from the very beginning. Samson would have no choice in the matter! Manoah then prayed for the Angel to return, and his petition was answered. The Angel came again and repeated His message. It is of interest to note that Manoah's wife was personally bound by the Nazirite conditions even while she was pregnant. The implication is crystal clear--life begins at conception! If life didn't begin until birth, then she would not have been required to keep any aspects of the Nazirite vow for the sake of an "embryo" growing inside of her. This very context proves that abortion is wrong. Samson would be a Nazirite even before he was born. There are many other Bible passages that also teach the truth about life beginning at conception.

The chapter closes by sharing some details pertaining to the Angel's second visit as well as the fulfillment of the prophecy pertaining to Samson's birth. Manoah offered to be hospitable to the Angel, but He declared that He would not eat anything. However, if Manoah desired, he could make an offering to Jehovah. Manoah wished to honor the Angel, but the Angel answered Him rather enigmatically - "Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?" (Jud. 13:18; cf. Isa. 9:6). As a side note, I believe that the Angel of Jehovah is the second Person of the Godhead (i.e., the Angel of the LORD is the same Being we know today as Jesus the Christ). It is not in the scope of this study to prove such, but we will plan to undertake this task in the future.

As the Angel of the LORD departed, He did so in the flame of the altar. Manoah and his wife were convinced that they had seen God Himself. He feared for their lives, but she wisely pointed out - "If the LORD had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have told us such things as these at this time" (Jud. 13:23).

The transition from chapter 13 into chapter 14 covers many years. We know nothing of Samson's childhood. He was already grown up at this time. In fact, he was of marriageable age--and the LORD was with him.

Samson foolishly desired a Philistine wife. His parents were against the idea, but the Lord was working in the matter. God intended to seek "an occasion to move against the Philistines" who had dominion over the Israelites at that time (14:4).

"So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came to the vineyards of Timnah. Now to his surprise, a young lion came roaring against him. And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. Then he went down and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well" (Jud. 14:5-7). The killing of a lion with his bare hands certainly demonstrated Samson's miraculous physical strength which was made possible via the Nazirite vow and God's favor. The woman pleased Samson very much; he planned to marry her.

"After some time, when he returned to get her, he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion. And behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the carcass of the lion. He took some of it in his hands and went along, eating. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them, and they also ate. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey out of the carcass of the lion" (Jud. 14:8,9). In that area, the intense heat has been known to dry up the moisture in a carcass within a day or so. Then it would lie mummified for some time. This experience would inspire the riddle Samson would soon pose.

We will consider the riddle and how the Philistines solved it tomorrow.