For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2001 James Melough


Samson is rarely perceived as a type of Christ - some commentators have even gone so far as to state adamantly that he is not such a type - but it is to be noted that in Heb 13 he is included in God’s list of heroes who are specifically declared to have been men and women of faith.  There were sin and failure in his life, as there were in the life of David, for example, and of virtually all the types, but a careful study of his life leaves no doubt that he is indeed a very clear type of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is to be noted further that his name means little sun: sunlight, and few will fail to see the parallel with the fact that the One he typifies is called “the light of the world,” Jn 8:12.  See also the many references to Christ’s being light in John chapter 1, and in Mal 4:2 where He is described as “the Sun of righteousness.”

“And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not,” Jgs 13:2.

Here we are introduced to those who were to be the parents of the deliverer of Israel, and the points of similarity between them and Joseph and Mary are too obvious to miss.  First there is the barrenness of the wife, a condition that rendered the birth of the deliverer impossible apart from the miraculous intervention of God.  The virginity of Mary likewise precluded the possibility of her giving birth to the Deliverer apart from the intervention of God.

Then there is the fact that it was the woman who first received the angelic communication, Manoah himself being addressed only after he had prayed for instruction concerning the training of the promised child.  So was it with Joseph.  He was addressed only after the announcement had been made to Mary.

The name of the place where Manoah dwelt also contributes instruction, for Zorah means she was smitten with leprosy, but since leprosy is a type of sin, we are reminded that Joseph, like Isaiah, could well have said, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips....” Isa 6:5.  Joseph also dwelt spiritually in “Zorah,” i.e., in a place “smitten with leprosy (sin),” in the midst of a sinful people.

Manoah was “of the family of the Danites,” and inasmuch as Dan means judging: a judge, we are reminded that while Joseph was literally of the tribe of Judah, he was spiritually also a Danite, for all the tribes of Israel were under divine judgment because of their sin, yet there was in the midst of that judged and sinful nation a small remnant, including such as Joseph, Mary, Simeon, Anna, etc., who judged themselves and sought to walk obediently before God.  Manoah and his wife appear to have been a part of that godly remnant in their own day.

“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.  Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: for, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and 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,”  Jgs 13:3-5.

The announcement to Mary in Lk 1:31 was, “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son.”  The parallel is too obvious to require comment.

The law governing the Nazarite is recorded in Numbers 6:1-21, and may be summarized briefly: wine and strong drink were forbidden, as was any product of the vine; the hair was not to be cut; a dead body was not to be touched.

The purity personified by the Nazarite was God’s ideal for Samson, but the son of Manoah defiled himself in all three areas: he touched the dead body of the lion, Jgs 14:10; it is to be presumed that the feast he prepared in 14:10 included also drinking wine and strong drink; he had illicit relations with a harlot, 16:1; and in 16:19 he allowed his hair to be cut.  This is in stark contrast with the true Nazarite, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who glorified God in His perfect sinless life as a man on the earth.  (It is to be noted here that the Lord was not a literal Nazarite.  He drank wine; and the fact that “they plucked the hairs from his face” rather than from His head, implies that, as was the custom among men, His hair was short, even though the artists would have us believe it was long.  Whether He ever touched a dead body is uncertain, for in regard to Jairus’ daughter whom He did touch, He Himself said that she was not dead, but sleeping, Mk 5:39, and it is to be noted that the word used in connection with her sleeping is different from that used in connection with Lazarus.

These instances of failure on Samson’s part, however, do not exclude him from the list of those who are types of Christ, any more than do the instances of failure in the lives of David and the others who are also types in spite of the imperfection of their lives.  In using men as types of Christ, the Holy Spirit has been selective, choosing the good that He can use, and ignoring the sin which He can’t.

“... and he shall begin to deliver Israel.”  Samson would only begin to deliver, but sadly, he never completed that work.  God, however, would have us see in that partial deliverance a foreshadowing of the complete deliverance wrought by Christ. Having perfectly completed the work of deliverance, “He said, It is finished,” Jn 19:30.

“But he said unto me (Samson’s mother), Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death,” Jgs 13:7.  This reference to his death carries us forward to Jgs 16:30, where we read that, “the dead which he (Samson) slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life,” reminding us that the mighty victory won by the true Samson was accomplished by His dying on Calvary’s cross.  Christ was born to die, because, apart from His death, there could be no remission of sin.

A further discussion of Samson as a type of Christ will be available next week, God willing.

For a detailed discussion of Samson as a type of Christ, please consult Judges chapters 13-16, also available on this Web site.


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough