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AND the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord: and he delivered them into the hands of the Philistines forty years.

Ver. 1.  Years.  It is not clear whence this sixth and longest servitude is to be dated.  If it terminated at the death of Samson, when the Philistines lost their chief nobility, &c. we must allow that the Israelites began to be obliged to pay tribute in the 6th year of Abesan.  A.C. 1193.  Salien.  C. xii. 8.  H.


--- Marsham dates from the third month after the death of Jair, to the third year of Samuel, during which period Heli governed in one part, and Jephte, Abesan, Ahialon, and Abdon in other provinces of Palestine.  It is not very material which of these systems be adopted, as they do not contradict the text.  All Israel was not reduced under the power of the Philistines; but the neighbouring tribes were infested with their incursions, and were obliged to pay tribute.  Juda complains at their invading his territory, and they allege that it was because Samson had been the aggressor, which shews that the Israelites retained some little liberty.  C. xv. 9.  C.


--- The servitude had scarcely commenced, when God provided Samson a deliverer for his people.  Salien, A. 2860.  H.


2 Now there was a certain man of Saraa, and of the race of Dan, whose name was Manue, and his wife was barren.

Ver. 2.  Saraa, in the confines of Juda and of Dan, ten miles north of Eleutheropolis.  Euseb.


--- Manue seems to have resided in the country, near this town, v. 25.  M.

3 And an angel of the Lord appeared to her, and said: Thou art barren and without children: but thou shalt conceive and bear a son.

Ver. 3.  Angel, in human form.  Some Protestants pretend that he was "the Son of God," and yet (v. 16) they say, "he sought not his own honour, but God's, whose messenger he was," (Bible, 1603) in which they plainly contradict themselves, or else teach Arianism, as if the Son were not true God, and equal to his Father.  W.


--- The title of God, (Jehova) which is given to this angel, (v. 15, 21) is no proof that he was the Supreme Being.  C. vi. 11.


4 Now therefore beware and drink no wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing.

Ver. 4.  Thing.  Exhortations to observe the law are not unnecessary.  S. Aug. q. 50.  Besides the things which common people might take, such as wine, grapes, &c. were unclean for the Nazarites.  The mother of Samson was required to abstain from every species of uncleanness as much as possible, at least while she bore and nursed her child.  C.


--- Abulensis says, she was unquestionably under peculiar restrictions till her delivery.  M.


--- This was a preparation for the child who should abstain from all unclean things, not only for a time, (Num. vi.) but during his whole life, that he might be a more perfect figure of Christ.  W.


--- His dignity was not of choice, nor could he forfeit it by touching any thing unclean, nor by the violent cutting off his hair.  As the deliverer of the people, he must often have been obliged to touch dead bodies.  C.


--- Begin.  The power of the Philistines was greatly broken by Samson.  C. xvi. 13.  M.


--- But Samuel, Saul, and David had still to contend with them.  1 K. vii. 13.  H.


5 Because thou shalt conceive and bear a son, and no razor shall touch his head: for he shall be a Nazarite of God, from his infancy, and from his mother's womb, and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.


6 And when she was come to her husband she said to him: A man of God came to me, having the countenance of an angel, very awful. And when I asked him who he was, and whence he came, and by what name he was called, he would not tell me.

Ver. 6.  And when, &c.  Heb. Chal. Syr. Arab. and the Vatican Sept. read a negation, "And I did not ask him whence he came; neither did he tell me his name."  The other copies of the Sept. S. Aug. (q. 51.) &c. agree with the Vulg. though S. Aug. suspected that the negation was wanting.  C.

7 But he answered thus: Behold thou shalt conceive and bear a son: beware thou drink no wine, nor strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite of God from his infancy, from his mother's womb until the day of his death. 8 Then Manue prayed to the Lord, and said: I beseech thee, O Lord, that the mail of God, whom thou didst send, may come again, and teach us what we ought to do concerning the child that shall be born.

Ver. 8.  Born.  Josephus (v. 10.) insinuates that Manue was touched with a sort of jealousy, as his wife had mentioned the comeliness of the stranger.  H.


--- But S. Ambrose (ep. 70) has undertaken his defence; and surely God would not have wrought a miracle to gratify his request, if it had not proceeded from a virtuous motive, desiring to enjoy the same happiness as his wife, and to know precisely how they were to educate their son.  C.


--- Procopius thinks that the wife of Manue was of more eminent virtue than her husband, and was therefore honoured with the first vision.  She had been more afflicted at her sterility, and had prayed more earnestly for the people's safety.  M.

9 And the Lord heard the prayer of Manue, and the angel of the Lord appeared again to his wife as she was sitting in the field. But Manue her husband was not with her. And when she saw the angel, 10 She made haste and ran to her husband: and told him saying: Behold the man hath appeared to me whom I saw before. 11 He rose up and followed his wife: and coming to the man, said to him: Art thou he that spoke to the woman? And he answered: I am. 12 And Manue said to him: When thy word shall come to pass, what wilt thou that the child should do? or from what shall he keep himself?

Ver. 12.  Himself.  Heb. and Sept. "What shall be the judgment (education.  C.) of the boy, and what his works? (or Prot.) how shall we do unto him?"  H.

13 And the angel of the Lord said to Manue: From all the things I have spoken of to thy wife, let her refrain herself:

Ver. 13.  Let her refrain, &c.  By the Latin text, it is not clear whether this abstinence was prescribed to the mother or to the child; but the Heb. (in which the verbs relating thereto are of the feminine gender) determines it to the mother.  But then the child also was to refrain from the like things, because he was to be from his infancy a Nazarite of God, (v. 5) that is, one set aside in a particular manner, and consecrated to God; now the Nazarites, by the law, were to abstain from all these things.

14 And let her eat nothing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: and whatsoever I have commanded her, let her fulfill and observe. 15 And Manue said to the angel of the Lord: I beseech thee to consent to my request, and let us dress a kid for thee.

Ver. 15.  Dress.  Heb. and Sept. "let us make."  Vulg. faciamus, is used either for a common feast or for a sacrifice.  Ex. xxix. 36.  Virg. (eclog. iii.) Cras faciam vitula.  Manue did not yet know who the angel was.  He only designed to give him something to eat.  A kid was then esteemed the most delicious food, and physicians esteem it very wholesome.  The taste of people has since altered.  Bochart, Anim. p. i. b. ii. 52.  C.

16 And the angel answered him: If thou press me, I will not eat of thy bread: but if thou wilt offer a holocaust, offer it to the Lord. And Manue knew not it was the angel of the Lord.

Ver. 16.  Bread is put for all sorts of food.  Angels eat none.  Toby xii. 19.  M.

17 And he said to him: What is thy name, that, if thy word shall come to pass, we may honour thee?

Ver. 17.  Honour thee with a suitable reward.  1 Tim. v. 17.

18 And he answered him: Why askest thou my name, which is wonderful?

Ver. 18.  Wonderful.  Heb. Peli.  Some have concluded that this was the proper name of the angel, as it is one of the titles of the Messias.  Isai. ix. 6.  But it is more probable that the angel did not reveal his name.  Chal.  Others divide this sentence thus, "and he (the angel, or rather God) was wonderful."  He was the author of all miracles, to whom sacrifice was immediately offered.  It is doubtful whether the angels have distinctive names.  But we read of Michael, &c. and there is no reason why they should not have names denoting their peculiar dignity and offices.  C.


--- Michael, the guardian of the church, perhaps appeared on this occasion.  M.


19 Then Manue took a kid of the flocks, and the libations, and put them upon a rock, offering to the Lord, who doth wonderful things: and he and his wife looked on.

Ver. 19.  On.  Manue was convinced that the person who had authorized him to offer sacrifice, had power to dispense with him.  W.


--- The angel "did wonderful things," as the Heb. may be explained, causing a flame to proceed from the rock and to consume the victim, as Josephus assures us, (C.) and as the angel who had appeared to Gedeon had done.  C. vi. 21.  M.

20 And when the flame from the altar went up towards heaven, the angel of the lord ascended also in the flame. And when Manue and his wife saw this, they fell flat on the ground. 21 And the angel of the Lord appeared to them no more. And forthwith Manue understood that it was an angel of the Lord, 22 And he said to his wife: We shall certainly die, because we have seen God.

Ver. 22.  Seen God: not in his own person, but in the person of his messenger.  The Israelites, in those days imagined they should die if they saw an angel, taking occasion perhaps from those words spoken by the Lord to Moses, (Ex. xxxiii. 20.) No man shall see me and live.  But the event demonstrated that it was but a groundless imagination.  Ch.


--- Elohim is applied to angels and men, as well as to God.  C.

23 And his wife answered him: If the Lord had a mind to kill us, he would not have received a holocaust and libations at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor have told us the things that are to come.

Ver. 23.  Come.  The wife of Manue allays his fears with great prudence, as she observes that God had just promised them a son.  H.

24 And she bore a son, and called his name Samson. And the child grew, and the Lord blessed him.

Ver. 24.  Samson signifies, "His sun, or joy;" or Syr. "service."  C.


--- "His, or a little sun."  M.


--- Blessed him with graces and strength, suitable for his office.   C.

25 And the spirit of the Lord began to be with him in the camp of Dan, between Saraa and Esthaol.

Ver. 25.  To be.  Sept. "to walk along."  Jonathan, "to sanctify."  Samson began to manifest an eager desire to deliver his brethren.  C.


--- Dan, as it was called from those 600 men who encamped here, when they were going to take Lais.  C. xviii. 12.  H.


--- God inspired him to commence the liberation of his country, when he was about 17 years old, (Usher) or 20 according to Salien.  Then he entered upon his judicial authority, and punished the wrongs which the Philistines did him in person, as well as his countrymen.  The seven years wandering of Æneas had terminated in his death just before, at the river Numicus.  Halicar. 1.  Salien, A.C. 1176.  H.

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