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Mary Elizabeth Baxter :: Manoah’s Wife—Judges 13.

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The children of Israel had again fallen away from God, "and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years," that is to say, almost, if not quite, a generation. In every age, God has His witnesses; there is always one man or one woman to be found who lays to heart the cause of God, and to whom the sins of their country are a burden and a sorrow; there is always someone or other who takes sides with God against the spirit of his generation. It is possible that Manoah, a man "of the family of the Danites," (Jdg 13:2.) was such an one.

The angel of the Lord appeared unto his wife: indicating to us that she was a woman who understood communion with God. He said to her:

"Behold, now, thou art barren, and barest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing. For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son, and no razor shall come on his head; for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines." (Jdg 13:3-5.)

God's angels come where they are welcome: God's messages to hearing hearts and attentive spirits; His messages of deliverance come where the cry for deliverance has already gone up to Him: and it is more than probable that Manoah and his wife had already clone a work of intercession for their land in their generation.

The woman came and told her husband; and this is evidence that she believed he would understand her communion with God. There are some wives who cannot tell their husbands what passes between God and their souls. How should an infidel husband, or an unbeliever, or even an unspiritual believer, understand communications from God which are in the Spirit, and which are addressed to "the hidden man of the heart?"(1Pe 3:4.) "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God." (1Cr 2:14.)

When Manoah heard from his wife the communication of the angel he "entreated the Lord, and said:

"O, my Lord, let the man of God which Thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born." (Jdg 13:8.)

Would that every godly parent sought and received counsel from God what to do with his child or his children. Children would be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord to a very much greater extent if parents, instead of following their own whims, gratifying their own pride, or yielding to their own laziness, educated their children in the spirit, and under the direct guidance of God.


have we all made in bringing up our children, by failing to secure God's counsel in the matter.

It was a simple request. "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." And she ran and fetched him, and when he came to the man, he said unto him:

"Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman?" And he said, I am. (Jdg 13:11.)

"And Manoah said: Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?" (or, R.V., What shall be the manner of the child, and what shall be his work?) There is complete self‐abnegation in this request of Manoah's. He does not ask that his son shall be a credit to him, shall build up the family name, or reflect honour upon him or his ancestors. Manoah recognised that, as the father of God's deliverer, he was but God's steward even of his own child.

And the angel of the Lord repeated to Manoah what he had said to his wife regarding abstinence from strong drink and from everything that was unclean. Let us pause a moment, and consider. The priests of God were forbidden to take wine and strong drink when they went into the tabernacle, that they might "put difference between holy and unholy, between unclean and clean." (Lev 10:9-10.) The mother of John the Baptist was told that her son should drink neither wine nor strong drink, but that he should be filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb; implying that the Holy Ghost and strong drink cannot occupy the same individual. Again, it is strikingly said: "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph 5:18); as though alcoholic spirit and the Spirit of God could not accord. And here we find that the mother of the strongest man that ever lived must avoid those stimulants which deluded people make use of to give them physical strength.

Manoah, having thus received the confirmation of the directions regarding his child from the angel of the Lord, besought him to remain until he could make ready a kid for him, not knowing he was an angel of the Lord; but his answer was:

"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."

Still this Israelite knew not Him that spake unto him. So dull is human nature


One more request Manoah made:

"What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?" But the angel of the Lord only replied:

"Why askest thou thus after my name? seeing it is secret;" or "wonderful" (Marg.).

Manoah knew how to obey, and took the kid with the meat‐offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the Lord in the angel's presence; but, to his amazement, "when the flame went up towards heaven from off the altar," the angel of the Lord "did wondrously," according to His name. He "ascended in the flame of the altar." And then it was that the revelation was made to this godly couple that he was the angel of the Lord. It is when God's child is laid upon the altar, it is when all that he is turns to ashes and is consumed, that Jesus can dwell in his heart by faith, and in the ascending flame of the sacrifice there is the living presence of the Lord, joining His consecrated child to God, to heaven, and to heavenly things.

Manoah was in terror. He said unto his wife:

"We shall surely die, because we have seen God." (Jdg 13:22.) For he knew those words of (Exd 33:20): "There shall no man see Me and live." But Manoah's wife had understood the meaning of the offering; in spirit she was already dead, and she fell back upon the value of the offering.

"If the Lord were pleased to kill us, He would have not received a burnt‐offering and a meat‐offering at our hands, neither would He have showed us all these things, nor would, as at this time, have told us such things as these."

The woman had an intuition of divine things which Manoah had not as yet. It is such mothers-those who thus understand their God, thus help their husbands into deeper communion with Him-who prove to be the mothers of God's deliverers and God's reformers. Samson, the promised son, strange, inconsistent man that he was, yet so honoured God by his faith that he was given a place in Hebrews 11, among those "of whom the world was not worthy."

Deborah’s Song—Judges 5. ← Prior Section
Naomi and Ruth. Part 1—Ruth 1. Next Section →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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