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making vows, that we may not involve ourselves ing as that of Gideon had been. (Marg. Ref.— or others in distress, perplexity, or temptation: Note, 8:1-3.) The Ephraimites had, it seems, but nothing can oblige us to that which is in itself been sent to, and would not come to help their unlawful. With this single exception, we cannot brethren, and their anger was therefore extremedo too much to express our gratitude for mercies ly unreasonable: but instead of being satisfied received, or part with too much for the glory of with Jephthah's arguments, they proceeded to God.-Though we cannot approve of the con- assault him: and they likewise irritated the Gileduct of Jephthah, we may well admire and imi-adites by abusive language; as if they had been tate his resolution and self-denial, and still more the refuse of the descendants of Joseph, who had those of his daughter.--Let us not then forget the fled from justice and settled beyond Jordan! love of the Father in giving his Son, or of the (Note, Josh. 22:21--29.)-The Gileadites, howSon in giving himself, a real and acceptable ever, took a most severe revenge on them: for sacrifice for the sins of rebellious man. Bought getting possession of the fords of Jordan, they with such a price, let us present our bodies and slew great numbers of them; having artfully desouls as a living sacrifice unto God; and look vised to distinguish them by their provincial forward with heartfelt satisfaction to that coun- pronunciation of the Hebrew word Shibboleth, try, where ignorance, error, sin, and sorrow shall which generally signifies a river, or stream of be known no more; where the believer's victory waters: (6. marg. reading and ref. on it:) though will be complete, his triumphs unalloyed and un-sometimes also used for an ear of corn. (Job 24: sullied, and his hallelujahs uninterrupted and eternal.


24.)-How far Jephthah concurred in this cruel revenge cannot be determined; but it was entirely unjustifiable, and exceedingly weakened the common cause of Israel. (Notes, 2 Chr. 13:4CHAP. XII. V. 1-7. Jephthah was a Manas-22. Prov. 17:14. Matt. 12:25,26.) Indeed it is site, and the Ephraimites had the same pretence of quarrelling with him, as their ancestors had for chiding with Gideon: (Note, 11:1,2.) but their resentment vented itself in a more outrageous and abusive manner. We find nothing to blame in Jephthah's answer; but it was not so conciliat-l

wonderful, that the political importance of Ephraim was not ruined by this massacre. (Notes, Gen. 49:22-26. Deut. 33:17.) After this transaction Israel quietly submitted to Jephthah as their judge; but he lived only a short time, and probably had little comfort in his advancement.


15 And Abdon the son of Hillel the || whose name was Manoah: and his wife P Pirathonite died, and was buried in was barren, and bare not. Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, ¶ in the mount of the Amalekites.


srael offends God, and is reduced to serve the Philistines forty years, 1. An Angel appears to Manoah's wife, and promises her a son, who should be a perpetual Nazarite, 2-5. She informs her husband; who prays that the Angel may again ap

pear to instruct them, 6-8. The Angel appears, and by his conduct, especially by ascending in the flame of Manoah's sacritice, discovers who he is, 9-20. Manoah is greatly alarmed, as having seen God; but is encouraged by his wife, 21-23 Samson is born, and is moved by the Spirit of God, 24, 25

ND the children of Israel did evil AND again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.

2 And there was a certain man of

"Zorah, of the family of the Danites,


2 Sam. 23:30.

q 3:13,27. 5.14. Gen. 14:7. Ex. 17.8. 1 Sam. 15:7.

Heb. added to commit, &c.

2:11. 3:7. 4:1. 6:1. 10:6.

a 1 Sam. 12:9.

b Josh. 15:33. 19:41.

V. 9—15. "The mount of the Amalekites," (15) seems to have derived its name from some victory, gained over Amalek in that place by the Ephraimites. (Marg. Ref.)-Many learned men suppose, that these last four judges ruled over the eastern and northern parts of the country; and that Samson and Eli were contemporary with them, judging the southern and western parts.

3 And the Angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.


4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee,
drink not wine nor strong drink,
eat not any
unclean thing:


5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear
a son; and h
no razor 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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which set the world as it were in flames from age to age; and which by horrid carnage gratify that first great murderer, the devil!-Alas! that so many Shibboleths should be invented to divide the church also; to be the watchwords of angry disputants, and the pretext for professed disciples of Christ abusing and persecuting each other! May the Lord incline all his people "to follow after the things which make for peace, and things whereby one may edify another."-Many renowned and envied persons die of broken hearts, on account of personal and domestic afflictions: so that their inward anguish might soften their bitterest enemies into compassion, if they knew the whole.-The Lord is to be acknowledged in giving all our comforts, as well as submitted to when he withholds or withdraws them: but increasing families bring increasing cares and duties, which cannot be neglected without guilt and painful consequences.-In fine, the happiest life of individuals, and the happiest state of society, is that which affords the fewest remarkable events. To live in credit and quiet, to be peacefully useful in our circle, to possess a clear conscience, to enjoy communion with God our Savior while we live, and to die at peace with God and man, form the substance of all that a wise man can desire as to this world.


PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS. While pride prevails, there must be discord and contention: (Note, Prov. 13:10.) and when insolence escapes chastisement, it often grows more abusive. But the haughty and quarrelsome will at length meet with those, who are as ready to revenge their affronts, as others have been to endure them.--Nothing is more foolish than scurrility: without any advantage it rouses the most implacable resentment, and prepares the way for bloodshed. Thus "the tongue, that unruly evil, sets on fire the whole course of nature, and is set on fire of hell." (Note, Jam. 3:3-6.) But they, who are most ready to boast, menace, and revile, generally prove cowardly in real danger: and might have their own reproaches retorted upon them, but that Christians must not "render rail-|| ing for railing."-In the origin or the event of dissension, all parties are commonly to blame: even good men cannot always bear with proper calmness the ingratitude and ill-treatment of those whom they have served; nor have all equally CHAP. XIII. V. 1. These forty years are supthe talent of turning away wrath by a soft an-posed to have begun when Jair judged Israel; swer: and in a just cause we are apt to be hurried on by our passions to unwarrantable lengths; for "the beginning of strife is like the letting forth of water, therefore" let us leave off contention before it be meddled with."-The splendor of men's exploits, and the excellence of their characters, often increase the number and rage of their enemies: nor need any man be surprised, if those who ought to thank, commend, and reward him, and to congratulate him on his success in dangerous attempts to prome the public welfare, should abuse and hate him, and threaten his destruction. No one is prepared to do good in such a world as this, who has not learned to expect and accept evil, as his recompense from man: and to persevere in hope of a better recompense from a gracious God.-But no contentions are so bitter, as those which arise between brethren, or between rivals for honor and precedency. What need have we then to watch and pray against envy, pride, ambition, and those evil tempers, Vou I.


about the same time as the oppression of Gilead by the Ammonites. (Note, 10:3-5.) These had been subdued, but the Philistines still harassed the Israelites, till Samson was arrived at maturity and began their deliverance. (Note, 10:6-9.)

V. 2-5. (Marg. Ref.) The Nazarite's vow was voluntary, and for a limited time; and by the touch of a dead body it was broken, and the specified time must be begun over again. (Notes, Num. 6:2-21.) But Samson was devoted by the Lord's express appointment, to be a Nazarite all the days of his life; and it seems probable that this kind of separation was not so strict, as the voluntary vow. (Notes, 1 Sam. 1:9-11. Luke 1:11–17.)-The infant in the womb, and at the breast, subsists on the same nourishment with the mother; and therefore the mother of Samson was required to observe the same rules as the Nazarite during that period. She would be led to expect something extraordinary, from a child whose birth was attended by such observances: but it was a great trial to the


B. C. 1160.


6 T Then the woman came, and told
her husband, saying, A man of God
came unto me, and his countenance was
like the countenance of an Angel of God,
very terrible: but I asked him not
n his
whence he was, neither told he me

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[Practical Observations.]

8 Then Manoah entreated the LORD,
and said, O my Lord, let the man of God
which thou didst send, come again unto us,
and teach us what we shall do unto the
child that shall be born.

9 And God hearkened to the voice of
Manoah; and the Angel of God came again
unto the woman as she sat in the field:
but Manoah her husband was not with her.
10 And the woman made haste, and ran,
and shewed her husband, and said unto
him, Behold, the man hath appeared
unto me, that came unto me the other day.
11 And Manoah arose, and went after
his wife, and came to the man, and said
unto him, Art thou the man that spakest
unto the woman? And he said, I am.

12 And Manoah said, Now let thy
words come to pass:
how shall we order
the child? and how shall we do unto him?
13 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


k Deut. 33:1. Josh. 14:6. 11 o Job 34:32. Prov. 3:5,6. Acts
Sam. 2:27. 9:6. 1 Kings 17:18,
24. 2 Kings 4:9,16. 1 Tim. 6:


1 Matt. 28:3. Luke 9:29. Acts

m 22. Gen. 28:16,17. Ex. 3:2-

6. Dan. 8:17. 10:5-11. Matt.
28:4. Rev. 1.17.

n 18. Gen. 32:29. Luke 1:19.

p Ps. 65:2. Matt. 7:7-11.

q John 1:41,42. 4:23,29.

Heb. what shall be the man-
ner of the child? Gen. 18:19.
Prov. 4:4, 22:6. Eph. 6:4.

† Or, what shall he do? Heb.
what shall be his work?

faith and patience of all concerned to be informed,
that even the beginning of a deliverance from
their oppressors must be so long waited for.—It is
probable, that Samson was born about the time
when the Philistines began to afflict Israel, as he
did not live to complete their deliverance. (Note,
1.)-It seems, that the law concerning distinction
of meats was not strictly observed at this time, or
Manoah's wife would not have needed a caution
to eat no unclean thing. (4,7,14.)

cometh of the vine, neither let her drink
wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean
thing: all that I commanded her, let her


15 And Manoah said unto the Angel
of the LORD, I pray thee, s let us detain
thee until we shall have made ready a kid
for thee.

16 And the Angel of the LORD 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
tunto the LORD: for Manoah knew not
that he was an Angel of the LORD.

17 And Manoah said unto the Angel of
the LORD, What is thy name, that, when
thy sayings come to pass, we may do thee

18 And the Angel of the LORD said
unto him, "Why askest thou thus after
my name, seeing it is secret?

19 So Manoah took a kid, with a
meat-offering, and offered it upon a rock
unto the LORD: and the Angel y did won-
drously; and Manoah and his wife looked

20 For it came to pass, z when the
flame went up toward heaven from off the
altar, that the Angel of the LORD ascended
in the flame of the altar: and Manoah and
his wife looked on it, and fell on their
faces to the ground.


21 (But the Angel of the LORD did no
more appear to Manoah and to his wife.)
Then Manoah knew that he was an
Angel of the LORD.

22 And Manoah said unto his wife,
We shall surely die, because

seen God.

d we have

r Deut. 12:32. Matt. 28:20. z 2 Kings 2:11. Ps. 47:5. Heb.
John 2:5. 15:14. 2 Thes. 3:4.

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a Gen. 17:3. Lev. 9:24. 1 Chr.
21:16. Ez. 1:28.

Matt. 17:6.

b 6:22. Hos. 12:4,5.

Dan. 10.9.

c Gen. 32:30. Ex. 33:20. Deut.
4:38. 5:26. Is. 6:5.

d John 1:18. 5:37.

in his absence; but only prayed that the same
supposed prophet might be sent to instruct them
in their duty relative to it. This was a genuine
exercise of faith. (Note, Luke 1:34-38.)

V. 10. As the word other is not in the original,
some think that the Angel appeared in the morn-
ing and evening of the same day.

V. 11-14. Marg. Ref.

V. 15, 16. Manoah, not knowing who this mes
senger of God was, seems to have doubted wheth-
er he should prepare him a banquet, or a sacrifice.
V. 6. A man of God.] Marg. Ref.-This sup- For Manoah knew not that he was an Angel of
posed "man of God," or holy prophet, is said to the LORD." This implied, that had he known
have been like an angel; by which it is evident who it was, the thought of offering a burnt-offer-
that angels, as they actually appeared to the peo-ing, though irregular, would not have been in all
ple of God, were not distinguishable in general respects improper: but as he took him only for a
from prophets, except by a more venerable or
majestic appearance: (Note, Acts 6:15.) though in man, it was very wrong. The same would have
the emblematic description of them, in some parts created angel. (Note, Ex. 20:3.)
been equally the case had he been the greatest
of Scripture, they are represented with wings.

V. 8. Manoah did not doubt the performance
of the promise, which had been made to his wife

V. 18–22. The word (",) rendered secret,
signifies Wonderful; and is the same name as is

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given to the Messiah by the prophet. (Is. 9:6.)- tended to, which may conduce to its welfare o In consequence of this intimation Manoah, though body and soul: especially prayer should be offered no priest, offered a burnt-offering upon a rock, in its behalf. For an immortal creature is brought where perhaps some rude altar was hastily pre-into existence, which will be happy or miserable pared; and he was accepted in so doing. Probably for ever; and, being conceived in sin, it cannot fire from the rock consumed the sacrifice.-He be holy or happy, without the regenerating grace "offered it to JEHOVAH, and he did wondrously," of God, and an interest in the great Redeemer.-(there is no word for the Angel in the original of We need also divine direction in respect of the v. 19,) according to the meaning of his name education of our children, lest any of the rules of Wonderful; for in the presence of Manoah and Scripture should be forgotten, mistaken, or neghis wife, he ascended towards heaven with the lected; that, being trained up "in the nurture and flame of fire from off the altar, and by that Mano- admonition of the Lord," there may be a wellah knew him to be the Angel-JEHOVAH, and he grounded hope of their becoming useful to the was afraid, lest death should be the consequence church and to the world.-Happy is it, when marof having "seen God."-From these circum-ried persons possess unreserved confidence in stances the reader will easily collect, whom Ma- each other, and can converse freely together connoah supposed the Angel to have been. (Notes, cerning their spiritual experiences and duties, Gen. 16:10,11,13,14. 32:30. 48:16. Ex. 3:2. 33:20 that they may have the benefit of each other's -23. Josh. 5:13-15. Hos. 12:3-6. John 1:18.) counsel and prayers. The one may suggest hints V. 23. Manoah's wife being, at that time, the and encouragements, which did not occur to the stronger in faith, encouraged her husband, by the other; and those, who at some times, or in some consideration, that the acceptance of their sacri- || respects, are the weakest, may at others prove the fice, united with the promise of a son who should strongest and the wisest.-When we desire to "begin to deliver Israel," assured them of the know the will of God that we may do it, we should Lord's favor. Had he intended to slay them, he pray for instruction with the most unshaken 28would neither, at such a time, have done these surance of its being granted: (Note, James 1:5-8.) wondrous works, nor given them a promise, but perhaps he may see good to teach us by means which must in that case fail of being accomplished. of our inferiors. V. 25. In the camp of Dan.] The tribe of Dan lay next to the land of the Philistines; (Note, Josh. 19:40-48.) but it is uncertain, whether at that time any army of Danites were encamped to preserve the country from depredation, or whether the words should be read Mahanehdan, as in the margin; being the name of a place afterwards mentioned, but which was so called from events prior to the days of Samson. (Notes, 17:1. 18:1, 11,12.) Here, however, he discovered at times such extraordinary courage, strength, and activity, as evidently proceeded from the Spirit of the Lord.


V. 1-7.

V. 8-25.

True spiritual knowledge, grace, and consolation always excite desires, and dictate prayers, for further communications and displays of God's glory to our souls. Those, whom he honors as instruments of good to us, we should honor likewise; yet not in any way derogatory to the glory of the Lord himself."Hospitality without grudg ing" to those who love his name, and a readiness to devote our substance to his glory, are always ornamental to the profession of godliness.-In our best meant actions we are prone to forget or to mistake the truths and precepts of the sacred Oracles, and need reminding of them.-A vain curiosity often supplants our proper attention to practical subjects, especially those which relate to our present duty: but we should be as willing to be

We ought to make haste to keep God's commandments, but to wait patiently for the perform-ignorant of what the Lord is pleased to conceal, ance of his promises: and we should be thankful as to receive whatever he is pleased to teach us. that he has a remnant of servants in all ages. (Note, Deut. 29:29.)-The name of our Lord is These indeed often have trials, which are un- Wonderful and Secret, because it is incomprehenknown to their fellow-creatures, unpitied by them, sible; (Notes, Matt. 11:25-27.) but by his wonor incapable of relief from them; but they have derful works he makes himself known, as far as no sorrows which the Lord does not pity, and none our instruction and encouragement require it, and which he will not remove in the best time and further knowledge would only fill us with selfmanner: and he has various methods of shewing conceit. (Note, I Cor. 8:1--3.) His chief display them the kind notice which he takes of them, till of himself is in the person of Jesus Christ, his cohe sees good to relieve them.-Retirement is al-equal Son; who, having offered on earth one sacways friendly to communion with God, and his rifice for our sins, and being risen from the dead, people are never less alone, than when alone as and ascended into heaven, presents with acceptfar as men are concerned.-Every promise implies ance our spiritual sacrifices, when offered through a correspondent duty; in expecting the perform-faith in his name. Happy are we, when our hearts ance of the one, we must not neglect the other; and affections ascend after the Savior: we may and those who are peculiarly honored of God, then, with pleasure and admiration, contemplate must be proportionably ready to deny themselves the wonders of redeeming love; and every disfor his sake.-If parents desire that their children covery of his glory will awe our souls into deeper should be mortified to fleshly lusts, and devoted to reverence and humiliation. This, however, Satan God, they should be careful to be so themselves. will sometimes attempt to convert into terror and -The parental duty commences even from the discouragement, while we compare the holiness child's conception, and every thing should be at- and majesty of our God with our meanness and


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which the guests explain by means of his wife, 10-18.
kills thirty Philistines, gives their spoil to those who explained
companion, 20.

the riddle, and departs in anger, 19. His wife is given to his ND Samson went down to a Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.



2 And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore get her for me to wife.

3 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.

4 But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines & had dominion over Israel.

5 Then went Samson down, and his

a Gen. 38:12,13. 19:43.

Josh. 15:10.

b Gen. 6:2. 34:2. 2 Sam. 11:2. Job 31:1. Ps. 119.37. 1 John 2:16.

c Gen. 21:21. 24:2,3. 34:4. 38:6.

2 Kings 14.9.

d Gen. 13:8. 24:27.

e 15:18. Gen. 34:14. Ex. 34:12

-16. Deut. 7:2,3. 1 Sam. 14:

6. 16:26,36. 31:4. 2 Sam. 1:20.

Heb. she is right in mine


f Josh. 11:20. 1 Kings 12:15.
2 Kings 6:33. 2 Chr. 10:15, 22:
7. 25:20. Ps. 115:3.

g 13:1. 15:11. Deut. 23:48.

father and his mother, to Timnath, and
came to the vineyards of Timnath: and
behold a young lion roared against him.
6 And the Spirit of the LORD came
mightily upon him, 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.
7 And he went down, and talked with
the woman; and she pleased Samson

8 And after a time he returned 1 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.

9 And he took thereof in his hands,

and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them, that he had taken the honey out of the carcass

of the lion.

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pollution. (Notes, Is. 6:5. 57:15,16.) But he will be rendered "it is right," and considered as an innot cast off those who are humbly determined, if timation, that it was from God; upon which his they must perish, to perish supplicating his mercy: parents consented and went with him.—But perhaving spared them when enemies, and taught haps it is only meant, that it pleased God to leave them to value his salvation, he will answer their Samson to follow his own inclinations, intending prayers, dispel their fears, and fulfil his largest in his infinite wisdom to over-rule his misconduct promises. The gospel itself, and the means of for good to Israel; and that his parents consented grace afforded us, are hopeful tokens that the because he was fully bent upon it. (Marg. Ref. f.) Lord favors us: but if we have been taught to love-Uncircumcised, &c. (3) Marg, Ref. e. the gospel, and to fear nothing so much as coming V. 5, 6. Samson, when at a distance from his short of the salvation of Christ; if we have learn- parents, was assaulted by a young lion, which was ed to delight in his ordinances and commandments, come to its full strength and fierceness: yet, and have received evident answers to our prayers; though unarmed, he rent it as a kid; because "the we may be sure that "the LORD has not appointed Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him." But us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord he did not mention the extraordinary exploit to Jesus Christ."-When children possess health, his parents, either restrained by modesty, or being with the use of their limbs, senses, and under- afraid of exciting the jealousy of the Philistines. standings, parents have abundant cause for grat- This was an earnest of his subsequent victories, itude: but most of all, when they give early indi-not by human might or power, but by the Spirit cations, that the Holy Spirit is working upon their tender minds, and preparing them for the service of God. This let us in the first place desire, seek, and pray for; and may this blessing be widely bestowed upon the rising generation.


CHAP. XIV. V. 1-4. Many think, that Samson was induced to contract this marriage by special direction from the Lord: such marriages not being immoral in themselves, but forbidden to the Israelites, to keep them separate from idolaters. (Note, Hos. 1:2,3.) In this manner he was directed to seek occasion against the Philistines: yet he shewed his respect to his parents, by seeking their concurrence; who opposed his marriage as long as "they knew not that it was of the LORD." For the words translated, "she pleaseth me well," may

of the Lord. (Note, Zech. 4:47.)-Thus David slew a lion and a bear, before he killed Goliath and subdued the enemies of Israel: (Note, 1 Sam. 17:34-37.) and Jesus Christ, ere he entered upon his public ministry, and on the cross before his ascension, overcame "the devil, that roaring lion, which walketh about seeking whom he may devour."

V. 8, 9. A swarm of bees had settled in the carcass of the lion, and collected honey there, which was a most unlikely place for that purpose; being, as might have been supposed, both inconvenient, and offensive to that delicate insect, which draws honey from the most odoriferous flowers and plants. This Samson found, when he turned aside to see the carcass, and perhaps again to thank God for his deliverance.--As every remains of a dead carcass of an unclean animal was polluting, it has been thought that Samson did not

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