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Judges 13:15-21

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 

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.”



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