Make Your Mark

Brad Gray

Chapter 1 — Under the Sea

Samson’s Nazirite Calling

Notes

  1. Infertility was a devastating reality for those in the ancient world, and it’s a devastating reality for those today. Having experienced a second trimester miscarriage prior to having our first child, there was a period of time when my wife and I didn’t know if we’d be able to have kids. It was a time of frustration, perplexity, and anxiety. And so when one learns that every barren woman in the Bible eventually has a child (or multiple children), one naturally begins to asks questions such as, “What are we doing wrong?” or “Is God punishing us in some way?” or “Are we not praying hard enough?” Let me offer a few clarifications. First, barrenness is never said to be a result of sin (Jesus addresses a similar idea in John 9:1–3). We are never given answers as to why these women were infertile. Second, in each case of these women in the Bible, God shows up to demonstrate His involvement in advancing the larger story. And third, to piggyback what was stated in the main text, every one of the boys (with the exception of the Shunnamite’s son) born to these women grows up to be a very important individual in the story of Israel. Which demonstrates that God gives children to these women not only for their joy but ultimately for His greater purposes. For a more complete discussion, see K. T. Magnuson, “Childlessness,” in New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, eds. T. Desmond Alexander, Brian S. Rosner, D. A. Carson, and Graeme Goldsworthy (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2000), 404–7.
  2. We don’t know what became of the Shunnamite’s son other than the fact that Elisha raised him from the dead (see 2 Kings 4).
  3. See Judges 13:5, 7.
  4. See 1 Samuel 1 and Luke 1.
  5. I am most grateful to Kenneth Bailey, who in a lecture I attended shared the analogy of having views of the biblical text from the beach and from under the ocean. Little did I realize I would experience this analogy in real life, and that it would profoundly alter my way of see‐ ing the stories in the Bible.

Make Your Mark by Brad Gray

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FaithWords

FaithWords publishes books for Christians reflecting a range of denominations and perspectives. We are a Hachette Book Group imprint -Tweet/DM for review copies