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Judges 13:19-22

Context
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. 1  13:20 As the flame went up from the altar toward the sky, the Lord’s messenger went up in it 2  while Manoah and his wife watched. They fell facedown 3  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. 4  13:22 Manoah said to his wife, “We will certainly die, because we have seen a supernatural being!” 5 

1 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.

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

3 tn Heb “on their faces.”

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

5 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.



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