Around the year 2790 – 971 b.c.e., the Bnai Yisroel were subject to the rule of the Pilishtim. In the year 2810 – 951, Shimshon became the Judge – Shofet of the nation and served his people as both their greatest Tzadik and greatest warrior. This week’s Haftorah tells the story of Manoach and his wife, the parents of Shimshon (Shoftim Cap. 13).
Manoach’s wife was barren, and in response to her Tefilos, Hashem sent an Angel, disguised as a man, to tell Manoach’s wife of her impending pregnancy. The child would have to be a Nazir from the moment of his conception, and he would grow up to save the Jews from their enemies.
Manoach requested from Hashem that the “man” appear a second time, and the Angel appeared a second time. The same instructions were repeated to both Manoach and his wife, after which Manoach invited the “man” to join them for a meal. The “man” refused the invitation but suggested to Manoach that he offer a Korban to Hashem. Manoach did so, and as the flame rose to consume the offering, the “man” entered the flames and disappeared. Manoach and his wife then realized that the “man” was really an Angel, and understood the divine significance of their, yet to be born, child.
The connection to our Parsha is the fact that Shimshon was to be a Nazir. The commentaries explain that in contrast to the laws of the Sotah – the accused adulteress, it was the merit of Manoach’s wife which brought about the birth of Shimshon.
Shimshon is among the most difficult figures in Jewish history to understand. For a comprehensive presentation and explanation see, “Samson’s Struggle”, by Rabbi Gershon Weiss.