Notes on Judges 13, verses 9-18

by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)

Judges 13:9, KJV: And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband (was) not with her.

Why Manoah’s wife was not with him, while they both were apparently in the field, is nowhere specified. Note that the writer says she “sat” in the field. There is no reason stated why she did this, but she could have been praying, meditating, or simply wondering when the promised child was going to be conceived and later born.

10 And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the (other) day.

She was able to recognize the Visitor as the same Person Who had spoken with her previously. She still, apparently, thought the Visitor was only a man at this time. Note that she does not call the Visitor “a man of God” as she had done before (see verse 6). No reason or explanation is given.

11 And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, (Art) thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I (am).

Manoah followed his wife, who seems to have either not waited for him or was able to reach the Visitor’s location before he did. Manoah then asked if the Visitor was the same “man” who had spoken to his wife. The Visitor clearly replied that He was.

12 And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and (how) shall we do unto him?

By this statement, Manoah showed he remembered the Visitor’s previous instructions, namely, the his not-yet-born son was to be a Nazirite to the LORD all the days of his life (see verse 7).Now Manoah is asking a couple of logical questions, based on how he and his wife should raise the boy.

13 And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware.

They still didn’t know their Visitor was the Angel of the LORD. The Angel now emphasizes what He had previously spoken to Manoah’s wife (verse 4).

14 She may not eat of any (thing) that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean (thing): all that I commanded her let her observe.

Here the Visitor instructs Manoah’s wife to comply with parts of the Nazirite vow herself by abstaining from anything coming from the grapevine (Numbers 6:3-4). She was also reminded (see verse 7) to not eat anything unclean. The Law of Moses had specific instructions and guidance as to what was clean, and permitted for food, and what was not clean. Leviticus 10 and 11 has an extensive list. But let it be remembered that none of these dietary laws apply today: Jesus reminded His listeners that it wasn’t what went into a person that defiled him or her but what out of the person (Matthew 15, Mark 7) and Peter was told not to call “common or unclean (Acts 10:9-16)”.

15 And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee.

Offering a meal to a guest is something practiced since at least Abraham’s day (see Genesis 18:1-8) Gideon had done something similar when he was threshing wheat in the winepress and saw a Visitor Who turned out to be the Angel of the LORD(Judges 6:17-21).

16 And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he (was) an angel of the LORD.

Manoah and his wife still didn’t realize their Visitor was the Angel of the LORD. He told them, first, He wouldn’t eat any of the proffered food and second, any burnt offerings had to be offered to the LORD Himself. Why the Angel said this is not clear.

17 And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, What (is) thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?

Neither Manoah nor his wife had ever asked the Visitor what His name was! They believed the Visitor’s words and apparently wanted to honor Him when these promises came true.

18 And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it (is) secret?

This is similar to the encounter between Jacob and Someone in Genesis 32. They wrestled until daybreak (Gen. 32:24) and after the Visitor told Jacob he now had a new name, Israel, Jacob in turn asked the Visitor for His name. The Visitor’s reply is mysterious: “Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? (Gen. 32:29, KJV).” Now the Visitor gives a similar reply to Manoah’s question, i.e.,” my Name is secret”. Much later, near the end of the Tribulation, Jesus Himself will return to this earth, riding a white horse, and John states He has a name that nobody knows except Jesus Himself (Rev.19:12, paraphrased).

Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV).

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