Let’s begin by reading Judges 13:2-7, “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. 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 rasor 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. Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name: But he said unto me, 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.” Along with that, let’s read Judges 13:24, “And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.”

Samson was to be a “Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.” A Nazarite was one who vowed to be separate to the Lord and accept the conditions of being a Nazarite. We read in Numbers 6:2-8, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD: He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk. All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no rasor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body. He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head. All the days of his separation he is holy unto the LORD.”

Although Samson was a Nazarite from the womb, this vow was normally taken voluntarily by someone who desired to serve and honor the Lord. Three things were particularly commanded of the Nazarite.

  1. The Nazarite was not allowed to partake of any grape or products produced from the grape, such as wine or strong drink. This illustrates turning away from earthly joy. We read in Psalm 104:15, “And winemaketh glad the heart of man…”
  2. No razor should come upon his head. This typifies the denial of self. 1 Corinthians 11:14 teaches us, “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?” The Nazarite gives up his natural rights and respectabilities as a man. He does not look for the world’s approval.
  3. The Nazarite was not allowed to touch a dead body. This symbolizes contact with moral defilement.

Since Samson was a Nazarite, this is why he was not allowed to eat grapes. While we do not take the vow of the Nazarite today, I suggest that we commit ourselves to become ‘spiritual Nazarites’ by living lives separated to God; by denying ourselves worldly pleasures; by not looking for the world’s approval; and by refraining from defiling ourselves with immoral conduct. This conduct will honor the Lord as we seek to please Him and live solely for Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. (166.7)