The Angel and Manoah.[a] 1 The Israelites once again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. The Lord delivered them over into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.
2 There was a certain man from Zorah, named Manoah, who was a Danite. His wife was barren and childless. 3 The angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and childless, but you will conceive and have a son. 4 Make sure you do not drink any wine or strong drink. Do not eat any unclean thing, 5 for you will conceive and have a son. No razor is ever to touch his head, for he will be a Nazirite,[b] one dedicated to God from the womb. He will begin the deliverance of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines.”
6 The woman went and told her husband, “A man of God has visited me. He looked like an angel of God, truly wondrous. I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. 7 He said to me, ‘Behold, you will conceive and have a son. Do not drink any wine or strong drink. Do not eat anything unclean, for from the womb until the day he dies he will be a Nazirite of God.’ ”
8 Manoah prayed to the Lord, “O Lord, let the man of God whom you sent to us visit us again so that he might teach us how to raise the child who is to be born.”
9 God listened to Manoah, and the angel of God visited the woman again when she was out in the fields, but Manoah, her husband, was not with her. 10 The woman quickly ran to tell her husband, “Behold, the man who appeared to me the other day is here.”
11 Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the man who spoke to my wife?” He answered, “I am.” 12 Manoah asked him, “When your words are fulfilled, how should we treat the child?” 13 The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Your wife must do the things I said to her. 14 She cannot eat any of the products of the vine nor drink any strong drink nor eat anything unclean. She is to do everything that I commanded her to do.”
15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Would you please stay here until we prepare a kid goat for you?” 16 The angel of the Lord answered Manoah, “Even though you hold me here, I will not eat anything. If you prepare a burnt offering, offer it up to the Lord.” (Manoah did not realize that it was an angel of the Lord.) 17 Manoah asked the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that we can honor you when these things happen?” 18 [c]The angel of the Lord answered, “Why do you ask me my name? It is a mystery.”
19 Manoah took a young goat together with a grain offering and he offered them up to the Lord on a rock. He did a wondrous thing as Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 As the flames rose up from the altar into the heavens, the angel of the Lord rose up from the altar in the flames as Manoah and his wife looked on. They fell prostrate on the ground.
21 When the angel of the Lord did not appear again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it had been an angel of the Lord. 22 Manoah said to his wife, “We will surely die, for we have seen God!” 23 But his wife answered, “If the Lord wanted to kill us, then he would not have accepted the burnt offering and the grain offering from our hands, nor would he have revealed all of these things, nor would he have told us these things.”
24 The woman gave birth to a son whose name was Samson. The child grew and the Lord blessed him. 25 The Spirit of the Lord began to stir in him while he was in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
- Judges 13:1 The Philistines, new arrivals in the region, acted as masters of southern Palestine. Israel was under the control of these well-armed warriors and could no longer do anything. The story of Samson brings together some episodes reflecting this situation, which would continue to have its tragic effects until the time of David.
- Judges 13:5 Nazirite: one who was consecrated to God by a vow. Sometimes, like Samson and John the Baptist, the consecration pre-dated their birth. Prohibitions against wine and other vine products (Num 6:3), and against a shaved head (Num 6:5), had serious consequences for Samson later in his life.
- Judges 13:18 Mystery: the angel’s name is beyond knowing. Manoah dedicates his offering to the Lord who “did a wondrous thing.”