Many of the names are followed by their Hebrew meanings in bracketed text.
The Israelites [the power or might of God] spent forty years in the hands of the Philistines [ones who crawl in the dust] because they did evil in the eyes of the Lord. –
In the beginning when mankind sinned, Satan was condemned to crawl in the dust because of his participation in the fall (). The Philistines represent his agents that are battling against us. Even the name “Philistine” means “ones who crawl in the dust.” It’s as though God refers to them here as “sons of Satan.” At the fall God committed His entire creation into the hands of Satan and it has been groaning ever since ( ).
One of those special prophecy numbers is “forty”; it conveys the idea of testing to the maximum limit. It’s typical in Bible prophecy for a number to be used to connect common themes. Often the units (days, weeks, years) that are associated with the number tend to vary to fit the event. Noah experienced forty days and nights of rain when the earth was flooded. Moses had three forty year periods in his life: from birth to leaving the Pharaoh’s house, then forty years being prepared to lead Israel; and finally forty years from the time of the Exodus until his death when Israel was to cross into the promised land. For Christians, the most notable period of testing is when Jesus was tempted for forty days in the desert (, , ). Each of these are examples of testing.
Samson’s [the sunlight’s] father, Manoah [peace and rest], was from the tribe of Dan [the judge] and the town of Zorah [painful sting]. –
To understand this part of the allegory, it would be translated to be something like: Jesus is the true light. His Father gives both peace and rest, but it is conditional. That peace and rest is only for those who please the Father by putting their trust in His Son (). God reconciled man to Himself ( ), yet He is still the Almighty Judge who will either give eternal life or let the wages of sin [painful sting of death] remain ( , ).
His mother couldn’t give birth naturally. –
Jesus did not enter the world in the natural way. Mary, His mother, conceived supernaturally while she was still a virgin (). About the same time, His aunt Elizabeth also gave birth supernaturally to John the Baptist ( ). (John is also important to this story, but we’ll look at that in just a little while.)
Samson was to become a Nazirite [holy or separate] and as such he would never have a razor [remove or destroy] touch his head [authority or rank]. –
The Christmas story that we hear repeated each year tells about Joseph and Mary traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Bethlehem was the city of their “father” David. And as such, it was their home town. Jesus’ human father, Joseph, was from the town of Nazareth; so Jesus was able to call it was his home town, too ().
Now we know that Jesus is true Holy One who is above all and has authority as the Head of the church as well as Lord and King of the entire world (). There is nothing that He would do that would cause His authority to be taken away from Him.
He was going to begin the delivery [separation] of Israel [the power of God] from the Philistines [those who crawl in the dust]. –
Samson was going to deliver Israel from the Philistines. Similarly, Jesus began establishing the Kingdom of Heaven by separating a people of His own from the rest of the world. This separate people were not just Israelites ().
Samson’s mother, the one who introduced him into the world, was not to defile herself. –
In this allegory, we have two people that bring Jesus into the world. Physically, the undefiled Mary (a virgin) brought Jesus into the world. But spiritually, it is John the Baptist that parallels the role of Samson’s mother by introducing Jesus as “the Lamb of God.” (). Neither John nor his mother were to defile themselves with idols or wine ( ). The reason was so that his skeptics would have no grounds to doubt his testimony.
Evidently, the significance of the announcer was to be minimal in comparison to the one being announced. That is shown twice. First, the name of Samson’s mother is omitted. Secondly, John said that his name was not important; He was merely “the voice of one calling in the wilderness.” He also said that he should become less and Jesus become more ().
Samson’s birth was announced by an angel [messenger of God]. – , ,
The births of Isaac, Samson, John and others were announced by angels. But the most glorious angelic announcement on this earth was the birth of Jesus ().
The angel who appeared to Manoah spoke with authority when he said “I AM.” –. He described his name as “Beyond Understanding” or “Wonderful.” –
The angel that spoke of Samson’s birth was God’s messenger. Both this angel and Jesus had similar names or titles: “I AM” and “Wonderful.” The word “angel” means messenger. So it’s quite possible that Samson’s birth was actually announced by Jesus. It’s most astounding that Jesus referred to Himself as being the “I AM” who was present with Abraham ()! And the prophet Isaiah referred to Him as Wonderful ( ).
Samson’s mother had faith that God was pleased with her and her husband. –
Just as God was pleased with Samson’s “announcers,” He was also pleased with those who brought Jesus to the attention of the world. God found favor with Mary () and Jesus expressed God’s esteem for John when He said there was no one in this world greater than John ( ).
Samson’s ministry began at Mahaneh [encampment] between Eshtaol [requirements] and Zorah [the painful sting]. –
Samson began in a tent between two cities. Jesus began his ministry when He dwelled (camped) here on earth in a human body or tent (). From His very conception, He kept all of the requirements of the law (like the name Eshtaol implies) and remained without sin ( ). And at the end of His earthly life He took the sting –the wages of sin which is death– for each one of us ( ).