Judges 13:4
Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:
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(4) Drink not wine.—The mother is to share for a time in part of the Nazarite vow.

Strong drink.Sheekar (LXX., Sikera) means intoxicating liquor not made from grapes (Luke 1:15).

Eat not any unclean thing.—Leviticus 11. The law applied to all Israelites, but is to be specially observed by the wife of Manoah, to impress on her and on the nation the separated character of her son.

Jdg 13:4. Now therefore beware — She was to conform to the manner of life observed by the Nazarites, while she carried her infant in her womb, and perhaps while she nursed him; because, as it follows in the next verse, he was to be a perpetual Nazarite to God, from his conception to his death; which would have bear impossible if she had drunk wine or strong drink, because a child in the womb and its mother subsist by the same nourishment. Drink not wine nor strong drink — Under which are comprehended the other particulars mentioned Numbers 6:2-4. And eat not any unclean thing — Any of those meats forbidden Leviticus 11. These were forbidden to all, but especially to the Nazarites. In all probability the Israelites were negligent at that time in observing the precept with relation to meats, otherwise there would have been no need to mention this.

13:1-7 Israel did evil: then God delivered them again into the hands of the Philistines. When Israel was in this distress, Samson was born. His parents had been long childless. Many eminent persons were born of such mothers. Mercies long waited for, often prove signal mercies; and by them others may be encouraged to continue their hope in God's mercy. The angel notices her affliction. God often sends comfort to his people very seasonably, when they feel their troubles most. This deliverer of Israel must be devoted to God. Manoah's wife was satisfied that the messenger was of God. She gave her husband a particular account, both of the promise and of the precept. Husbands and wives should tell each other their experiences of communion with God, and their improvements in acquaintance with him, that they may help each other in the way that is holy.Zorah - See the marginal reference.

His wife was barren - To mark more distinctly the high providential destiny of the child that was eventually born. Compare the similar circumstances of the birth of Isaac, Jacob, Samuel, and John the Baptist.

3. the angel of the Lord—The messenger of the covenant, the divine personage who made so many remarkable appearances of a similar kind already described. Beware, I pray thee; because the child was to be a Nazarite from the womb, Judges 13:5, and from the conception; and because the mother’s pollution extends to the child, she is enjoined from this time to observe the following rules belonging to the Nazarites.

And drink not wine, nor strong drink; under which by a synecdoche are comprehended the other particulars mentioned Numbers 6:2-4, as is implied Judges 13:14.

Any unclean thing; any of those meats forbidden Le 11, which were forbidden to all, but especially to the Nazarites.

Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink,.... Any liquor inebriating and intoxicating, neither new wine nor old wine, as the Targum, and so Jarchi; the reason of this appears in the next verse, because the child she should conceive and bear was to be a Nazarite, and to be one from his mother's womb; and from all such liquors, Nazarites, according to the law, were to abstain, Numbers 6:3.

and eat not any unclean thing; meaning not so much such sort of food as was forbidden by the law to be eaten, which every Israelite was to abstain from, but such as were particularly forbidden to Nazarites, as moist and dried grapes, or anything made of the vine tree, from the kernel to the husk, Numbers 6:3. The reason of this is, because the child in the womb is nourished with the same the mother is; and as this child was to be a Nazarite from the womb, and even in it, his mother was to abstain both from eatables and drinkables forbidden a Nazarite by the law.

Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:
4. The mother during the time of pregnancy is to observe certain ceremonial restrictions (Jdg 13:7; Jdg 13:14); she is to live in a state of consecration, in order that her child may be consecrated from the very moment of conception. The two prohibitions are classed together, apparently on the principle that to partake of anything fermented or putrified renders a person unfit for consecration to the Deity1[50]. Thus priests during their service were not allowed to drink wine (Leviticus 10:9, Ezekiel 44:21); while unclean foods, i.e. carrion (Exodus 22:31, Leviticus 7:24, Deuteronomy 14:21) and tabooed animals (Leviticus 11:2-23, Deuteronomy 14:3-20) were forbidden, the former because it had begun to decompose, the latter because in accordance with ancient ideas and custom they could not be used for sacrifice or for food. The restrictions are laid upon the mother; nothing is said about the child observing them. Samson did not consider himself bound to abstain from wine (see below); the second prohibition was not distinctive of the Nazirite consecration.

[50] See Robertson Smith, Rel. of Sem., 203 f., 367, 465. Frazer, Golden Bough i. 183–185, suggests that the ultimate reason for abstinence from intoxicating wine was the idea that ‘whoever drinks wine drinks the blood, and so receives into himself the soul or spirit of the god of the vine.’ Such intercourse with a spirit alien to Jehovah would be regarded by a Hebrew as unlawful. The Nazirite abstinence from wine seems to have been determined by other reasons, as suggested above; when it came into practice the original meaning of the prohibition was lost.

Judges 13:4Whilst the Israelites were given into the hands of the Philistines on account of their sins, and were also severely oppressed in Gilead on the part of the Ammonites, the angel of the Lord appeared to the wife of Manoah, a Danite from Zorea, i.e., Sur'a, on the western slope of the mountains of Judah (see at Joshua 15:33). Mishpachath Dani (the family of the Danites) is used interchangeably with shebet Dani (the tribe of the Danites: see Judges 18:2, Judges 18:11, and Judges 18:1, Judges 18:30), which may be explained on this ground, that according to Numbers 26:42-43, all the Danites formed but one family, viz., the family of the Shuhamites. The angel of the Lord announced to this woman, who was barren, "Thou wilt conceive and bear a son. And now beware, drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean: for, behold, thou wilt conceive and bear a son, and no razor shall come upon his head; for a vowed man of God (Nazir) will the boy be from his mother's womb," i.e., his whole life long, "to the day of his death," as the angel expressly affirmed, according to Judges 13:7. The three prohibitions which the angel of the Lord imposed upon the woman were the three things which distinguished the condition of a Nazarite (see at Numbers 6:1-8, and the explanation given there of the Nazarite vow). The only other thing mentioned in the Mosaic law is the warning against defilement from contact with the dead, which does not seem to have been enforced in the case of Samson. When the angel added still further, "And he (the Nazarite) will begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines," he no doubt intended to show that his power to effect this deliverance would be closely connected with his condition as a Nazarite. The promised son was to be a Nazarite all his life long, because he was to begin to deliver Israel out of the power of his foes. And in order that he might be so, his mother was to share in the renunciations of the Nazarite vow during the time of her pregnancy. Whilst the appearance of the angel of the Lord contained the practical pledge that the Lord still acknowledged His people, though He had given them into the hands of their enemies; the message of the angel contained this lesson and warning for Israel, that it could only obtain deliverance from its foes by seeking after a life of consecration to the Lord, such as the Nazarites pursued, so as to realize the idea of the priestly character to which Israel had been called as the people of Jehovah, by abstinence from the deliciae carnis, and everything that was unclean, as being emanations of sin, and also by a complete self-surrender to the Lord (see Pentateuch, p. 674).
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