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13 Once again Israel sinned by worshiping other gods, so the Lord let them be conquered by the Philistines, who kept them in subjection for forty years.

2-3 Then one day the Angel of the Lord appeared to the wife of Manoah, of the tribe of Dan, who lived in the city of Zorah. She had no children, but the Angel said to her, “Even though you have been barren so long, you will soon conceive and have a son! Don’t drink any wine or beer and don’t eat any food that isn’t kosher. Your son’s hair must never be cut, for he shall be a Nazirite, a special servant of God from the time of his birth; and he will begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines.”

The woman ran and told her husband, “A man from God appeared to me and I think he must be the Angel of the Lord, for he was almost too glorious to look at. I didn’t ask where he was from, and he didn’t tell me his name, but he told me, ‘You are going to have a baby boy!’ And he told me not to drink any wine or beer and not to eat food that isn’t kosher, for the baby is going to be a Nazirite—he will be dedicated to God from the moment of his birth until the day of his death!”

Then Manoah prayed, “O Lord, please let the man from God come back to us again and give us more instructions about the child you are going to give us.” The Lord answered his prayer, and the Angel of God appeared once again to his wife as she was sitting in the field. But again she was alone—Manoah was not with her— 10 so she quickly ran and found her husband and told him, “The same man is here again!”

11 Manoah ran back with his wife and asked, “Are you the man who talked to my wife the other day?”

“Yes,” he replied, “I am.”

12 So Manoah asked him, “Can you give us any special instructions about how we should raise the baby after he is born?”

13-14 And the Angel replied, “Be sure that your wife follows the instructions I gave her. She must not eat grapes or raisins, or drink any wine or beer, or eat anything that isn’t kosher.”

15 Then Manoah said to the Angel, “Please stay here until we can get you something to eat.”

16 “I’ll stay,” the Angel replied, “but I’ll not eat anything. However, if you wish to bring something, bring an offering to sacrifice to the Lord.” (Manoah didn’t yet realize that he was the Angel of the Lord.)

17 Then Manoah asked him for his name. “When all this comes true and the baby is born,” he said to the Angel, “we will certainly want to tell everyone that you predicted it!”

18 “Don’t even ask my name,” the Angel replied, “for it is a secret.”

19 Then Manoah took a young goat and a grain offering and offered it as a sacrifice to the Lord; and the Angel did a strange and wonderful thing, 20 for as the flames from the altar were leaping up toward the sky, and as Manoah and his wife watched, the Angel ascended in the fire! Manoah and his wife fell face downward to the ground, 21 and that was the last they ever saw of him. It was then that Manoah finally realized that it had been the Angel of the Lord.

22 “We will die,” Manoah cried out to his wife, “for we have seen God!”

23 But his wife said, “If the Lord were going to kill us, he wouldn’t have accepted our burnt offerings and wouldn’t have appeared to us and told us this wonderful thing and done these miracles.”

24 When her son was born they named him Samson, and the Lord blessed him as he grew up. 25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to excite him whenever he visited the parade grounds of the army of the tribe of Dan, located between the cities of Zorah and Eshtaol.

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