The story of Samson, whether based entirely on fact or resulting in part from the embellishments of hero worship, still retains many elements of permanent interest and value. His fantastic deeds of almost superhuman prowess (see Judg. 15:4–6, 15; 16:3, 29, 30) may have the quality of folklore, but interwoven in the account is information concerning Hebrew history and custom that cannot be classified as mere legend. Moreover, as both a Nazarite and a judge, Samson merits serious consideration.
Like Isaac and Samuel in the Old Testament and John the Baptist and even Jesus in the New, Samson was a child of promise. His mother, the wife of Manoah, who came from Dan on the borders of Philistia, had long been childless, but "the angel of the Lord" announced that she would bear a son (Judg. 13:3). Not only was her son to be raised as a Nazarite, but she herself, during her period of pregnancy, was to be subject in some degree to the strict Nazaritic regulations, such as refraining from eating any food considered as technically unclean and from drinking any intoxicating liquors or any product of the vine, whether fermented or otherwise. The basic requirement of the Nazarite vow (see Num. 6:1–21) was complete devotion to the service of God. The further demand was that the Nazarite's hair must never be shorn.
With Samson's birth there came renewed indications of the nature of his work, that of delivering "Israel out of the hand of the Philistines" (Judg. 13:5), and of the divine guidance awaiting his acceptance, for the Lord blessed the child, and soon "the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan" (verse 25).