Judges 13:5
For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no rasor 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.
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(5) No razor shall come on his head.—The law of the Nazarite is laid down in Numbers 6, and when that chapter is read as the Parashah (or first lesson) in the synagogue-worship, this account of the birth of Samson, the first recorded Nazarite, is read as the Haphtarah (or second lesson).

Shall begin to deliver.—The weaknesses of Samson’s own character rendered him unfit to achieve that complete deliverance which was carried out by Samuel. In the cases of Jephthah and Samson the Israelites learnt the power which rests in individual vows to display the occult and mysterious heroism of the human spirit, and to save people from sinking into the lowest depths (Ewald, 2:397). The vow became a new force of the age. In Jephthah’s case it had been an isolated vow, but in Samson’s it was the devotion of a life, and developed an indomitable energy and power.

Jdg 13:5. The child shall be a Nazarite — Consecrated to God’s service in a peculiar manner. He shall begin to deliver Israel — He did not complete the deliverance of the Israelites from the servile yoke of the Philistines; but the work was carried on and perfected by others, namely, by Eli, Samuel, and Saul, and especially by David. Samson galled them severely, but they still continued to oppress Israel, as they did when he was born, and the oppression continued, more or less, till the memorable victory of Ebenezer, recorded 1 Samuel 7:13, when they were subdued, and their tyranny of forty years ended. Thus God chooses to carry on his work gradually, and by several hands. One lays the foundation of a good work, another builds, and perhaps a third brings forth the top-stone.

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.A Nazarite - See the marginal reference. and note. The common Nazarite vow was for a limited time, like Paul's Acts 18:18; Acts 21:23-26. Others, like Samuel 1 Samuel 1:11, were Nazarites for life. 5. thou shalt conceive, and bear a son—This predicted child was to be a Nazarite. The mother was, therefore, for the sake of her promised offspring, required to practice the rigid abstinence of the Nazarite law (see on [223]Nu 6:2).

he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines—a prophecy encouraging to a patriotic man; the terms of it, however, indicated that the period of deliverance was still to be distant.

A Nazarite; a person separated from others, and consecrated to God’s service.

He shall begin to deliver Israel; and the deliverance shall be carried on and perfected by others, as it was in part by Eli, and Samuel, and Saul; but especially by David.

For, lo, thou shalt conceive and bear a son,.... Which is not only repeated for the confirmation of it, but that she might take notice that he was to be a Nazarite, and therefore must conform to everything agreeable to the law of the Nazarites, and take care that it was observed in him:

and no razor shall come on his head; to cut off the hair of it, not from the time of his birth to his death; for he was to be a perpetual Nazarite: other Nazarites during the time of their Nazariteship were not to suffer a razor to come upon them, but afterwards might; but for such an one as Samson, it was not lawful ever to suffer his hair to be cut off; see Numbers 6:5.

for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb; in which he was a type of Christ, who was sanctified by the Lord, separated from sinners, and called a "Nazarene": was born of a virgin, as Samson was of a barren woman, and his birth foretold by an angel as this:

and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines; for the salvation he wrought for Israel was not complete and perfect; it was only begun by him, and carried on in the times of Eli, Samuel, and Saul, and perfected by David. In this his antitype exceeds him, who is the author of the complete salvation of his people out of the hands of all their enemies, sin, Satan, and the world; though in this there is a great resemblance between Samson and our Lord Jesus, in that what he did he did himself alone; not at the head of an army, and with forces under him, as other judges; so Christ with his own arm, and of himself, and without others, wrought salvation for his people; see Isaiah 63:5.

For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a {b} Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

(b) Meaning he should be separate from the world, and dedicated to God.

5. thou shalt conceive] The present in Genesis 16:11 RV. and Isaiah 7:14 RVm.; the future is more suitable here.

a Nazirite unto God] lit. one separated unto God; this, the full term, came to be abbreviated nâzîr, i.e. separated, devoted, a Nazirite. It is to be noticed that (1) the consecration took effect from birth; it was not voluntary, but due to the call of God, in this respect resembling the case of the prophets, Jeremiah 1:5, Isaiah 44:2; (2) it was life-long and not temporary; (3) the special sign of consecration was the unshorn hair, no razor shall come upon his head, cf. Jdg 16:17, 1 Samuel 1:11; this seems to have been the one essential characteristic; and (4) the object or task of the person thus devoted was to wage war and effect a deliverance. The connexion between (3) and (4) is illustrated by the custom of Arab warriors to wear the hair long when they vowed inveterate war, probably too by the long hair of the chiefs in Deborah’s Song (see on Jdg 5:2). In old Israel the Nazirite was no doubt a familiar figure; but besides Samson, the only other and not quite certain example is Samuel (1 Samuel 1:11), though he is not called a Nazirite till Sir 46:13 (in the Hebr., not in the Gk. text), and in Talmudic tradition (Nazir 66 a ‘Samuel was a Nazirite according to the teaching of R. Naharaï’). There was nothing ascetic about a Nazirite in the early days, as the story of Samson proves (Jdg 14:10); abstinence from wine did not become a mark of this type of devotee till a later time (Amos 2:12), and then probably as a protest against Canaanite habits (cf. the Rechabites, Jeremiah 35:9 ff.). What was probably a later development still appears in the detailed law of the Nazirite in Numbers 6; there abstinence from wine has become the principal feature; the hair is treated as a hair-offering; instead of preserving it unshorn, the Nazirite is to shave when the period of the vow is over; the vow itself is not life-long but temporary and voluntary; and contact with a dead body is strictly forbidden, a prohibition which cannot have existed in the early days (Jdg 14:19; Jdg 15:8; Jdg 15:15; 1 Samuel 15:33). The obvious differences between Nazirites of Samson’s type and those of the type laid down in the law formed a topic of discussion among the Rabbis (Talmud B. Nazir 4 a, b). After the Exile temporary Nazirites were numerous down to the fall of Jerusalem (1Ma 3:49; Jos., Ant. xix. 6, 1, Wars ii. 15, 1; Acts 21:23 ff.).

The treatment of the hair, whether preserved unshorn or offered as a sacrifice, is based upon a widely spread and primitive belief that the hair is a part of a man’s self; if it is never shorn, his strength is undiminished, he is intact; if it is shorn and offered at the sanctuary, it is in a measure an offering of oneself1[51].

[51] See Gray, Journ. of Theol. Studies i. 201–211 (1900) and Numbers 57 ff. (1903) Frazer, Golden Bough i. 193–207; Rob. Smith, Rel. of Sem., 314 f., 462 ff.

begin to save Israel … the Philistines] In chs. 14–16, however, we find not a work of national deliverance, but intermittent feats of private revenge or daring. The view of Samson’s history indicated by this remark shews that ch. 13 must be somewhat later than 14–16. It is doubtful whether begin implies that Samson was regarded as the forerunner of Samuel and Saul in the struggle against the Philistines (Wellhausen, Composition d. Hex., p. 231; S. A. Cook, Notes on O.T. Hist., p. 34); the word probably means no more than ‘shall be the first to,’ as in Jdg 10:18.

Verse 5. - The child shall be a Nazarite, etc. So it was said, though not in the same words, concerning Samuel (1 Samuel 1:11) and concerning John the Baptist (Luke 1:15). A Nazarite (or, more correctly, a Nazi-rite) means one separated, and specially dedicated to God. The law of the Nazarites is contained in Numbers 6, where, however, only Nazarites of days, i.e. Nazarites for a definite time, arc spoken cf. Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist were perpetual Nazarites, Nazarites of for ever, as the Mishna classifies them. Abstinence from strong drink, and from anything made of the grape; letting the locks of the head grow unchecked by the razor; and keeping quite clear of any pollution from a dead body, even in case of the death of his nearest relations, were the chief articles of a Nazarite's vow. St. Paul took the vow of a Nazarite of days, and offered the prescribed sacrifices, together with "the hair of the head of his separation," as we read in Acts 18:18; Acts 21:23-26. He shall begin, etc. This is an exact description of what Samson did. He did not "deliver Israel" as the other judges did; but he began to shake the Philistine power, and prepared the way for the deliverance of Israel in the time of his worthier successor Samuel. Judges 13:5Whilst 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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