We have here an account of a second visit which the angel of God made to Manoah and his wife.
I. Manoah earnestly prayed for it, Jdg. 13:8. He was not incredulous of the story his wife told him; he knew she was a virtuous woman, and therefore the heart of her husband did safely trust in her; he knew she would not go about to impose upon him, much less was he, as Josephus unworthily represents him, jealous of his wife’s conversation with this stranger; but, 1. He takes it for granted that this child of promise shall in due time be given them, and speaks without hesitation of the child that shall be born. There was not found so great faith, no, not in Zechariah, a priest, then in waiting at the altar of the Lord, and to whom the angel himself appeared, as was in this honest Danite. Things hidden from the wise and prudent, who value themselves upon the niceness of their enquiries, are often revealed unto babes, who know how to prize God’s gifts and to take God’s word. Blessed are those that have not seen and yet, as Manoah here, have believed. 2. All his care is what they should do to the child that should be born. Note, Good men are more solicitous and desirous to know the duty that is to be done by them than to know the events that shall occur concerning them; for duty is ours, events are God’s. Solomon enquires concerning the good men should do, not the good they should have, Eccl. 2:3. 3. He therefore prays to God to send the same blessed messenger again, to give them further instructions concerning the management of this Nazarite, fearing lest his wife’s joy for the promise might have made her forget some part of the precept, in which he was desirous to be fully informed, and lie under no mistake: “Lord, let the man of God come again unto us, for we desire to be better acquainted with him.” Note, Those that have heard from heaven cannot but wish to hear more thence, again and again to meet with the man of God. Observe, He does not go or send his servants abroad, to find out this man of God, but seeks him upon his knees, prays to God to send him, and, thus seeking, finds him. Would we have God’s messengers, the ministers of his gospel, to bring a word proper for us, and for our instruction? Entreat the Lord to send them to us, to teach us, Rom. 15:30, 32.
II. God graciously granted it: God hearkened to the voice of Manoah, Jdg. 13:9. Note, God will not fail some way or other to guide those by his counsel that are sincerely desirous to know their duty, and apply themselves to him to teach them, Ps. 25:8, 9.
1. The angel appears the second time also to the wife, when she is sitting alone, probably tending the flocks, or otherwise well employed in the field where she has retired. Solitude is often a good opportunity of communion with God; good people have thought themselves never less alone than when alone, if God be with them.
2. She goes in all haste to call her husband, doubtless humbly beseeching the stay of this blessed messenger till she should return and her husband with her, Jdg. 13:10, 11. She did not desire him to go with her to her husband, but would fetch her husband to him. Those that would meet with God must attend where he is pleased to manifest himself. “Oh,” says she, overjoyed, “my dear love, thy prayers are answered—yonder is the man of God, come to make us another visit—he that came the other day,” or, as some read it, this day, for other is not in the original, and it is probable enough that both these visits were on the same day, and at the same place, and that the second time she sat expecting him. The man of God is very willing she should call her husband, John 4:16. Those that have an acquaintance with the things of God themselves should invite others to the same acquaintance, John 1:45, 46. Manoah is not disgusted that the angel did not this second time appear to him, but very willingly goes after his wife to the man of God. To atone (as it were) for the first fatal miscarriage, when Eve earnestly pressed Adam to that which was evil, and he too easily yielded to her, let yoke-fellows excite one another to love and good works; and, if the wife will lead, let not the husband think it any disparagement to him to follow her in that which is virtuous and praiseworthy.
3. Manoah having come to the angel, and being satisfied by him that he was the same that had appeared to his wife, does, with all humility, (1.) Welcome the promise (Jdg. 13:12): Now let thy words come to pass; this was the language, not only of his desire, but of his faith, like that of the blessed Virgin, Luke 1:38. “Be it according to thy word. Lord, I lay hold on what thou hast said, and depend upon it; let it come to pass.” (2.) Beg that the prescriptions given might be repeated: How shall we order the child? The directions were given to his wife, but he looks upon himself as concerned to assist her in the careful management of this promised seed, according to order; for the utmost care of both the parents, and their constant joint endeavour, are little enough to be engaged for the good ordering of children that are devoted to God and to be brought up for him. Let not one devolve it on the other, but both do their best. Observe from Manoah’s enquiry, [1.] In general, that, when God is pleased to bestow any mercy upon us, our great care must be how to use it well, and as we ought, because it is then only a mercy indeed when it is rightly managed. God has given us bodies, souls, estates; how shall we order them, that we may answer the intent of the donor, and give a good account of them? [2.] In particular, those to whom God has given children must be very careful how they order them, and what they do unto them, that they may drive out the foolishness that is bound up in their hearts, form their minds and manners well betimes, and train them in the way wherein they should go. Herein pious parents will beg divine assistance. “Lord, teach us how we may order our children, that they may be Nazarites, and living sacrifices to thee.”
4. The angel repeats the directions he had before given (Jdg. 13:13, 14): Of all that I forbad let her beware; and all that I commanded her let her observe. Note, There is need of a good deal both of caution and observation, for the right ordering both of ourselves and of our children. Beware and observe; take heed not only of drinking wine or strong drink, but of eating any thing that cometh of the vine. Those that would preserve themselves pure must keep at a distance from that which borders upon sin or leads to it. When she was with child of a Nazarite, she must not eat any unclean thing; so those in whom Christ is formed must carefully cleanse themselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and do nothing to the prejudice of that new man.