Judges 13:25
And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.
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(25) The Spirit of the Lord.Judges 3:10. The Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it rightly, “The spirit of courage from Jehovah.” Amos (Amos 2:11) ranks Nazarites with prophets. “Different as may be their mode of action, they agree in a belief, which strings up every power to its highest tension, that they are Jehovah’s very own, consecrated to Him by a wholly special calling” (Ewald).

Began to move him.—Literally, to agitate or thrust him (paham, Genesis 41:8; Daniel 2:1). The word implies vehement and overwhelming impulses to noble deeds (“fing an ihn zu treiben,” Luther), which, however, only came over him “at times” (Judges 14:6; Judges 15:14; Judges 16:20). The LXX. rendering, to go with him,” comes from a wrong reading.

In the camp of Dan.—Rather, in Mahaneh-dan. Doubtless the name originated in the migration of this hard-pressed tribe, which is mentioned in Judges 18:11-12, but which took place long before this time. The sites of Mahaneh-dan and Eshtaol have not been identified. In his hatred to the enemies of his country, Samson is the Hannibal of the Hebrews.

13:24,25 The Spirit of the Lord began to move Samson when a youth. This was evidence that the Lord blessed him. Where God gives his blessing, he gives his Spirit to qualify for the blessing. Those are blessed indeed in whom the Spirit of grace begins to work in the days of their childhood. Samson drank no wine or strong drink, yet excelled in strength and courage, for he had the Spirit of God moving him; therefore be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.In the camp of Dan - Rather, "Mahaneh-Dan" (see the margin). The impulses of the Spirit of the Lord perhaps took the shape of burning indignation at the subjection of his brethren, and thoughts and plans for their deliverance, but especially showed themselves in feats of strength (Judges 14:6; Judges 15:14; Judges 16:30. Compare Acts 7:23-25). 25. the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times—not, probably, as it moved the prophets, who were charged with an inspired message, but kindling in his youthful bosom a spirit of high and devoted patriotism.

Eshtaol—the free city. It, as well as Zorah, stood on the border between Judah and Dan.

To move him at times, i.e. to stir him up to heroical designs; to show forth his power in him in the frame of his mind, and in the strength of his body, discovered to his neighbours in extraordinary actions; to incline his heart to great attempts to the help and deliverance of God’s people; and to give some essays of it to his brethren, and to seek all opportunities for it, as he did in the next chapter.

In the camp of Dan; a place so called, either from the expedition of the Danites, Judges 18:11,12; which though placed after this history, was done before it; or from some other camp which the Danites had formed there at this time, to give some check to the incursions of the Philistines. And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan,.... To go out into it, in order to be trained up in and inured to military exercises; or it began to "strike" his mind, inject thoughts into it, and impress it with them concerning doing great things for the people of God in time to come; and for the present put him upon doing strange and wonderful exploits, which were omens of what was to be done by him hereafter; and these were done by him now and then, not always, but as the Spirit of God came upon him, under the impulse of which he did them, and by the strength he gave him; so the Targum,"and the Spirit of strength from the Lord began to strengthen him.''This camp of Dan was either a camp formed in that tribe, to prevent the incursions of the Philistines; or rather, since it does not seem that Israel had strength enough to resist them, they having got the power over them, this was the name of a place called Mahanehdan near Kirjathjearim, from the Danites encamping in it, when they went to besiege Laish, Judges 18:11 for the fact was done before this time, though related afterwards:

between Zorah and Eshtaol; which were two cities in the tribe of Dan, and upon the borders of the tribe of Judah; of which see Joshua 15:33. It may be observed, that as the tribe of Dan lay near to the Philistines, and so liable to their ravages, and might be most oppressed by them, so a deliverer of Israel was raised up in this tribe.

And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.
25. the spirit of the Lord] See on Jdg 3:13. The superhuman power of Jehovah began to stir him to daring feats against the Philistines; cf. St Mark 1:12 ‘the Spirit driveth him forth.’ The pass, of the verb (in a trans, sense only here) is rendered ‘was troubled’ in Genesis 41:8, Psalm 77:4 etc.

Mahaneh-dan] here lies in the heart of the Danite settlements; but according to Jdg 18:12 it was situated in Judah, at Kiriath-jearim or behind it, i.e. on the western side, and the six hundred, starting from Zorah and Eshtaol, are said to have reached Mahaneh-dan on their march to the north. A temporary encampment outside the Danite district might naturally receive the name of Dan’s Camp, but not a place among the seats of the tribe. As it is unlikely that there were two places called Dan’s Camp in this part of the country, we must suppose that there is something wrong about the name here. Perhaps for Mahaneh-dan we should read Manahath-dan, a happy suggestion made by Mr S. A. Cook [Notes on O.T. Hist., p. 88 and Encycl. Bibl. s.v.); cf. 1 Chronicles 2:52; 1 Chronicles 2:54, and see above on Jdg 13:2. It is to be noticed that the grave of Manoah, the ancestor of the Manahathites, occupied exactly the position described in this verse, Jdg 16:31.

Eshtaol] Generally named with Zorah (Jdg 13:2); the two places were evidently close together. Zorah is certainly Ṣar‘a; and Eshtaol may have stood on the site of Eshû‘ about 1½ m. to the N.E., up the valley which branches off northwards from the W. eṣ-Ṣarâr (Sorek). Both places overlook the broad basin of the W. eṣ-Ṣarâr near its entrance into the Judaean highlands.Verse 25. - The Spirit of the Lord, etc. See Judges 3:10, note. To move him - to urge and impel him to strange actions by fits and starts. It is an uncommon expression. In Genesis 41:8 the passive of the verb means to be troubled or agitated, and the substantive is the common word for a time in the phrases time after time, twice, thrice (according to the number specified), other times, etc.; also a footstep; and its derivatives mean an anvil, a bell. The idea is that of sudden, single impulses, such as are described in the following chapters. In the camp of Dan, or, as in Judges 18:12, Mahaneh-Dan, where the reason of the name is explained. For Zorah see ver. 2, note. Eshtaol has not hitherto been identified with any existing place, but it ought to lie east or north of Mahaneh-Dan, since this last was between Zorah and Eshtaol (see note on Judges 18:12). Kustul, a conical hill one hour west of Jerusalem, has been suggested.

Manoah then took the kid and the minchah, i.e., according to Numbers 15:4., the meat-offering belonging to the burnt-offering, and offered it upon the rock, which is called an altar in Judges 13:20, because the angel of the Lord, who is of one nature with God, had sanctified it as an altar through the miraculous acceptance of the sacrifice. לעשׁות מפלא, "and wonderfully (miraculously) did he act" (הפליא followed by the infinitive with ל as in 2 Chronicles 26:15). These words form a circumstantial clause, which is not to be attached, however, to the subject of the principal clause, but to ליהוה: "Manoah offered the sacrifice to the Lord, whereupon He acted to do wonderfully, i.e., He performed a wonder or miracle, and Manoah and his wife saw it" (see Ewald, Lehrb. 341, b., p. 724, note). In what the miracle consisted is explained in Judges 13:20, in the words, "when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar;" that is to say, in the fact that a flame issued from the rock, as in the case of Gideon's sacrifice (Judges 6:21), and consumed the sacrifice. And the angel of the Lord ascended in this flame. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell upon their faces to the earth (sc., in worship), because they discovered from the miracle that it was the angel of the Lord who had appeared to them.
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