The Coming of SamsonBy Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
The Jews slacked off again, so G-d allowed the Philistines to take over for forty years. A man named Manoach, from the Tribe of Dan, had no children. An angel appeared to Manoach’s wife and told her that she would have a child who would begin to save the nation from Philistine oppression; he would be a nazir (nazirite) from birth, so he should never eat grapes or drink wine and his hair should be grown long and never cut. The woman told Manoach that a prophet had spoken to her; he prayed for the messenger to come again. The angel returned and repeated his message. Manoach offered to prepare a goat for the guest, who they presumed to be human. The angel had them prepare it as a sacrifice, which was consumed by a Heavenly fire. When the messenger disappeared, they realized he was actually an angel. The woman gave birth and called the baby Shimshon (Samson).
It’s interesting that the part of the prophecy about Samson saving the Jews from the Philistines was only told by the angel to the woman. Neither the angel nor the woman told it to Manoach. The woman was concerned that if that part of the prophecy became known, the Philistines would try to kill the child. Therefore, it was just for her ears.
Samson was going to be a different kind of fighter. Rather than leading armies in battle, he was a guerilla warrior. He got involved in fights with the Philistines that resembled personal disputes as an excuse to harm them without having them take revenge on the Jews as a whole. We will see the Navi note that Samson’s often bizarre behavior was motivated by Hashem for this purpose.