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The Birth of Samson

13 Again the ·people [L sons; T children] of Israel did ·what the Lord said was wrong [L evil in the eyes/sight of the Lord]. So he ·handed them over to [L gave them into the hand of] the Philistines for forty years.

There was a man named Manoah from the tribe of Dan, who lived in the city of Zorah [C fifteen miles west of Jerusalem; v. 25]. He had a wife, but she [L was barren/infertile and] could not have children [C a cause of both sadness and shame; Gen. 11:30; 29:31]. The ·angel [messenger] of the Lord [C angelic spokesperson for God, sometimes identified with the Lord himself; 2:1; 6:11; Gen. 16:7; Ex. 14:19; 23:20] appeared to Manoah’s wife and said, “·You [L Look/T Behold, you are barren and] have not been able to have children, but you will ·become pregnant [conceive] and give birth to a son. Be careful not to drink wine or ·beer [or other fermented drink; T strong drink; C an alcoholic beverage made from grain] or eat anything that is unclean [C in a ritual sense], because you will ·become pregnant [conceive] and have a son. You must never cut his hair, because he will be a Nazirite [Num. 6:1–12], given to God from ·birth [L the womb]. He will begin to ·save [rescue; T deliver] Israel from the ·power [hand] of the Philistines.”

Then Manoah’s wife went to him and told him what had happened. She said, “A man from God came to me. He looked like an angel from God; ·his appearance was frightening [very terrifying/awesome]. I didn’t ask him where he was from, and he didn’t tell me his name. But he said to me, ‘You will ·become pregnant [conceive] and will have a son. Don’t drink wine or ·beer [or other fermented drink; T strong drink; v. 4] or eat anything that is unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite [v. 5] to God from his birth until the day of his death.’”

Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, I beg you to let the man of God come to us again. Let him teach us what we should do for the boy who will be born to us.”

God heard Manoah’s prayer, and the ·angel [messenger] of God came to Manoah’s wife again while she was sitting in the field. But her husband Manoah was not with her. 10 So she ran to tell him, “·He is here [L Look; T Behold]! The man who ·appeared [came] 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?”

The man said, “I am.”

12 So Manoah asked, “When what you say happens, what kind of life should the boy live? What ·should he do [is his mission/vocation]?”

13 The ·angel [messenger] of the Lord said, “Your wife must be careful to do everything I told her to do. 14 She must not eat anything that grows on a grapevine, or drink any wine or ·beer [or other fermented drink; T strong drink; v. 4], or eat anything that is unclean [C in a ritual sense]. She must do everything I have commanded her.”

15 Manoah said to the ·angel [messenger] of the Lord, “We would like you to stay awhile so we can cook a young goat for you.”

16 The ·angel [messenger] of the Lord answered, “Even if I stay awhile, I would not eat your food. But if you want to prepare something, offer a burnt offering [Lev. 1:1–17] to the Lord.” (Manoah did not understand that the man was really the ·angel [messenger] of the Lord.)

17 Then Manoah asked the ·angel [messenger] of the Lord, “What is your name? Then we will honor you when what you have said really happens.”

18 The ·angel [messenger] of the Lord said, “Why do you ask my name? It is ·too amazing for you to understand [beyond comprehension; wonderful; Is. 9:6].” 19 So Manoah sacrificed a young goat on a rock and offered ·some grain as a gift [a grain/gift/tribute offering; Lev. 2:1] to the Lord. Then ·an amazing thing happened [or the Lord did an amazing thing] as Manoah and his wife watched. 20 As the flames went up to ·the sky [heaven] from the altar, the ·angel [messenger] of the Lord ·went up [ascended] in the flame. When Manoah and his wife saw that, they bowed facedown on the ground. 21 The ·angel [messenger] of the Lord did not appear to them again. Then Manoah ·understood [realized; knew] that the man was really the ·angel [messenger] of the Lord. 22 Manoah said, “We have seen ·God [or a divine being; C Hebrew: Elohim; v. 3], so we will surely die [6:23; Gen. 16:13].”

23 But his wife said to him, “If the Lord wanted to kill us, he would not have accepted our burnt offering [Lev. 1:1–17] or ·grain [L gift; tribute] offering [Lev. 2:1]. He would not have shown us all these things or told us all this.”

24 So the woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson [C related to the Hebrew word for “sun”; perhaps “sun-like” or “light from God”; Mal. 4:2]. He grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25 The Spirit of the Lord began to ·work in Samson [move/stir/empower him] while he was in the city of Mahaneh Dan, between the cities of Zorah and Eshtaol.