A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, ‘You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.’
Then the woman went to her husband and told him, ‘A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name. But he said to me, “You will become pregnant and have a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from the womb until the day of his death.” ’
Then Manoah prayed to the LORD: ‘Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.’
God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her. The woman hurried to tell her husband, ‘He’s here! The man who appeared to me the other day!’
Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, ‘Are you the man who talked to my wife?’ ‘I am,’ he said.
So Manoah asked him, ‘When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that governs the boy’s life and work?’
The angel of the LORD answered, ‘Your wife must do all that I have told her. She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her.’
Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, ‘We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.’
The angel of the LORD replied, ‘Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the LORD.’ (Manoah did not realise that it was the angel of the LORD.)
Then Manoah enquired of the angel of the LORD, ‘What is your name, so that we may honour you when your word comes true?’
He replied, ‘Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding. ’ Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the LORD. And the LORD did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: as the flame blazed up from the altar towards heaven, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. When the angel of the LORD did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realised that it was the angel of the LORD.
‘We are doomed to die!’ he said to his wife. ‘We have seen God!’
But his wife answered, ‘If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.’
The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the LORD blessed him, and the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
Judges 13:1-25 (NIV)
Pray: Father, the book of Judges shows us what a weak human being Samson was. Although he continually gave in to temptation, he was still the man you chose to lead Israel for forty years. We know you can use us, if we are prepared to submit to your will. Amen