Introduction: Again the children of Israel did evil, and the Lord brought the Philistines against them who oppressed them for forty years. And again God raised a deliverer who began to save the children of Israel from their oppressor. The Philistines were a warlike nation occupying the southwest coastal area of Canaan.
One day the angel of the Lord appeared to a certain woman and her husband Manoah of the tribe of Dan. This couple had no children, and the angel told them they would have a son. He said the child was to be consecrated to God as a Nazarite from the womb. An Israelite taking the Nazarite vow was prohibited from cutting the hair, eating or drinking the fruit of the vine, and eating or touching anything unclean. Men and women might take the vow for a specified time, but this child was to have the vow for life, and even his mother must observe the vow while the child was still in her womb.
Manoah said he would prepare a kid, but the angel said he would not eat. However, he said Manoah could prepare a burnt offering. When Manoah placed the offering on the altar, the angel ascended to heaven in the flame of the sacrifice. Manoah and his wife then fell to the ground and knew that they had talked to an angel. In due time the son was born and was named Samson (Judg. 13).
Samson was extremely strong physically, and his conflicts with the Philistines were personal battles. He never led an army, but he killed many Philistines singlehandedly in his lifetime by his miraculous strength.
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