Israel is in Philistine bondage for forty years. An angel comes to Manoah’s wife and promises a son who will begin to deliver Israel. The angel instructs Samson’s parents to raise him as a Nazarite. Samson is born, and the Spirit of the Lord moves upon him.
1 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.
2 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.
3 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.
4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:
5 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. . . .
24 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him.
25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.
Elder James E. Talmage wrote:
“A Nazarite, the name signifying consecrated or separated, was one, who by personal vow or by that made for him by his parents, was set apart to some special labor or course of life involving self-denial. . . . Smith’s Comprehensive Dictionary of the Bible says: ‘There is no notice in the Pentateuch of Nazarites for life; but the regulations for the vow of a Nazarite of days are given (Numbers 6:1–2). The Nazarite, during the term of his consecration, was bound to abstain from wine, grapes, and every production of the vine, and from every kind of intoxicating drink. He was forbidden to cut the hair of his head, or to approach any dead body, even that of his nearest relation.’ The sole instance of a Nazarite for life named in the scriptures is that of Samson, whose mother was required to put herself under Nazarite observances prior to his birth, and the child was to be a Nazarite to God from his birth (Judges 13:3–7, 14).”
(Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. , 87–88.)