Judges 13

Samson's birth

1 The Israelites again did things that the Lord saw were evil. So he put them under the power of the Philistines for 40 years.

2 There was a man who belonged to Dan's tribe. His name was Manoah and he lived in Zorah. His wife had no children and she could not give birth. 3 The Lord's angel appeared to her. He said, ‘You have not been able to give birth to any children until now. But you will become pregnant and you will give birth to a son. 4 You must not drink any wine or any beer. You must not eat any food that is unclean. 5 Yes, you will give birth to a son. You must never cut the boy's hair. He is to be a Nazirite. He will belong to God from the time that he is born. He will begin to rescue the Israelites from the power of the Philistines.’

13:5Nazirites were men who had made a promise to belong to God in a special way. They could not drink wine or cut their hair.

6 The woman went quickly to tell her husband. She said, ‘A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel that God had sent with a message. I was afraid of him. I did not ask where he came from. He did not tell me his name. 7 He said to me, “You will become pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You must not drink any wine or beer. You must not eat any food that is unclean. The boy will belong to me as a Nazirite from his birth until the day that he dies!” ’

8 Manoah prayed to the Lord, ‘Lord, please send the man of God to come to us again. Let him teach us how we should take care of this boy who will be born.’

9 God did what Manoah had asked. The angel came again to visit Manoah's wife. She was resting in the fields and her husband was not with her. 10 She ran to tell her husband, ‘Come quickly! The man who came to me the other day has appeared to me again!’

11 Manoah got up and he followed his wife. When he met the man, he asked him, ‘Are you the man who talked to my wife?’ The man said, ‘Yes, I am.’

12 Then Manoah asked him, ‘When what you promised happens, how should the boy live? What kind of work will he do?’

13 The Lord's angel answered, ‘Your wife must be careful to do everything that I told her. 14 She must not eat anything that comes from vines. She must not drink wine or beer. She must not eat any food that is unclean. She must obey everything that I have commanded her to do.’

13:14Grapes grew on vines, and they used grapes to make wine. The angel told Manoah's wife that she must not eat any grapes or dried grapes (raisins).

15 Manoah said to the Lord's angel, ‘Please stay here with us. We would like to cook a young goat for you to eat.’

16 The angel replied, ‘Even if I stay with you, I will not eat your food. But you may prepare a burnt offering as a sacrifice to the Lord.’ The angel said that because Manoah had not realized that he was the Lord's angel.

17 Then Manoah asked the Lord's angel, ‘What is your name? When what you have promised happens, we will want to give you honour.’ 18 The angel replied, ‘You should not ask what my name is. It is too great for you to understand.’

19 Then Manoah took a young goat and a grain offering. He offered them on a rock as a sacrifice to the Lord. While Manoah and his wife watched, the Lord surprised them with a miracle. 20 As the flames of fire rose up from the sacrifice to the sky, the Lord's angel went up in the flames. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell down with their faces towards the ground.

21 The Lord's angel did not appear to them again. Manoah then realized that their visitor was the Lord's own angel. 22 He said to his wife, ‘We are sure to die! We have seen God!’

23 But his wife said to him, ‘The Lord accepted our burnt offering and our grain offering. He would not have done that if he wanted to kill us. He would not have shown us all these great things. He would not have told us about what will happen to us.’

24 Manoah's wife gave birth to a son. She gave him the name ‘Samson’. The child grew to become a man, and the Lord blessed him. 25 The Lord's Spirit began to give Samson strength when he was living in Mahaneh Dan. That place was between Zorah and Eshtaol.