The Birth of Samson
1Again the people of Israel did what the Lord said was wrong. So he let the Philistines rule over them for 40 years.
2There was a man named Manoah from the city of Zorah. Manoah was from the tribe of Dan. He had a wife, but she could not have children. 3The angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah’s wife. He said, “You have not been able to have children. But you will become pregnant and have a son! 4Don’t drink wine or beer. Don’t eat anything that is unclean. 5You will become pregnant and have a son. You must never cut his hair because he will be a Nazirite. He will be given to God from birth. He will begin the work of saving Israel from the power of the Philistines.”
6Then Manoah’s wife went to him and told him what had happened. She said, “A man from God came to me. He looked like an angel from God. His appearance was frightening. I didn’t ask him where he was from. And he didn’t tell me his name. 7But he said to me, ‘You will be pregnant and will have a son. Don’t drink wine or beer. Don’t eat anything that is unclean. The reason is that the boy will be a Nazirite to God. He will be that from his birth until the day of his death.’”
8Then Manoah said a prayer to the Lord: “Lord, I beg you to let the man of God come to us again. Let him teach us what we should do for the boy who will be born to us.”
9God heard Manoah’s prayer. The angel of God came to Manoah’s wife again. This was while she was sitting in a field. But her husband Manoah was not with her. 10So she ran to tell him, “He is here! The man who appeared to me the other day is here!”
11Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the man who spoke to my wife?”
The man said, “I am.”
12So Manoah asked, “When what you say happens, what kind of life should the boy live? What should he do?”
13The angel of the Lord said, “Your wife must do everything I told her to do. 14She must not eat anything that grows on a grapevine. She must not drink any wine or beer. She must not eat anything that is unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her to do.”
15Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “We would like you to stay awhile. We want to cook a young goat for you.”
16The angel of the Lord answered, “Even if I stay awhile, I would not eat your food. But if you want to prepare something, offer a burnt offering to the Lord.” (Manoah did not understand that the man was really the angel of the Lord.)
17Then Manoah asked the angel of the Lord, “What is your name? We want to know. Then we may honor you when what you have said really happens.”
18The angel of the Lord said, “Why do you ask my name? It is too wonderful for you to understand.” 19Then Manoah sacrificed a young goat on a rock. He also offered some grain as a gift to the Lord. The Lord did an amazing thing. Manoah and his wife watched what happened. 20The flames went up to the sky from the altar. As the fire burned, the angel of the Lord went up to heaven in the fire! When Manoah and his wife saw that, they bowed facedown on the ground. 21The angel of the Lord did not appear to them again. Then Manoah understood that the man was really the angel of the Lord. 22Manoah said, “We have seen God! Surely we will die because of this!”
23But his wife said to him, “The Lord does not want to kill us. If he wanted to kill us, he would not have accepted our burnt offering or grain offering. He would not have shown us all these things. And he would not have told us all this.”
24So the woman gave birth to a boy. She named him Samson. Samson grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25The Spirit of the Lord began to work in Samson. This was while he was in the city of Mahaneh Dan. It is between the cities of Zorah and Eshtaol.