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Judges 13:15-25

Context
13:15 Manoah said to the Lord’s messenger, “Please stay here awhile, 1  so we can prepare a young goat for you to eat.” 2  13:16 The Lord’s messenger said to Manoah, “If I stay, 3  I will not eat your food. But if you want to make a burnt sacrifice to the Lord, you should offer it.” (He said this because Manoah did not know that he was the Lord’s messenger.) 4  13:17 Manoah said to the Lord’s messenger, “Tell us your name, so we can honor you when your announcement comes true.” 5  13:18 The Lord’s messenger said to him, “You should not ask me my name, because you cannot comprehend it.” 6  13:19 Manoah took a young goat and a grain offering and offered them on a rock to the Lord. The Lord’s messenger did an amazing thing as Manoah and his wife watched. 7  13:20 As the flame went up from the altar toward the sky, the Lord’s messenger went up in it 8  while Manoah and his wife watched. They fell facedown 9  to the ground.

13:21 The Lord’s messenger did not appear again to Manoah and his wife. After all this happened Manoah realized that the visitor had been the Lord’s messenger. 10  13:22 Manoah said to his wife, “We will certainly die, because we have seen a supernatural being!” 11  13:23 But his wife said to him, “If the Lord wanted to kill us, he would not have accepted the burnt offering and the grain offering from us. 12  He would not have shown us all these things, or have spoken to us like this just now.”

13:24 Manoah’s wife 13  gave birth to a son and named him Samson. 14  The child grew and the Lord empowered 15  him. 13:25 The Lord’s spirit began to control him 16  in Mahaneh Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

1 tn Heb “Please allow us to detain you.”

2 tn Heb “so we can prepare before you a young goat of the goats.”

3 tn Heb “If you detain me.”

4 tn The words “he said this” are supplied in the translation for clarification. Manoah should have known from these words that the messenger represented the Lord. In the preceding narrative the narrator has informed the reader that the visitor is the Lord’s messenger, but Manoah and his wife did not perceive this. In vv. 5 and 7 the angel refers to “God” (אֱלֹהִים, ’elohim), not the Lord (יְהוַה, yÿhvah). Manoah’s wife calls the visitor “a man sent from God” and “God’s messenger” (v. 6), while Manoah prays to the “Lord” (אֲדוֹנָי, ’adonay) and calls the visitor “a man sent from God” (v. 8).

5 tn Heb “Who your name? For [when] your word comes [to pass], we will honor you.” Manoah apparently gets tongue-tied and uses the wrong pronoun (“who” instead of “what”). He starts to say, “Who are you?” But then he switches to “your name” as if he began the sentence with “what.” See R. G. Boling, Judges (AB), 222.

6 tn Heb “Why do you ask for my name, for it is incomprehensible?” The Hebrew adjective פִּלְאִי (pileiy, “wonderful, incomprehensible”) refers to what is in a category of its own and is beyond full human understanding. Note the use of this word in Ps 139:6, where God’s knowledge is described as incomprehensible and unattainable.

7 tc Heb “Doing an extraordinary deed while Manoah and his wife were watching.” The subject of the participle is missing. The translation assumes that the phrase “the Lord’s messenger” was lost by homoioteleuton. If the text originally read לַיהוָה מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה (layhavah malakh yÿhvah), the scribe’s eye could have jumped from the first יְהוָה to the second, accidentally omitting two of the three words. Later the conjunction וּ (shureq) would have been added to the following מַפְלִא (mafli’) for syntactical reasons. Another possibility is that a pronominal subject (הוּא, hu’) has been lost in the MT due to haplography.

8 tn Heb “in the flame from the altar.”

9 tn Heb “on their faces.”

10 tn Heb “Then Manoah knew that he was the Lord’s messenger.”

11 tn Or “seen God.” Some take the Hebrew term אֱלֹהִים (’elohim) as the divine name (“God”) here, but this seems unlikely since v. 21 informs us that Manoah realized this was the Lord’s messenger, not God himself. Of course, he may be exaggerating for the sake of emphasis. Another option, the one followed in the translation, understands Manoah to be referring to a lesser deity. The term אֱלֹהִים (’elohim) is sometimes used of an individual deity other than the Lord (see BDB 43 s.v. 2.a). One cannot assume that Manoah was a theologically sophisticated monotheist.

12 tn Heb “our hand.”

13 tn Heb “the woman.” For clarity this has been specified in the translation as “Manoah’s wife.”

14 tn The name appears to mean “sun-like” or “solar.”

15 tn Traditionally, “blessed.”

16 tn Or “move him to action”; or “stir him.”



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