1The Israelites again did things that the Lord saw as evil, and he handed them over to the Philistines for forty years.
2Now there was a certain man from Zorah, from the Danite clan, whose name was Manoah. His wife was unable to become pregnant and had not given birth to any children. 3The Lord’s messenger appeared to the woman and said to her, "Even though you’ve been unable to become pregnant and haven’t given birth, you are now pregnant and will give birth to a son! 4Now be careful not to drink wine or brandy or to eat anything that is ritually unclean, 5because you are pregnant and will give birth to a son. Don’t allow a razor to shave his head, because the boy is going to be a nazirite for God from birth. He’ll be the one who begins Israel’s rescue from the power of the Philistines."
6Then the woman went and told her husband, "A man of God came to me, and he looked like God’s messenger—very scary! I didn’t ask him where he was from, and he didn’t tell me his name. 7He said to me, ‘You are pregnant and will give birth to a son, so don’t drink wine or brandy or eat anything that is ritually unclean, because the boy is going to be a nazirite for God from birth until the day he dies.’"
8Manoah asked the Lord, "Please, my Lord," he said, "let the man of God whom you sent come back to us once more, so he can teach us how we should treat the boy who is to be born."
9God listened to Manoah, and God’s messenger came once more to the woman. She was sitting in the field, but her husband Manoah wasn’t with her. 10So the woman hurriedly ran and informed her husband. She said to him, "The man who came to me the other day has just appeared to me."
11Manoah got up and followed his wife. He came to the man and said to him, "Are you the man who spoke to this woman?"
"I am," he replied.
12Manoah said, "Now when your words come true, what should be the rules for the boy and how he should act?"
13The Lord’s messenger answered Manoah, "The woman should be careful to do everything that I told her. 14She must not consume anything that comes from the grapevine, drink wine or brandy, or eat anything that is ritually unclean. She must be careful to do everything I have commanded her."
15Manoah said to the Lord’s messenger, "Please let us persuade you to stay so we can prepare a young goat for you."
16But the Lord’s messenger replied to Manoah, "If you persuaded me to stay, I wouldn’t eat your food. If you prepare an entirely burned offering, offer it to the Lord." Indeed, Manoah didn’t know that he was the Lord’s messenger. 17Manoah said to the Lord’s messenger, "What’s your name, so that we may honor you when your words come true?"
18The Lord’s messenger responded to him, "Why do you ask my name? You couldn’t understand it."
19So Manoah took a young goat and a grain offering and offered them on a rock to the Lord. While Manoah and his wife were looking, an amazing thing happened: 20as the flame from the altar went up toward the sky, the Lord’s messenger went up in the altar’s flame. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell facedown on the ground. 21The Lord’s messenger didn’t reappear to Manoah or his wife, and Manoah then realized that it had been the Lord’s messenger. 22Manoah said to his wife, "We are certainly going to die, because we’ve seen God!"
23But his wife replied to him, "If the Lord wanted to kill us, he wouldn’t have accepted the entirely burned offering and grain offering from our hands. He wouldn’t have shown us all these things or told us all of this now."
24The woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson. The boy grew up, and the Lord blessed him. 25The Lord’s spirit began to move him when he was in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
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