In our text we have the promise by God that He would send a very special deliverer. This promise was given to the wife of Manoah and is similar to the promises of the birth of Isaac, Samuel, John the Baptist and Christ. This is a picture of a person being set apart – dedicated to God in a special way.
Samson and his family were from the tribe of Dan. The tribe of Dan was complacent in conquering the territory of their inheritance in the Promised Land. They were living along the coast because of the enemy’s iron chariots, unwilling to fight against them. Consequently, a large number of the tribe had migrated and relocated in the north. The birthplace of Samson was to be the city of Zorah which was located in the foothills about fifteen miles from Jerusalem. Zorah was only a short distance from the Philistine border and one of the major cities of the Philistines.
In our narrative we see that a special circumstance confronted Manoah and his wife – her womb was barren. This dear man and wife were obviously true believers in the Lord God and walked righteously before Him, but their hearts were broken, for they had no child. To die childless was a tragedy because the Israelites considered children to be a very special gift from God; if a couple was barren, they felt they were not pleasing God and were not favored by Him. Thus, the heart of Manoah and his wife were broken because they had no child. But the Lord stepped into the situation to meet their need and gave them a very special promise. The angel of the Lord promised that Manoah’s wife was to miraculously bear a son. “The angel of the Lord” was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, a preincarnate appearance of Him. Some very special instructions were given by the Lord, to the pregnant mother – she was to drink no alcoholic beverage nor eat any unclean food; after the child was born, she was never to use a razor on his head. The reason for these special instructions was that the child was being sent on a very special mission for the Lord. He was to be a Nazirite, that is, totally set apart to God from his birth; and then once grown, he was to begin to deliver Israel.
The word “Nazirite” (nazir) means to be set apart, dedicated, or consecrated. Any person could take the Nazirite vow; it was voluntary and usually temporary. A person, who sensed a deep desire to draw closer to the Lord would totally set himself apart to the Lord for a brief period of time. He made three commitments to the Lord that controlled diet, appearance, and associations. These commitments or vows were: to abstain from all intoxicating drink and unclean food, to never cut his hair, and to never go near a dead body, not even of his family, lest he become defiled and unclean. Samson did not choose to be a Nazirite, but he was given the privilege by God Himself. Samson was not to be temporarily dedicated to God; his entire life belonged to God. His commitment was to be a lifetime of being set apart and being consecrated. He was also to be the great deliverer of Israel from the Philistines, this was part of the promise given to the mother by the Lord.
As soon as the angel left her, Manoah’s wife rushed to share the wonderful news with her husband. She did not yet realize who the messenger of the promise was; she was not sure whether he was merely a man of God, a prophet, or an angel. She told her husband that the messenger looked like an angel – awesome and terrifying, but he did not identify himself. Then she shared the wonderful promise that she was to bear a son who was to be reared as a Nazirite from the first day of his birth. God gave Samson the privilege of being a Nazirite, the privilege of being totally set apart and dedicated to God. This is wonderful news for us, for God has given us the very same privilege. We are called to be committed, dedicated, and totally set apart to God. Our hearts are to be set upon God, committed to follow Him. Our lives are to belong totally to Him. We are to be an ‘available one.’
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