Sunday School Lesson Sunday, June 25, 2017
To follow along, visit your local Christian bookstore, and ask for the Bible Expositor and Illuminator
Time: about 1050 B.C. Place: Zorah
Golden Text: “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 (Judges 13:5).
Lesson Outline: I. The Announcement of Samson’s Birth – Judges 13:1-7, II. The Early Life of Samson – Judges 13:24 – 25
Lesson Outline: I. The Announcement of Samson’s Birth – Judges 13:1-7
Israel had fallen into sin against the Lord. While the parents of the one who would be named Samson appear to be godly people, the nation itself had once again fallen into sin. As a result of their sin, the Lord allowed the Philistines to oppress them for forty years. The deliverer was named prior to his birth and his parents were given instructions of what to avoid during his incubation and what not to do after his birth. Samson’s birth was unique, he was called to be a Nazarite from birth. A Nazarite’s vow was a consecration of one’s life to the service of the Lord for fixed period of time. The vow was marked by three obligations: the Nazarite was to abstain from wine, the persons’ hair shouldn’t be cut and avoid touching a dead body which would incur ceremonial uncleanness. The Lord empowered Samson with amazing strength to defeat the enemies of God and Israel, the Philistines. However, Samson never demonstrated a commitment that was required of a Nazarite. He possessed great strength but he often failed to depend on the strength of the Lord. Although his pride and sinful passion, Samson is named among the great men of faith in the Eleventh Chapter of Hebrews.
Judges 13:1 – And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered the into the hand of the Philistines forty years. The Israelites had sinned against the Lord by worshipping Baalim and Ashtaroth but also the gods of the Syria, Zidon, Moab, Ammon and the Philistines. Their apostasy brought on both the Ammonite oppression of our lesson and the Philistine oppression. The Ammonites invasion lasted for eighteen years whereas the Philistines oppression for forty years. A generation that knew nothing but Philistine domination had grown up.
Judges 13:2 – 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. In the midst of their oppression, there was a man by the name of Manoah who was of the family of Danites. He and his wife didn’t have children. Manoah and his wife lived in Zorah, a town in Dan about fifteen miles west of Jerusalem near the Judean border which was the heart of the territory attacked by the Philistines. Zorah is also mentioned among the inheritance of Judah indicating that it was along the border between two tribes.
Judges 13:3 – 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. After the yers of being at the mercy of the Philistines, God sends Israel deliverance. Manolah’s wife whose name is not mentioned had been previously unable to bear children, but the angel of the Lord told her that she would bear a son. The angel who appeared to Manoah’s wife was the same divine Person who earlier appeared to Gideon. The angel showed His omniscience by speaking of the Manoah’s wife’s barrenness which was considered a disgrace by any Hebrew woman. The Angel not only informed her of her giving birth but also indicated the child would be a male. Samson’s birth can be listed with the Angel informing Mary of her Son’s birth along with Elizabeth’s birth of John the Baptist.
Judges 13:4 – Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing. God sent Samson’s mother instructions not to drink anything containing alcohol or to eat anything considered as unclean while she was pregnant. The law of abstaining from unclean foods applied to all Israelites but in light of her son’s special role, Samson’s mother had to be especially careful about contact with carcasses of animals which would ceremonially defile a person. The restriction regarding drink related specifically to the rules under which her son was to live. Her son was going to be born as Nazarite which was one who was consecrated to the Lord by a vow. Normally, a Nazarite vow was voluntarily and for a specified time, concluded by a well-defined ceremony but in Samson’s case it would be neither, he was to be set apart as a Nazarite from birth.
Judges 13:5 – 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. The Angel declared that the woman’s son should be a Nazarite from birth and for the rest of his life. The regulations of the Nazarite vow was voluntarily Samson’s parents made the vow for him. Manoah’s wife was told that her son would begin to rescue the Israelites from Philistines oppression. Samson’s Nazirite service was remarkable in three ways. First, he did not take his vow voluntarily, it was his before birth, secondly, his service was to be life long, not temporary. Thirdly, he eventually broke every one of its stipulations: His head was sheared, he associated with the dead, and he drank at his wedding feast. The woman was to dedicate her son in this way because he would be a divine instrument to begin to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines., King David finished the job.
John 13:6 – 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. Manoah’s wife immediately told her husband all that the Angel of the Lord had said and described his appearance. “Man of God”, was a term used for prophets and elsewhere in the Old Testament. At first, Samson’s mother may have thought she was talking to a prophet, but His radiant appearance convinced her otherwise. Throughout the episode, the Man of God did not tell His name. Although Manoah’s wife did not know His name, she recognized the countenance of God on the visiting Angel. Although the woman could mot positively identify the messenger, she understood the message perfectly and reported it to her husband. It is an indication of Manoah’s faith that he did not doubt anything his wife said. He prayed that God’s messenger would return and reveal to them how they were to bring up their son.
John 13:7 – 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. Manoah’s wife immediately reported the Angel’s visit and described all that the Angel had instructed her what to do and what not to do. Although the Angel of the Lord did return, He reiterated the instructions He had already given and left the couple with a new reverence for God and a deepened sense of responsibility.
Lesson Outline: II. The Early Life of Samson – Judges 13:24-25
Judges 13:24 – And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him. The word Samson is related to the Hebrew word for sun. Some may say his name was related to the sun-god, Shamash one of the gods the Philistines worshiped. It also may have been a common name in that area, the town of Bethshemesh (house of the sun) was located nearby and may have been a center of Canaanites sun worship. Samson’s name cannot have been of the pagan superstition because he was named by the Angel of the Lord and he also had godly parents. Samson grew and the Lord blessed him. The statement implies a normal, healthy development in every area of his life. Samson had godly parents who instructed him in the ways of the Lord.
Judges 13:25 – And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol. The Lord did not appoint him as a commander of an army, He aroused him to individual exploits. When the right time came, the Spirit of God moved him in order to fulfill God’s plan. Although the Lord used him and the incredible strength He had given Samson, Samson did not appear to have much loyalty to the Lord and His ways. Samson judged the people of Israel for twenty years and defeated the Philistines repeatedly on the behalf of Israel.