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Judges 6:11-24

Gideon Meets Some Visitors

6:11 The Lord’s angelic messenger 1  came and sat down under the oak tree in Ophrah owned by Joash the Abiezrite. He arrived while Joash’s son Gideon 2  was threshing 3  wheat in a winepress 4  so he could hide it from the Midianites. 5  6:12 The Lord’s messenger appeared and said to him, “The Lord is with you, courageous warrior!” 6:13 Gideon said to him, “Pardon me, 6  but if the Lord is with us, why has such disaster 7  overtaken us? Where are all his miraculous deeds our ancestors told us about? They said, 8  ‘Did the Lord not bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to Midian.” 6:14 Then the Lord himself 9  turned to him and said, “You have the strength. 10  Deliver Israel from the power of the Midianites! 11  Have I not sent you?” 6:15 Gideon 12  said to him, “But Lord, 13  how 14  can I deliver Israel? Just look! My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my family.” 15  6:16 The Lord said to him, “Ah, but 16  I will be with you! You will strike down the whole Midianite army.” 17  6:17 Gideon 18  said to him, “If you really are pleased with me, 19  then give me 20  a sign as proof that it is really you speaking with me. 6:18 Do not leave this place until I come back 21  with a gift 22  and present it to you.” The Lord said, “I will stay here until you come back.”

6:19 Gideon went and prepared a young goat, 23  along with unleavened bread made from an ephah of flour. He put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot. He brought the food 24  to him under the oak tree and presented it to him. 6:20 God’s messenger said to him, “Put the meat and unleavened bread on this rock, 25  and pour out the broth.” Gideon did as instructed. 26  6:21 The Lord’s messenger touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of his staff. 27  Fire flared up from the rock and consumed the meat and unleavened bread. The Lord’s messenger then disappeared. 28 

6:22 When Gideon realized 29  that it was the Lord’s messenger, he 30  said, “Oh no! 31  Master, Lord! 32  I have seen the Lord’s messenger face to face!” 6:23 The Lord said to him, “You are safe! 33  Do not be afraid! You are not going to die!” 6:24 Gideon built an altar for the Lord there, and named it “The Lord is on friendly terms with me.” 34  To this day it is still there in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

Judges 13:2-20


13:2 There was a man named Manoah from Zorah, from the Danite tribe. His wife was infertile and childless. 35  13:3 The Lord’s angelic 36  messenger appeared to the woman and said to her, “You 37  are infertile and childless, 38  but you will conceive and have a son. 13:4 Now be careful! Do not drink wine or beer, and do not eat any food that will make you ritually unclean. 39  13:5 Look, you will conceive and have a son. 40  You must never cut his hair, 41  for the child will be dedicated to God 42  from birth. He will begin to deliver Israel from the power 43  of the Philistines.”

13:6 The woman went and said to her husband, “A man sent from God 44  came to me! He looked like God’s angelic messenger – he was very awesome. 45  I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name. 13:7 He said to me, ‘Look, you will conceive and have a son. 46  So now, do not drink wine or beer and do not eat any food that will make you ritually unclean. 47  For the child will be dedicated 48  to God from birth till the day he dies.’”

13:8 Manoah prayed to the Lord, 49  “Please, Lord, allow the man sent from God 50  to visit 51  us again, so he can teach 52  us how we should raise 53  the child who will be born.” 13:9 God answered Manoah’s prayer. 54  God’s angelic messenger visited 55  the woman again while she was sitting in the field. But her husband Manoah was not with her. 13:10 The woman ran at once and told her husband, 56  “Come quickly, 57  the man who visited 58  me the other day has appeared to me!” 13:11 So Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he met 59  the man, he said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to my wife?” 60  He said, “Yes.” 61  13:12 Manoah said, “Now, when your announcement comes true, 62  how should the child be raised and what should he do?” 63  13:13 The Lord’s messenger told 64  Manoah, “Your wife should pay attention to everything I told her. 65  13:14 She should not drink 66  anything that the grapevine produces. She must not drink wine or beer, and she must not eat any food that will make her ritually unclean. 67  She should obey everything I commanded her to do.” 13:15 Manoah said to the Lord’s messenger, “Please stay here awhile, 68  so we can prepare a young goat for you to eat.” 69  13:16 The Lord’s messenger said to Manoah, “If I stay, 70  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.) 71  13:17 Manoah said to the Lord’s messenger, “Tell us your name, so we can honor you when your announcement comes true.” 72  13:18 The Lord’s messenger said to him, “You should not ask me my name, because you cannot comprehend it.” 73  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. 74  13:20 As the flame went up from the altar toward the sky, the Lord’s messenger went up in it 75  while Manoah and his wife watched. They fell facedown 76  to the ground.

1 tn The adjective “angelic” is interpretive.

sn The Lord’s angelic messenger is also mentioned in Judg 2:1.

2 tn Heb “Now Gideon his son…” The Hebrew circumstantial clause (note the pattern vav [ו] + subject + predicate) breaks the narrative sequence and indicates that the angel’s arrival coincided with Gideon’s threshing.

3 tn Heb “beating out.”

4 sn Threshing wheat in a winepress. One would normally thresh wheat at the threshing floor outside the city. Animals and a threshing sledge would be employed. Because of the Midianite threat, Gideon was forced to thresh with a stick in a winepress inside the city. For further discussion see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 63.

5 tn Heb “Midian.”

6 tn Heb “But my lord.”

7 tn Heb “all this.”

8 tn Heb “saying.”

9 sn Some interpreters equate the Lord and the messenger in this story, but they are more likely distinct. In vv. 22-23 the Lord and Gideon continue to carry on a conversation after the messenger has vanished (v. 21).

10 tn Heb “Go in this strength of yours.”

11 tn Heb “the hand of Midian.”

12 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Gideon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

13 tn Note the switch to אֲדֹנָי (’adonay, “Lord”). Gideon seems aware that he is speaking to someone other than, and superior to, the messenger, whom he addressed as אֲדֹנִי (’adoniy, “my lord”) in v. 13.

14 tn Heb “with what.”

15 tn Heb “in my father’s house.”

16 tn Or “certainly.”

17 tn Heb “You will strike down Midian as one man.” The idiom “as one man” emphasizes the collective unity of a group (see Judg 20:8, 11). Here it may carry the force, “as if they were just one man.”

18 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Gideon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

19 tn Heb “If I have found favor in your eyes.”

20 tn Heb “perform for me.”

21 tn The Hebrew text adds “to you,” but this has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.

22 tn Heb “and I will bring out my gift.” The precise nuance of the Hebrew word מִנְחָה (minkhah, “gift”) is uncertain in this context. It may refer to a gift offered as a sign of goodwill or submission. In some cases it is used of a gift offered to appease someone whom the offerer has offended. The word can also carry a sacrificial connotation.

23 tn Heb “a kid from among the goats.”

24 tn The words “the food” are not in the Hebrew text (an implied direct object). They are supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons.

25 tn Heb “Take the meat…and put [it] on this rock.”

26 tn Heb “and he did so.”

27 tn Heb “extended the tip of the staff which was in his hand and touched the meat and unleavened bread.”

28 tn Heb “went from his eyes.”

29 tn Heb “saw.”

30 tn Heb “Gideon.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

31 tn Or “Ah!”

32 tn The Hebrew text reads אֲדֹנַי יְהוִה (’adonay yÿhvih, “Lord [the same title used in v. 15], Lord”).

33 tn Heb “Peace to you.” For a similar use of this idiom to introduce a reassuring word, see Gen 43:23.

34 tn Heb “The Lord is peace.” Gideon’s name for the altar plays on the Lord’s reassuring words to him, “Peace to you.”

35 tn Heb “and had not given birth.”

36 tn The adjective “angelic” is interpretive (also in vv. 6, 9).

37 tn Heb “Look, you.”

38 tn Heb “and have not given birth.”

39 tn Heb “eat anything unclean.” Certain foods were regarded as ritually “unclean” (see Lev 11). Eating such food made one ritually “contaminated.”

40 tn Another option is to translate, “you are already pregnant and will have a son.” The earlier reference to her being infertile (v. 3) suggests that her conception is still future, but it is possible that the earlier statement only reflects her perspective (as far as she is concerned, she is infertile). According to this interpretation, in v. 5 the angel reveals the truth to her – actually she has recently conceived and is now pregnant (see the translation in R. G. Boling, Judges [AB], 217). Usage favors this interpretation. The predicate adjective הָרָה (harah, “[be/become] pregnant”) elsewhere has a past (1 Sam 4:19) or present (Gen 16:11; 38:25; 2 Sam 11:5) translation value. (The usage in Isa 7:14 is debated, but a present translation is definitely possible there.) A final, but less likely possibility, is that she miraculously conceived during the angel’s speech, sometime between his statements recorded in vv. 3 and 5.

41 tn Heb “a razor should not go up on his head.”

42 tn Or “set apart to God.” Traditionally the Hebrew term נָזִיר (nazir) has been translated “Nazirite.” The word is derived from the verb נָזַר (nazar, “to dedicate; to consecrate; to set apart”).

43 tn Heb “hand.”

44 tn Heb “The man of God.”

45 tn Heb “His appearance was like the appearance of the messenger of God, very awesome.”

46 tn See the note on the word “son” in 13:5, where this same statement occurs.

47 tn Heb “eat anything unclean.” Certain foods were regarded as ritually “unclean” (see Lev 11). Eating such food made one ritually “contaminated.”

48 tn Traditionally “a Nazirite.”

49 tn The Hebrew text adds “and said.” This has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.

50 tn Heb “the man of God.”

51 tn Heb “come to.”

52 tc The LXX has “enlighten,” understanding the Hebrew to read וִיאִירֵנוּ (viirenu, “to give light”) rather than the reading of the MT, וְיוֹרֵנוּ (vÿyorenu, “to teach”).

53 tn Heb “what we should do for.”

54 tn Heb “God listened to the voice of Manoah.”

55 tn Heb “came to.”

56 tn Heb “and said to him.” This phrase has not been translated for stylistic reasons.

57 tn Heb “Look.”

58 tn Heb “came to.”

59 tn Heb “came to.”

60 tn Heb “the woman.”

61 tn Heb “I [am].”

62 tn Heb “Now, [when] your word comes [to pass].”

63 tn Heb “what will be the child’s rule [i.e., way of life] and his work?”

64 tn Or “said to.”

65 tn Heb “To everything I said to the woman she should pay attention.” The Hebrew word order emphasizes “to everything,” probably because Manoah’s wife did not tell her husband everything the angel had said to her (cf. vv. 3-5 with v. 7). If she had, Manoah probably would not have been so confused about the child’s mission.

66 tn Heb “eat.”

67 tn Heb “eat anything unclean.” Certain foods were regarded as ritually “unclean” (see Lev 11). Eating such food made one ritually “contaminated.”

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

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

70 tn Heb “If you detain me.”

71 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).

72 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.

73 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.

74 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.

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

76 tn Heb “on their faces.”

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