Title: Judges 13. Samson part 2 - The Angel of the Lord visits Samson's parents.
JDG 13:1 Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, so that the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines forty years [from the birth of Samson to the battle of Ebenezer in 1Sa 7].
Along with the curses that the captured ark spread upon the Philistines, God raised up Samson, the capstone of the judges, endowed by the Spirit with supernatural physical strength.
Samson's cycle is unique in the book of Judges in a number of ways.
Samson as an individual is a type of the condition of Israel during this age.
Samson was a mirror for Israel to look into. His strength lay only in being a Nazirite (separated unto God) and his weakness in his carnal lust.
Israel was just like this. They were God's elect nation and were to live their lives separated or sanctified unto God, and when they did they were strong, and no enemy, no matter how powerful or numerous, could stand before them. When Israel pursued their carnal lust, as they so often did when they worshipped false gods, they grew incredibly weak and there was no depth of depravity that they would not sink to.
JDG 13:2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had borne no children.
JDG 13:3 Then the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman, and said to her, "Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son.
The angel of the Lord is the Son of God manifesting Himself (theophany) as a man in the OT in order to enforce His purpose.
JDG 13:4 Now therefore, be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing.
JDG 13:5 For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines."
"Nazirite to God from the womb" - the Nazirite vow (Num 6) was not Samson's choice, but put on him by God even in the womb, as his mother lived under its restrictions, and the vow was placed upon him for his entire life.
Nazirite vow: dedication of life unto Yavah. The Angel of the Lord came to reveal to Israel through Samson that in returning to dedication, deliverance would come.
This is not to say that they all were to become Nazirites. The Nazirite vow was for a special dedication, but dedication unto the Lord and His law was to be in the hearts of all the people all the time. The abstaining from wine and not cutting the hair were symbols of a more strict dedication to the Lord for a period, either in thanksgiving to the Lord or in seeking the Lord more fully or in fulfilling a special vow.
The fact that this final judge would be a Nazirite was a call to Israel to turn their hearts from idols to devotion to God and His law. If they did, they would be strong.
It must be remembered that being a Nazirite is what qualifies his strength. God performs His power in Samson while he is under the particulars of the Nazirite vow.
JDG 13:6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, "A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. And I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name.
"A man of God" is an expression used to denote a prophet. She doesn't yet know who the man is, much like Gideon didn't know him either. She describes Him as being "like the appearance of the angel of God," which is equivalent to the phrase "angel of the Lord," and that He was "very awesome."
"very awesome" - meod nowra = exceedingly fearful. This person's appearance struck fear and awe within her.
Nowra has the root verb yare which means to fear, to stand in fear or awe.
JDG 13:7 But he said to me, 'Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.'"
JDG 13:8 Then Manoah entreated the Lord and said, "O Lord, please let the man of God whom Thou hast sent come to us again that he may teach us what to do for the boy who is to be born."
I think it says a lot about Manoah that he believes her. He must thoroughly trust his wife and he must be a man of faith since he is not unbelieving that a prophet of God would come to them and announce that his barren wife would have a child. He believes that God is going to open his wife's womb.
He immediately inquires of God in prayer. All of these things are great indicators of his faith. It is likely that his wife is of the same strength of faith, making them together a part of the remnant of faithful believers in Israel who were always there no matter how deep the apostasy of the nation dove.
It is refreshing to see faithful believers in Israel.
Manoah and his wife are Israelites faithful to Yavah and part of the remnant of believers that were always in Israel.
There is always such a remnant in the church, no matter how depraved and compromising is the church at large.
Once he digests the account of the meeting of the man of God with his wife, Manoah soon understands that if God is going to open his wife's womb, then the child must have a divine purpose. This is another sign of his faith, not just currently, but his faith is also in the scriptures. He likely is thinking of Abraham and Sarah and knowing in the historical acts of God that He purposes to use those whom He has consecrated from the womb.
Manoah is a willing servant of the Lord who inquires as to what are his obligations to God when the child is born.
The call to sire a child dedicated to the Lord is sudden. So often, God calls to a task very suddenly. We don't have the time nor the information to ponder the value or cost of the task. It is upon us to be willing to do anything that God calls us to; yielding our will to His. Manoah and his wife's lives are going to be changed in a way they would have never expected. But as we can see, the will of God is more important to them than their human desire to resist change, especially drastic, sudden change.
He asks for the man of God to come back to them and instruct them and God grants the request. As we will see, if they knew who the "man of God" was, they wouldn't have asked for Him to come back. It was firmly believed that if you saw God you would die since that is what God said to Moses on Sinai.
JDG 13:9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again to the woman as she was sitting in the field, but Manoah her husband was not with her.
JDG 13:10 So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, "Behold, the man who came the other day has appeared to me."
JDG 13:11 Then Manoah arose and followed his wife, and when he came to the man he said to him, "Are you the man who spoke to the woman?" And he said, "I am."
JDG 13:12 And Manoah said, "Now when your words come to pass, what shall be the boy's mode of life and his vocation?"
Manoah has absolute faith that the man's prophecy will come to pass.
JDG 13:13 So the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, "Let the woman pay attention to all that I said.
JDG 13:14 She should not eat anything that comes from the vine nor drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing; let her observe all that I commanded."
The Lord instructs Manoah to make sure that his wife keeps the obligations of the Nazirite vow.
JDG 13:15 Then Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, "Please let us detain you so that we may prepare a kid for you."
Not knowing the man's identity, just as Gideon (6:18), Manoah entreats Him to stay while he prepares an honorary feast for Him. As unto Gideon, they will know His identity after He miraculously transforms the offering.
JDG 13:16 And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, "Though you detain me, I will not eat your food, but if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord." For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord.
JDG 13:17 And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, "What is your name, so that when your words come to pass, we may honor you?"
JDG 13:18 But the angel of the Lord said to him, "Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?"
This reminds us of Moses when he asked the name of the Lord and was told, "I am that I am." In this instance the Lord doesn't use His name Yavah. Instead, Yavah asks Manoah a question, "Why do you ask my name?"
"Why do you ask My name?" - Might mean something like: "Why do you ask of Me as if I am an ordinary man. I am exceedingly more wonderful than that."
The Hebrew word means just that - wonderful or extraordinary. Manoah asked Him His name as he would do to any normal fellow. He did not know at the time who he was speaking with.
This word is only used of God and so it refers to that marvelous-ness that only belongs to Him.
The same word is used by the psalmist:
PSA 139:1 O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me.
PSA 139:2 Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up;
Thou dost understand my thought from afar.
PSA 139:3 Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And art intimately acquainted with all my ways.
PSA 139:4 Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, Thou dost know it all.
PSA 139:5 Thou hast enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Thy hand upon me.
PSA 139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
It is used in the expression of wonder at God's skill and skillful creation of a baby in its mother's womb.
PSA 139:13 For Thou didst form my inward parts [reins = the seat of the tenderest and most secret emotions];
Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb.
It doesn't say that the seed of the father or the mother weave the child in the mother's womb. The mother and father are only secondary agents, while God is the Creator.
Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.
PSA 139:14 I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Thy works,
And my soul knows it very well.
PSA 139:15 My frame was not hidden from Thee,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.
The imagery is of the creation of Adam. Adam's womb was the earth since he was made from the dust of the earth. As God created the earth, so He created Adam out of the earth, but then breathed into him the breath of life - soul and spirit.
PSA 139:16 Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Thy book they were all written,
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
God is transcendent. We cannot in this lifetime comprehend the fullness of how and why He does what He does and is what He is. It is too high and too wonderful. We accept it by faith and rejoice!