-A new period in the history of Israel begins in this chapter as God’s people again did evil in the sight of the LORD with Him giving the disobedient rebels into the hands of the Philistines for 40 years (Judges 13:1). In this setting, God reaches out to a family in the tribe of Dan (the inherited area just to the north of Judah and west of Benjamin, not Tel Dan of the extreme north). The wife of Manoah of Zorah, who was barren having borne no children, is visited by the angel of the LORD. He relates to her that she needs to be careful not to “drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing” for she shall conceive and give birth to a special son who will begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines (Judges 13:2-5).
-Upon hearing this news, she reported to her husband that this man from God with the appearance like that of an angel, very awesome, had brought this message. She didn’t think to ask where is He was from or what His name was. All she knew was that this boy would be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death. With the hearing of this, Manoah entreated the LORD asking Him for a second appearance of the man of God that He had sent for the purpose of teaching them what to do for the boy who was to be born. God certainly listened to the voice of Manoah and responded by sending the angel back to the woman while she was sitting in the field. Manoah wasn’t with her at the time, but she went to get her husband quickly. He came back with her to meet this special messenger. When Manoah asked if He was the person who had come previously to inform his wife, the angel said, “I am.” Manoah wanted to get information about what to do with the boy that they would be given in terms of his mode of life and vocation. However, the angel simply told them to pay attention to all He had given the woman about not eating anything unclean that comes from the vine, nor drink wine or strong drink, nor eat anything that was unclean. She was to observe all that the angel commanded. With that, Manoah invited the man of the LORD to be detained so that they could prepare a goat for Him to eat. The angel instead told them that if they were to prepare an animal that they should offer it to the LORD. Manoah did not yet know that this was an angel of the LORD. Manoah questioned him as to His name. He wanted to show Him honor when these words came to pass. “But the angel of the LORD said to him, ‘Why do you ask my name, seeing that it is wonderful (pil'iy- incomprehensible, extraordinary)?’” This truly seems to be a Christophany at this point (Judges 13:6-18).
-Now Manoah took the young goat with a grain offering and presented it on the rock to the LORD. The special guest performed “wonders” while Manoah and his wife looked on. “It came about when the flame went up from the altar toward heaven, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar.” Upon seeing this incredible miracle, both husband and wife fell on their faces to the ground. The angel never appeared to them again. But Manoah now knew that this was indeed an angel of the LORD (Judges 13:19-21). Manoah thought that they would surely die because they had seen God. But the wife assured him, “If the LORD had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have let us hear things like this at this time (Judges 13:22-23).” The son was eventually born and was named Samson. The child grew up, and the LORD blessed him with His Spirit stirring him in Mahaneh-Dan (the camp of Dan), between Zorah and Eshtaol (Judges 13:24-25).
-*Application* How quick are we to recognize the visitations of the LORD in our lives? Perceptive, open hearts are required to see the miracles of the Almighty when He wants to show up unannounced and unexpected. The LORD is creative in all His ways, but we see the figures and themes of the everlasting story. Think about how Christ is portrayed in this instance: He comes at a point of need when sin and oppression is prevailing, He offers a new and living hope, He makes a call to holiness, He listens to petitions and requests, He is wonderful (incomprehensible, extraordinary), He is the “I Am.” The list could go on and on. God wants to visit our lives in the same way today. Allow His presence to manifest. Take time to cultivate His Spirit in life. Don’t be distracted and consumed with other things. He wants to do a work to begin a deliverance.
Verse to Memorize: Judges 13:5