13The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.
2 There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren, having borne no children. 3And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, Although you are barren, having borne no children, you shall conceive and bear a son. 4Now be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, or to eat anything unclean, 5for you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor is to come on his head, for the boy shall be a nazirite* to God from birth. It is he who shall begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines. 6Then the woman came and told her husband, A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like that of an angel* of God, most awe-inspiring; I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name; 7but he said to me, You shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the boy shall be a nazirite* to God from birth to the day of his death.
8 Then Manoah entreated the Lord, and said, O Lord, I pray, let the man of God whom you sent come to us again and teach us what we are to do concerning the boy who will be born. 9God listened to Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her. 10So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, The man who came to me the other day has appeared to me. 11Manoah got up and followed his wife, and came to the man and said to him, Are you the man who spoke to this woman? And he said, I am. 12Then Manoah said, Now when your words come true, what is to be the boys rule of life; what is he to do? 13The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, Let the woman give heed to all that I said to her. 14She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine. She is not to drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. She is to observe everything that I commanded her.
15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, Allow us to detain you, and prepare a kid for you. 16The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, If you detain me, I will not eat your food; but if you want to prepare a burnt-offering, then offer it to the Lord. (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord.) 17Then Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, What is your name, so that we may honour you when your words come true? 18But the angel of the Lord said to him, Why do you ask my name? It is too wonderful.
19 So Manoah took the kid with the grain-offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to him who works* wonders.* 20When the flame went up towards heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar while Manoah and his wife looked on; and they fell on their faces to the ground. 21The angel of the Lord did not appear again to Manoah and his wife. Then Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord. 22And Manoah said to his wife, We shall surely die, for we have seen God. 23But his wife said to him, If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt-offering and a grain-offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.
24 The woman bore a son, and named him Samson. The boy grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25The spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011