Judges 13:24, 25: Samson's Birth and Youth

Verse 24:[1] And the woman bare a son, and called his name (Heb. 11:32) Samson: and (1 Sam. 3:19; Luke 1:80; 2:52) the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.


[And called[2]] Understanding, his mother:[3] For the verb is feminine (Vatablus, Drusius, Piscator). Almost everywhere in the Scripture names are given by the mothers (Bonfrerius).


[Samson, שִׁמְשׁוֹן] It signifies, either, little sun[4] (Lapide, Bonfrerius, Malvenda), who began to dawn for the deliverance of the Israelites (Malvenda), in the darkness of mourning and idolatry (Bonfrerius): or, a minister,[5] namely, of God, to accomplish great works (Lapide).


And the LORD blessed him, that is, endowed him with all those graces and gifts of mind and body which were necessary for the work he was designed for.


Verse 25:[6] (Judg. 3:10; 1 Sam. 11:6; Matt. 4:1) And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan (Heb. Mahaneh-dan,[7] as in Judg. 18:12) (Josh. 15:33; Judg. 18:11) between Zorah and Eshtaol.


[And the spirit of the Lord began to be with him, לְפַעֲמוֹ[8]] [They render it variously.] Occasionally to stir him (Pagnine, Montanus, Tigurinus); to strengthen (Jonathan, Drusius), that is, to obtain strength for him (Drusius); to promove (Syriac); to invigorate (Arabic); to go out with him (Septuagint). To lead, to impel him, that is, so that by stratagems and other marks of military industry, even as preludes, he might exhibit to his fellow citizens an uncommon appearance, that he in the future was going to be a surpassingly excellent hero and savior of the people of God (certain interpreters in Malvenda). Nevertheless, these deeds would be of the sort not commemorated (Osiander). The sense: God began to make use of the vigor of young Samson to order those things that would give occasion for him to contend with the Philistines (Junius). He began to drive, or impel, that is, to undertake hostile actions against the Philistines; as it is evident from what follows. It is a Metaphor taken from the strokes of an artisan, with which they beat metals upon an anvil; whence the anvil is named by an appellation related to this word, namely, פַּעַם, Isaiah 41:7[9] (Piscator).


To move him at times, that is, to stir him up to heroical designs; to show forth his power in him in the frame of his mind, and in the strength of his body, discovered to his neighbours in extraordinary actions; to incline his heart to great attempts to the help and deliverance of God’s people; and to give some essays of it to his brethren, and to seek all opportunities for it, as he did in the next chapter.


[In the camp of Dan] This place was named from that expedition of the Danites in Judges 18:11 (Junius, Vatablus, Malvenda). Nevertheless, you should not suppose that there is a prolepsis here, for that expedition of the Danites had far preceded these times of Samson (Bonfrerius).


In the camp of Dan; a place so called, either from the expedition of the Danites, Judges 18:11, 12; which though placed after this history, was done before it; or from some other camp which the Danites had formed there at this time, to give some check to the incursions of the Philistines.


[Between Zorah and Eshtaol] The possession of the Danites in this place was insinuating itself withing the confines of Judah. See 1 Chronicles 2:53 (Grotius).

[1] Hebrew: וַתֵּ֤לֶד הָֽאִשָּׁה֙ בֵּ֔ן וַתִּקְרָ֥א אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ שִׁמְשׁ֑וֹן וַיִּגְדַּ֣ל הַנַּ֔עַר וַֽיְבָרְכֵ֖הוּ יְהוָֽה׃


[2] Hebrew: וַתִּקְרָא.


[3] That is, she called.


[4] That is, שֶֹמֶשׁ/sun with the diminuative ending (וֹן-).


[5] From שַׁמָּשׁ, an attendant or servant.


[6] Hebrew: וַתָּ֙חֶל֙ ר֣וּחַ יְהוָ֔ה לְפַעֲמ֖וֹ בְּמַחֲנֵה־דָ֑ן בֵּ֥ין צָרְעָ֖ה וּבֵ֥ין אֶשְׁתָּאֹֽל׃


[7] Hebrew: בְּמַחֲנֵה־דָן.


[8] פָּעַם signifies to thrust or impel.


[9] Isaiah 41:7a: “So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil (פָּעַם), saying, It is ready for the sodering…”

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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