Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
The Philistines have been mentioned as oppressors of Israel in Jdg 3:31; Jdg 10:7, Jdg 10:11; and the Israelite worship of the gods of the Philistines is spoken of in Jdg 10:6. But this is the first time that we have any detailed history in connection with the Philistines. They continned to be the prominent enemies of Israel until the time of David.
Forty years - The Philistine dominion began before the birth of Samson Jdg 13:5, and was in force during Samson's twenty years' judgeship Jdg 14:4; Jdg 15:20. The 40 years are, therefore, about coincident with Samson's life.
Zorah - See the marginal reference.
His wife was barren - To mark more distinctly the high providential destiny of the child that was eventually born. Compare the similar circumstances of the birth of Isaac, Jacob, Samuel, and John the Baptist.
A Nazarite - See the marginal reference. and note. The common Nazarite vow was for a limited time, like Paul's Act 18:18; Act 21:23-26. Others, like Samuel Sa1 1:11, were Nazarites for life.
A man of God - The designation of a prophet, of frequent use in the books of Samuel and Kings Sa1 2:27; Sa1 9:6-8, Sa1 9:10; Kg1 12:22; Kg1 13:1, Kg1 13:5-6, Kg1 13:11, and applied to Timothy by Paul in the New Testament Ti1 6:11; Ti2 3:17.
His countenance - Rather, "his appearance," as the word is rendered in Dan 10:18.
Translate, "What shall be the manner (or ordering) of the child, and what shall be his work (or exploits)." The original message of the Angel had given information on these two points:
(1) how the child was to be brought up, namely, as a Nazarite;
(2) what he should do, namely, begin to deliver Israel.
Manoah desires to have the information repeated (compare Sa1 17:26-27, Sa1 17:30). Accordingly, in Jdg 13:13 the Angel refers to, and enlarges upon, his former injunctions.
Compare Num 6:4. In both passages the vine is described by the somewhat unusual though more accurate term, "vine of the wine" - the grape-bearing vine - to distinguish it from the wild cucumber vine Kg2 4:39, or other plants to which the name vine was applied.
The language of Manoah, like that of Gideon Jdg 6:18, seems to indicate some suspicion that his visitor was more than human. The word rendered "made ready," is also the proper word for "offering a sacrifice," and is so used by the Angel in the next verse. By which it appears that the Angel understood Manoah to speak of offering a kid as a burnt-offering. Hence, his caution, "thou must offer it unto the Lord." (Compare Rev 19:10; Rev 22:8; Act 10:25-26.)
Do thee honor - If applied to a man, it would be by gifts, such for instance as Balak promised to the prophet Balaam Num 22:17, and such as were usually given to seers Sa1 9:7-8; Kg2 5:5, Kg2 5:15 : if to God, it would be by sacrifices Isa 43:23.
Secret - Rather, "wonderful," as in the margin. In Jdg 13:19 the Angel "did wondrously," probably as the Angel that Appeared to Gideon had done, bringing fire from the rock. See the marginal references and notes.
Samson - The etymology is doubtful. Perhaps it comes from a word signifying "to minister," in allusion to his Nazaritic consecration to the service of God.
In the camp of Dan - Rather, "Mahaneh-Dan" (see the margin). The impulses of the Spirit of the Lord perhaps took the shape of burning indignation at the subjection of his brethren, and thoughts and plans for their deliverance, but especially showed themselves in feats of strength (Jdg 14:6; Jdg 15:14; Jdg 16:30. Compare Act 7:23-25).