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noah said, Now let thy words come to pass ; the language of
faith as well as desire: How shall we order the child, and (how] 13 shall we do unto him ? And the angel of the LORD said unto
Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. 14 She may not eat of any thing] that cometh of the vine,
neither let her drink wine nor strong drink, nor eat any unclean (thing :) all that I commanded her let her observe ; repeating the particulars, he enjoins that she should abstain from
what he forbade, and do what he commanded. 15 And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, I pray thee,
let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee. 16 And the angel of the Lord declined this offer, and said unto
Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread; and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto
the LORD :* for Manoah knew not that he (was) an angel of 17 the LORD. And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD,
What [is] thy name ? that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour, have further acquaintance with thee,
speak of thee with reverence and gratitude, and make thee some 18 present. And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why
askest thou thus after my name, seeing it [is] secret? or wonderful, as in the margin, see Isa. .ix. 6. Hence some supe
pose it was Christ who spoke to him; he would instruct him in 19 his duty, but noi satisfy his curiosity. So Manoah took a kid
with a meat offering, and offered [it] upon a rock unto the LORD, in the presence of the angel : and (the angel) did wonderously ; and Manoah and his wife looked on. He probably
brought fire out of the rock, as he who appeared to Gideon did. 20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven
from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the Aame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on [it]
and being quite astonished, and filled with reverence and horror, 21 they fell on their faces to the ground. But the angel of the
LORD did no more appear to Manoab and to his wife. Then
Manoah knew that he (was) an angel of the LORD, because 22 he was neither confined to the earth, nor hurt by the fire. And
Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we
have seen God; according to a common notion of the Jews, 28 that it was death to see God or an angel. But his wife said
unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have showed us these (things,] por would as at this time have told us (such things] as these.
Thus his wife nobly argues him out of his panic, by these threr considerations ; he accepted their sacrifice, he showed them all those things about their son's birth and education, and the deliver.
A prophet might anthorise him, though he was not a priest, to offer a sacrifice to God, and to do it there, as well as at the tabernacle.
'n ance which he should begin ; which would be impossible if they I were to die ; nor would he at this time, when we are so oppress
ed, and have no open vision in the land, have done such a mira.
cle, if he had designed to destroy us. 24 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson :* 25 and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him. And the
Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol. A camp was formed to give some check to the oppression of the Philistines ; and when the Israelites went out to exercise, he went with them, and showed strength and courage beyond what might be expected at his age ; to intimate what he would do for his country in due time.'
1. T HE first reflection here is, I apprehend, a very im
1 portant one to the happiness of mankind; but I choose to deliver it in the words of good Mr. HENRY. " Women with child ought conscientiously to avoid whatever they have reason to think will be any way prejudicial to the health or good constitution of the fruit of their body.' Perhaps Samson's mother was to refrain from wine, not only because he was to be a Nazarite, but because he was designed to be a man of great strength, to which his mother's temperance would greatly contribute. Many of the ill habits of body that children bring into the world with them, are owing to the irregularities of their mothers; and most of the diseases of which so many young children die, arise from a bad mass of blood communicated to them. This will easily gain credit among all considerate persons, if they will only take a view of the different conditions of the children of the poor and rich, of labourers and gentlemen ; and no wonder, when luxury, and excess so much prevail among persons of fortune and leisure. But the irregularities I am cautioning against, not only produce bad constitutions of body in children, but bad tempers, and ill dispositions of mind. The first duty parents owe to their children, as Dr. DELANY observes, is to convey health and strength, a good constitution of body and mind to them, as far as it is in their power ; by a proper care of their own health, and a conscientious abstinence from vice and excess of every kind. We learn,
2. That those who want and humbly seek divine direction, may hope for it. Manoah prayed that God would teach him his duty, and God did so. It is thus good men own and acknowledge God in all their ways, and he directs their paths. . We should do this especially when we have experienced, as in the case before us, his readiness to favour and help us. There are secret things
• Some think this is derived from a root that signifies the sun; to intimate the good effect his appearance and interposition should have on the affairs of Israel, and his extraor. dinary endowments of body and mind...
with which we have nothing to do; they are as little to our purpose as the name of an angel : but in every case of importance let our eyes be up to the Lord, and he will some way or other teach us his paths, Psalm xxv. 8. :: 3. Parents should be very solicitous to know how they should order their children, and what they should do unto them. The art of education is the most important and difficult art in the world, and therefore it should be carefully studied. Many excellent treatises have been written by Locke, DODDRIDGE, &c. on the subject. We have the word of God, which is the best guide : but we need direction in many particulars, where general rules 'will not answer. Therefore let us look up to God, that he would give us wisdom and grace to manage our children 'aright, train them up in the right way, and make them Nazarites to God, that is, consecrated to his service, and, like Samson, deliverers of 'Israel, public blessings to the community. This is the business of both parents, as Manoah's address to the angel intimates ; and as they have a common right to the child, they ought to unite their endeavours to order it aright. And their united endeavours will be little 'enough to discharge this important trust well. We may observe, *-* 4. That God's accepting the sacrifice of Christ, is a proof that he is reconcileable to guilty creatures. There is a great deal of good sense in the argument of Manoah's wife, v. 23, and it is applicable to this case. God appointed the sacrifice of Christ, and declared his acceptance of it by raising him from the dead; by sending down his Spirit, and acknowledging and accepting his Son 'as our mediator and representative : therefore he will not be inexorable; we shall not die, but live, and be happy, if we apply to him in the gospel way. He hath showed us many glorious things to confirm our faith. She argued from a promise given ; we, in the present case, from a promise fulfilled. Let this thought engage us to love God, and to devote ourselves to his service. I beseech you therefore in Christ's 'stead, be ye reconciled to God ; for he hath made him to be sin, that is, a sacrifice for sin, for us, though he knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.'
The history of Samson is not equal to what might have been edo
tected from him. We have here the foundation of his sorrows, laid in an unsuitable marriage, and the beginning of his exploite egaindl the Philistines. 1 AND Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman
A in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. And 2. he came up and told his father and his mother, and said, I
have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Phi3 listines : now therefore get her for me to wife. Then his
father and his mother said unto him, [Is there] never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me ; for she pleaseth me well. He did well to ask his parents
consent ; but the thing was ill in itself, being contrary to the law 4 of God. But his father and his mother knew not that it
(was) of the Lord that he sought an occasion against the Philistines; not that God put this into his heart, because it was wrong ; but the meaning is, that God determined to bring good to Israel out of these irregular steps of Samson : in this mar. riage Samson probably sought for an occasion of attacking the Philistines from some private and personal affront :: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel, and therefore
it was not safe for the whole body of the people to provoke them. 6 Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother to
Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath, probably to gather some grapes : and, behold, a young lion roared against
him ; a young lion of remarkable force came with open mouth 610 devour him. And the Spirit of the LORD camte mightily
upon him, a spirit of extraordinary .courage and resolution ; and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and (he had] "nothing in his hand : but he told not his father or his
mother what he had done, 'lest the Philistines knowing of it, 7 should be jealous of him and his great strength. And he went down, and talked with the woman ; and she pleased Samson well ; they concluded ufron the marriage, and the time
of it. 8 And after a time, probably a year, which was customary
with the Jews, he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion : and, behold, [there was a
swarm of bees and honey in the carcass of the lion : the 9 Seventy say, in the lion's mouth. And he took thereof in his
• Timnath was a city in his own tribe; but the Philistines possessed it. See Feshao xix. 43
hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did cat ; but he told not them that
he had taken the honey out of the carcass of the lion. 10 So his father went down unto the woman : and Samson il made there a feast ; for so used the young men to do. And
it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty, companions to be with bim, to show their respect, and for the
greater honour of the solemnity, called in the Peru Testament, 12 children of the bride chamber, And Samson, according to the
common custom of the cast, proposed a question to exercise their invention and wit, and said unto them, I will now, put forth ą riddle unto you : if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, for so long the feast lasted, and find [it] out, then I will give you thirty sheets, or, shirts, and
thirty change of garments, upper garments, which were often 13 put on and off. But if ye cannot declare [it] me, they shall
ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments.
And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may 14 hear it ; thus they agree to the conditions. And he said unto
them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the
strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three 15 days expound the riddle. And it came to pass on the seventh
day, that they said unto Samson's wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father's house with fire: have ye called us to take that, we have, (in the Heb, to possess us, or to impoverish 48 ?) [is it) not (so?) Before this they no doubt had used entreaties, but now they added a very barbarqus threatening, and a severe re.
proach, What I have ye called us to make us pay dear for our 16 entertainment? And Samson's wife tried all her eloquence,
and wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not : thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told [it] me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told [it] my father nor my mother,
with whom I have had a long and intimate acquaintance, and i canst thou desire me to tell it thee? It will show want of respect 17 to them, and shall I tell it thee? And she wept before him
the seven days, or, the rest of the seven days, while their feast lasted ; and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him : and she told the riddle to the children of her people ; at last she prevailed, we may aufhq8e upon promise of secrecy, But she told it her neigh, poure, whom she loyed and feared more than her husband.
And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh 'day before the sun went down, What [is] sweeter than honey?
• The first part of the opposition is plain, but not the second; weakness is opposed to strength, but not to sweetness. This would exercise their skill, and bec solved, would give him occasion to tell the story on which it was grounded.