The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Judges 13

Jdg 13:1

Jdg 13-16: Samson, "the perfect example of the imperfect type." Samson lost his spiritual vision long before his eyes were put out.

THE PHILISTINES: See Lesson, Philistia in prophecy.

Jdg 13:12

So should all parents ask...

Jdg 13:15

A YOUNG GOAT FOR YOU: Cp Gideon: Jdg 6:18,19.

Jdg 13:24

SAMSON: Sig "brilliant sunlight", or "one like the sun": a young Hebrew "sun-god" to rival the Canaanite sun-god of Bethshemesh (sig "house of the sun").

Similarities between Samson and Hercules, the strong man of Greek legend: (1) Both strangled a lion. (2) The spring quenching Samson's thirst corresponds to the refreshing baths provided by Sicilian nymphs for Hercules. (3) Samson's carrying away the gates of Gaza suggests the pillars of Hercules. (4) Each met his death through the machinations of a woman. The obvious explanation is that Samson is the origin of the Hercules myth, rather than conversely. There is support for this in the fact that the story of Samson's foxes and firebrands also finds a clear echo in a Roman legend.

Of course Samson's name has reference to the angel whose name had never been divulged. He was named after the appearance of the angel: "his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible" (Jdg 13:6).

Jdg 13:25


STIR: The word means "trouble, disturb". Philistine domination became a sore concern in his mind.

MAHANEH DAN: "The camp of Dan", named from a (chronologically) earlier incident in Jdg 18:11,12.

"Over the low hills beyond [Zorah and Eshtaol] is Timnah where he [Samson] found his first love and killed the young lion. Beyond is the Philistine plain... the Philistine cities are but a day's march away, by easy roads. And so from these country ways to yonder plains and the highways of the great world -- from the pure home and the mother who talked with angels, to the heathen cities, their harlots and their prisons -- we see at one sweep of the eye the course in which this uncurbed strength, at first tumbling, and sporting with laughter like one of its native brooks, like them also ran to the flats and the mud, and, being darkened and befouled, was used by men to turn their mills" (HistGeo).

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