The Period Of The Judges

 Chapter 64
Manoah’s Sacrifice [13.15-13.23]

Scripture (KJV) Judges 13:15-23

MANOAH'S SACRIFICE, WHEREBY THE ANGEL IS IDENTIFIED
15 And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee.
16 And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, 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. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD.
17 And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?
18 And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?
19 So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on.
20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground.
21 But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD.
22 And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.
23 But his wife said unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.


Commentary

An Angel of the Lord visited Manoah’s wife in the previous chapter; and now there is a conversation between the Angle and Manoah. {To learn more about angels, see Article 13.5; page 594}  The Angel was very considerate of Gideon, since while he was with him he concealed from him that he was an angel. If he knew that the one he was with was an Angel or the long awaited for Christ, it would have been such a shock to him that he could not have conversed with him as he did (Judges 13:16): He knew not that he was an angel. So Christ was in the world, and the world knew him not. Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself. We could not bear the sight of the divine glory unveiled. That is why God has decided to speak to us by men like ourselves, prophets and ministers, even when he spoke by his angels, or by his Son, they appeared in the likeness of men, and were thought to be men of God.

In this chapter, Manoah presents an offering to the Lord, and the Angel ascends in the flame, 15-20. Manoah is alarmed, but is comforted by the insightful reasoning of his wife, 21-23.


15 And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee.—Judges 13:15 (KJV)
15 Then Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “Please stay here until we can prepare a young goat for you to eat.” —Judges 13:15 (NLT)

And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord…Manoah had taken-in the message, and now he perceived that he chose to say no more, and was about to depart.

I pray thee let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee;…Manoah and his wife desired to eat a meal with him as a token of their gratitude for the trouble he had to go through in order to bring these messages to them. Since they take him to be a man and a prophet of the Lord, they wanted to entertain him with a meal; and Abarbinel thinks Manoah proposed this in order to detain him, in hope that while they were eating together he would reveal some secrets to him.

Although, he did not recognize his holiness, that he was the angel of the Lord (see Judges 13:16); and supposing him to be a man and a prophet, Manoah wished to do this as an act of hospitality; which was the accepted way to show respect to strangers. He wished, like Gideon [1](Judges 6:18), to give a hospitable meal to the man who had brought him such joyful tidings, and therefore said to him, "Let us detain thee, and prepare a kid for thee." Judges 6:19 is proof that Gideon did bring the man a kid prepared to eat: "And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it."

The language of Manoah, like that of Gideon [1]Judges 6:18, seems to indicate some suspicion that his visitor was more than human. The word rendered "made ready," is also the proper word for "offering a sacrifice," and that is how it is used by the Angel in the next verse. There it appears that the Angel understood Manoah to speak of offering a kid as a burnt-offering. Hence, his caution, "thou must offer it unto the Lord." (Compare [2]Revelation 19:10; [3]Revelation 22:8; [4]Acts 10:25-26.)

Article 13.5: Angels
ANGELS By the word "angels" (i.e. "messengers" of God) we ordinarily understand a race of spiritual beings of a nature exalted far above that of man, although infinitely removed from that of God—whose office is "to do him service in heaven, and by His appointment to succor and defend men on earth.
I. Scriptural use of the word.—There are many passages in which the expression "angel of God" is certainly used for a manifestation of God himself (Gene 22:11 with Gene 22:12 and Exodus 3:2 with Exodus 3:6 and Exodus 3:14). It is to be observed, also, that side by side with these expressions we read of God's being manifested in the form of man—as to Abraham at Mamre ( Gene 18:2, 22 comp. Gene 19:1), to Jacob at Penuel (Gene 32:24, 30), to Joshua at Gilgal  (Josh 5:13, 15), etc. Besides this, which is the highest application of the word angel, we find the phrase used of any messengers of God, such as the prophets (Isaiah 42:19; Hagg 1:13; Mala 3:1), the priests (Mala 2:7) and the rulers of the Christian churches (Reve 1:20).
II. Nature of angels—Angels are termed "spirits," as in Hebr 1:14—but it is not asserted that the angelic nature is incorporeal. The contrary seems expressly implied in Luke 20:36 and Phil 3:21. The angels are revealed to us as beings such as man might be, and will be when the power of sin and death is removed, because always beholding his face (Matt 18:10) and therefore being "made like him." (1 John 3:2). Their number must be very large (1 Kin 22:19; Matt 26:53; Hebr 12:22), their strength is great (Psalms 103:20; Reve 5:2; 18:21), their activity marvelous (Isaiah 6:2-6; Matt 26:53; Reve 8:13), their appearance varied according to circumstances, but was often brilliant and dazzling (Matt 28:2-7; Reve 10:1, 2). Of the nature of "fallen angels," the circumstances and nature of the temptation by which they fell, we know absolutely nothing. All what is certain is that they "left their first estate" and that they are now "angels of the devil" (Matt 25:41; Reve 12:7, 9). On the other hand the title especially assigned to the angels of God—that of the "holy ones," see Dani 4:13, 23; 8:13; Matt 25:31—is precisely the one which is given to those men who are renewed in Christ's image; Comp. Hebr 2:10; 5:9; 12:23.
III. Office of the angels. Of their office in heaven we have only vague prophetic glimpses as in 1 Kin 22:19; Isaiah 6:1-3; Dani 7:9, 10; Reve 6:11, etc., which show us nothing but a never-ceasing adoration. They are represented as being, in the widest sense, agents of God's providence, natural and supernatural, to the body and to the soul. In one word, they are Christ's ministers of grace now, and they shall be of judgment hereafter (Matt 13:39, 41, 49; 16:27; 24:31) etc. That there are degrees of the angelic nature, both fallen and unfallen, and special titles and agencies belonging to each, is clearly declared by St. Paul (Ephe 1:21; Roma 8:38), but what their general nature is it is useless to speculate.—Smith's Bible Dictionary


___________________________verse 15 notes_____________________________

[1](Judges 6:18; ASV) Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and lay it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again. Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I . . . bring forth my present -- Hebrew, my mincha, or "meat offering"; and his idea probably was to prove, by his visitor's partaking of the entertainment, whether or not he was more than man.—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
[2](Revelation 19:10; ASV) And I fell down before his feet to worship him. And he saith unto me, See thou do it not: I am a fellow-servant with thee and with thy brethren that hold the testimony of Jesus: worship God; for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. I fell at his feet to worship him—Great as this angel was, St. John could not mistake him either for Jesus Christ, or for God the Father; nor was his prostration intended as an act of religious worship. It was merely an act of that sort of reverence which any Asiatic would pay to a superior. His mistake was, considering that he was under obligation to the angel for the information which he had now received. This mistake the angel very properly corrects, showing him that it was from God alone this intelligence came, and that to him alone the praise was due.—Adam Clarke's Commentary
[3](Revelation 22:8, 9; ASV) And I John am he that heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel that showed me these things. And he saith unto me, See thou do it not: I am a fellow-servant with thee and with thy brethren the prophets, and with them that keep the words of this book: worship God.
[4]Acts 10:25-26; ASV) And when it came to pass that Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter raised him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.


16 And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, 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. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD.—Judges 13:16 (KJV)
16 “I will stay,” the angel of the LORD replied, “but I will not eat anything. However, you may prepare a burnt offering as a sacrifice to the LORD.” (Manoah didn’t realize it was the angel of the LORD.)—Judges 13:16 (NLT)

This chapter appears to be one of the most significant in the entire O.T., because of what is said here about the Angel of Jehovah. Back in [5]Judges 13:11, when Manoah asked if "the man" was the same one who had earlier appeared to his wife, the answer was, "I AM." These very words were often used by Jesus Christ himself as his identification; for instance, see [6]John 8:58; [7]Mark 14:62; [8]John 18:5, etc. This strongly supports the belief that the Angel of Jehovah was none other than the pre-incarnate Son of God.

And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah…In answer to his request:

though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread;…that is, should he be persuaded to delay leaving and stay awhile with him, until a meal can be made ready, he would not eat of any of his bread; since "bread" is used to stand for all eatables, but more frequently for meat, or whatever he might provide for the provisions. The angel declared I will not eat of thy bread. Why? As I am a spiritual being, I subsist not by earthly food; and cannot partake of your bounty.

The angel may have perceived that Manoah had his doubts as to his true identity, and he quickly moved to prevent Manoah's obvious intention of worshipping him “as an angel.” However, it would be wrong to worship an angel, an honor that belongs only to God, as the apostle John learned in [9]Rev. 22:9. As Hervey said, "The message is clear enough, `Offer sacrifices to no one except God.'"

and if,…or "but if": "but if thou wilt offer," etc.

thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the [10]Lord;…if he did not intend to provide meat and entertainment, but a sacrifice, then he should take care that he did not offer it to alien gods, which during this time of apostasy was very much the custom with Israel (see [11](Judges 13:1); but to the true Jehovah, and not to a man, a servant of his, a prophet or an angel, but only to himself.

The stranger declined Manoah’s hospitality and asserted that if the meat were to be a burnt offering, it must be presented to the Lord [12](Jud 13:6). Manoah needed this instruction, for his purpose was to offer the prepared victuals to him, not as the Lord, but as what he imagined him to be, not even an angel, but a prophet or merely a human messenger. It was on this account, and not as rejecting divine honors, that he spoke in this manner to Manoah. The angel's language was exactly similar to that of our Lord [13](Mt 19:17).

Observe: Angels do not need meat or drink; but the glorifying of God is their meat and drink, and it was Christ's also, [14](John 4:34). And we in some measure do the will of God as they do, if though we cannot live without meat and drink, yet we eat and drink to the glory of God, and so turn even our common meals into sacrifices.

for Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the Lord;…he took him to be a man, a prophet sent by God, and not an angel; and much less the uncreated one, the only one to whom the sacrifice could be offered.

__________________________________verse 16 notes_____________________________
[5](Judges 13:11; KJV)  And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am.
[6](John 8:58; KJV) Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
[7](Mark 14:62; KJV)  And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
[8](John 18:5; KJV) They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.
[9]Rev. 22:9; NLT) But he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!” Note the abruptness of the phrase marking the angel's abhorrence of the thought of his being worshipped however indirectly. Contrast the fallen angel's temptation to Jesus, "Fall down and worship me" (Mt 4:9).
[10] thou must offer it unto the Lord: Showing that he did not seek his own honor but God’s, whose messenger he was.
[11](Judges 13:1; KJV) And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.
[12](Judges 13:6; KJV) Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name:
[13](Matthew 19:17; NLT) “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.”
[14](John 4:34; ASV)  Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to accomplish his work. My meat is to do the will of him that sent me—in these words, our blessed Lord teaches a lesson of zeal and earnestness to his apostles, and to all their successors in the Christian ministry. Let the salvation of souls lie nearer your heart than life itself. Let eating and drinking, labor and rest, reading, thinking, study, prayer, and all things, be directed to the accomplishment of this great work. Ministers of Jesus! Imitate your Lord! Souls are perishing for lack of knowledge—God has given you the key of the kingdom, the knowledge of his word—O open unto them the gate of life! They are dropping by thousands into hell! O pluck the brands out of the burning!—Adam Clarke's Commentary


17 And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?—Judges 13:17 (KJV)
17 Then Manoah asked the angel of the LORD, “What is your name? For when all this comes true, we want to honor you.” —Judges 13:17 (NLT)

And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, what is thy name,…“Who art thou, and by what name art thou called?” Since he could not prevail upon him to stay and eat a meal with him, he desired to know his name, and where he lived. And then, when he heard his name mentioned he could have some good things to say about him; or if any message was sent by him, as Jarchi suggests, he would recognize his name, and respect the message. But the angel refused to tell him his name (see verse 18), which would somewhat gratify his curiosity. Manoah desired to know his name, and the tribe he was from, not because he doubted the truth of his message, but he thought that someday he might return his visit, and become better acquainted with him (it is good to increase and improve our acquaintance with good men and good ministers); and besides, he has even more reasons for wanting to know his name:

  • that when thy sayings come to pass, we may do thee honour; celebrate thee as a true prophet, and recommend others to thee for divine instructions,
  • that we may call the child that shall be born after thy name, and honor you in that way,
  • or we may send thee a present to honor one whom God has honored.

that when thy sayings come to pass, we may do thee honour?...Armed with this personal information, they could say that such a prophet, whose name is such, and lives in such a place, foretold these things; or that they might send him a present, as a reward for his service and inconvenience; hence we say the reward of a laborer, and the maintenance of a Gospel minister, is called an "honor", [15](1 Timothy 5:17); and  Josephus commented, that they might give him thanks, and send him a present, which they usually gave to prophets.

__________________________verse 17 notes____________________________

[15](1 Timothy 5:17; ASV)  Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and in teaching. Double honor—Almost every critic of note allows that τιμη here signifies reward, stipend, wages. Let him have a double or a larger salary who rules well; and why? Because in the discharge of his office he must be at expense, in proportion to his diligence, in visiting and relieving the sick, in lodging and providing for strangers; in a word, in his being given to hospitality, which was required of every bishop or presbyter.
especially those who labor in the word and in teaching. Double honor—Those who not only preach publicly, but instruct privately, catechize, etc. Some think this refers to distinct ecclesiastical orders; but these technical distinctions were, in my opinion, a work of later times.—Adam Clarke's Commentary

 

18 And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?—Judges 13:18 (KJV)
18 “Why do you ask my name?” the angel of the LORD replied. “It is too wonderful for you to understand.”—Judges 13:18 (NLT)

And the angel of the Lord said unto him…the angel comes across as demanding, and persistent in his communication with Manoah.

why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?...and not to be known; the same can be said of his nature and essence as a divine Person. That which may be meant by his name, is what surpasses knowledge, and is infinite and incomprehensible; see [16](Proverbs 30:4) or "wonderful"; which is one of the names of Christ, and fitly agrees with him, who is wonderful in his person, as God and man; in his incarnation, in his offices and relations, in his love for his people, and in all he is to them, and has done for them.

It was because of the secrecy surrounding his name that they wanted to know it. The ASV interprets this verse as “And the angel of Jehovah said unto him, Wherefore askest thou after my name, seeing it is wonderful?” The angel does not say that it was secret, but it is WONDERFUL; the very character that is given to Jesus Christ, Isaiah 9:6: His name shall be called, Wonderful; and it is supposed by some that the angel gives this as his name, and consequently that he was our blessed Lord. Hence, Manoah's request elicited the most unequivocal proofs of the divinity of this supernatural visitor—in his name "secret" (in the Margin, "wonderful"), and in the miraculous flame that betokened the acceptance of the sacrifice. Isaiah 9:6 is a prophecy of the Messiah. It seems to us that the Angel of Jehovah in this chapter went a long way toward revealing his identity as, "God's pre-incarnate Son." In these nine verses, "the Angel of Jehovah" is mentioned in every verse except Judges 13:19, 22, and 23 and even there His identity can be assumed.

Moore translated "wonderful" here as "ineffable," and gave the meaning as, "The name is incomprehensible; beyond your capacity to hear and understand it."

It is significant here that the Angel of Jehovah would not “eat bread” with Manoah. This contrasts with the fact that God Himself walked and talked with Adam in the Garden of Eden, and that the Divine Messengers who visited Abraham (Gen. 18) actually ate with that patriarch. "God's contact with mankind was more intimate and natural in the distant past." Moore cited this as a belief held both by Israel and other ancient peoples. The Bible proves that this belief was true, and therefore we are justified in accepting the Pentateuch as a far older book than Judges. We have honored this certainty by accepting a date for Judges as around 1160-1100 B.C., and the date of Genesis as almost half a millennium earlier, that is, prior to 1400 B.C.

But the angel denies his request; thus, he is able to curb his curiosity: why askest thou thus after my name? Jacob himself, who wrestled with the same Angel, could not force Him to reveal his name; [17]Genesis 32:29. Manoah's request was honest and sincere and yet it was denied. God told Moses his name [18(Exodus 3:13,14), because there was a particular reason that he needed to know it, but here there was no circumstance that would require that knowledge. When Manoah asked for instructions for raising the child he was promptly told [19](Judges 13:12,13), but when he asked the angel his name, just to gratify his curiosity, he was denied. God, in his word has given us complete instructions concerning our duty, but He never intended to answer all the inquiries of an inquisitive mind. He does give him a reason for his refusal: It is secret. The names of angels were not yet revealed, to prevent the Israelites idolizing them. After the captivity, when the church was cured of idolatry, angels made themselves known to Daniel by their names, Michael and Gabriel; and to Zacharias the angel volunteered his name [20](Luke 1:19): I am Gabriel. But here the angel’s name is secret, or it is wonderful, too wonderful for us. One of Christ's names is Wonderful, [21]Isaiah 9:6. His name was kept secret for a long time, but along with the gospel it is brought to light: Jesus a Savior. Manoah must not ask because he must not know. Note, (1.) There are secret things which we are not to know, and which we must content ourselves to be in the dark about while we are here in this world. (2.) We must therefore never indulge a vain curiosity in our enquiries concerning these things. Colossians 2:18—To be willingly ignorant of those things which our great Master refuses to teach us is to be at once ignorant and wise.
Secret or Wonderful: Secret - Hidden from mortal men: or, wonderful, such as thou canst not comprehend: my nature and essence, (which is often signified by name in scripture) is incomprehensible. This shows that this was the angel of the covenant, the Son of God.

_______________________________verse 18 notes________________________________
[16](Prov 30:4; NLT) Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down? Who holds the wind in his fists? Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak? Who has created the whole wide world? What is his name—and his son’s name? Tell me if you know! What is his name?—Show me the nature of this Supreme Being. Point out his eternity, omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence; comprehend and describe him, if thou canst—Adam Clarke's Commentary
[17]Genesis 32:29; NLT) “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said. “Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. Jacob asked, Tell me . . . thy name -- The request was denied that he might not be too elated with his conquest nor suppose that he had obtained such advantage over the angel as to make him do what he pleased.—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
[18(Exodus 3:13,14; KJV) And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. I AM THAT I AM—‏ These words have been variously understood. The Vulgate translates EGO SUM QUI SUM, I am who am. The Septuagint, Εγω ειμι ὁ Ων, I am he who exists. The Syriac, the Persic, and the Chaldee preserve the original words without any gloss. The Arabic paraphrases them, The Eternal, who passes not away; which is the same interpretation given by Abul Farajius, who also preserves the original words, and gives the above as their interpretation. The Targum of Jonathan, and the Jerusalem Targum paraphrase the words thus: "He who spake, and the world was; who spake, and all things existed." As the original words literally signify, I will be what I will be, some have supposed that God simply designed to inform Moses, that what he had been to his fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he would be to him and the Israelites; and that he would perform the promises he had made to his fathers, by giving their descendants the promised land.—Adam Clarke's Commentary
[19](Judges 13:12-13; NLT) So Manoah asked him, “When your words come true, what kind of rules should govern the boy’s life and work?” The angel of the LORD replied, “Be sure your wife follows the instructions I gave her.
[20](Luke 1:19; KJV) And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
[21](Isaiah 9:6; NLT)  For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.


19 So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on.—Judges 13:19 (KJV)
19 Then Manoah took a young goat and a grain offering and offered it on a rock as a sacrifice to the LORD. And as Manoah and his wife watched, the LORD did an amazing thing.—Judges 13:19 (NLT)

So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering…The kid (a young goat) which he first thought to prepare and cook for his guests’ consumption, was instead brought for a burnt offering, due to the hint which the angel had given him: “I will stay,” the angel of the LORD replied, “but I will not eat anything. However, you may prepare a burnt offering as a sacrifice to the LORD.” (v.16). And a meat offering, was joined to it which was customary whenever burnt offerings were made; see [22](Numbers 15:3,4).

and offered it upon a rock unto the Lord;…nothing fancy here—since Manoah was not a priest, and this was not a proper place to sacrifice; high places were now forbidden, and the only proper place to make a sacrifice, at this time, was at the tabernacle in Shiloh; yet all this was dispensed with, and Manoah was justified in what he did, because the angel of the Lord had sanctified it as an altar through the miraculous acceptance of the sacrifice, and a wonderful (miraculous) act, (see verse 20). The rock was probably near the place where this meeting between Manoah and his wife with the angel took place. The rock served as an altar on which Manoah sacrificed, not to idols, but to the true Jehovah, as the angel instructed him. The angel's presence and authority was ample authorization for a person who was not a priest to offer a sacrifice, and to do it in a place otherwise forbidden.

Observe: , Manoah brought the offering and laid it on the rock and I suppose he must have said something like this: "Lord, here it is, do what you please with it." In the same way, we must bring our hearts to God as living sacrifices, and submit them to the operation of his Spirit.

and the angel did wondrously;…which corresponds to his name, which was "Wonderful", (Judges 13:18) or ; he, being wonderful, performed wonderful things; for this angel was none other than Jehovah the Son. The act, which he did wondrously is described in verse 20; as Kimchi observes, {He did wondrously }by bringing fire out of the rock, which consumed the flesh of the kid, and the meat offering, and then ascending in the flame. Josephus says, that he touched the flesh with a rod he had, and fire sparkled out, and consumed it along with the bread, or meat offering. It is not stated here, but the consumption of Manoah's offering by fire probably came about as it did when this same Angel of Jehovah touched Gideon's offering with the end of his staff, causing fire to come up out of the altar and devour the burnt-offering [23](Judges 6:21). This incident and Gideon’s experience is reminiscent of Elijah’s contest with the 400 priests of Bail: Immediately the fire of the LORD flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! (1 Kings 18:38; NLT).

and Manoah and his wife looked on;…to see either fire come down from heaven, or spring up out of the rock, which consumed the sacrifice, and showed the Lord's acceptance of it, and also the angel's ascending in it. They saw it with their own eyes; perhaps they were treated to this miracle to solidify their faith and strengthen their resolve to bring up the child as a Nazarite. We are told in the next verse that when Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell upon their faces to the earth {in worship}, because they discovered from the miracle that it was the angel of the Lord who had appeared to them.


______________________________verse 19 notes________________________________

[22](Num 15:3-4; NLT) you will offer special gifts as a pleasing aroma to the LORD. These gifts may take the form of a burnt offering, a sacrifice to fulfill a vow, a voluntary offering, or an offering at any of your annual festivals, and they may be taken from your herds of cattle or your flocks of sheep and goats. When you present these offerings, you must also give the LORD a grain offering of two quarts of choice flour mixed with one quart of olive oil.
[23](Judges 6:21; ASV) Then the angel of Jehovah put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there went up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and the angel of Jehovah departed out of his sight.

 

20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground.—Judges 13:20 (KJV)
20 As the flames from the altar shot up toward the sky, the angel of the LORD ascended in the fire. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell with their faces to the ground.
—Judges 13:20 (NLT)

For it came to pass, when the [24]flame went up towards heaven from off the altar…That is, from the rock, which served as an altar, and from where {perhaps} the fire sprung which consumed both the burnt offering and the meat offering, the flame of which went up to heaven; this rock or altar did not have a covering, but was open to the heavens.

that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar;…making use of the smoke, as a vehicle in which he openly went up to heaven, according to Josephus.

He ascended up towards heaven in the flame of the altar. By this it appeared that he was not, as they thought, a mere man, but a messenger directly from heaven. For certainly, he descended, before he ascended, [25]John 3:13,6:62. This signified God's acceptance of the offering and alludes to what we owe the acceptance of all our offerings, even to the mediation of the angel of the covenant, that other angel, who puts much incense to the prayers of saints and so offers them before the throne, [26]Revelation 8:3. Prayer is the ascent of the soul to God. But it is Christ in the heart by faith that makes it an offering of a sweet-smelling savor: without him our services are offensive smoke, but, in him, acceptable flame. We may apply it to Christ's sacrifice of himself for us; he ascended in the flame of his own offering, for by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, Hebrews 9:12. While the angel did this, it is said twice (Judges 13:19,20) that Manoah and his wife looked on. This is a proof of the miracle, for out of the mouth of these two eye-witnesses the report of it is recognized. The angel did everything that was done in the sacrifice; all they did was to look on; yet, when the angel ascended towards heaven, their hearts ascended with him in thanksgiving for the blessed promise that the angel disclosed. Yet, when the angel ascended, they dared not, as those that were the witnesses of Christ's ascension, stand gazing up into heaven, but in holy fear and reverence they fell on their faces to the ground. We can be very sure that this final action by the Angel of Jehovah removed any doubts that they might have had concerning the identity of their heavenly visitor. What a wonderful day it had been for them! Not only did they learn that they were to have a son born by God's miraculous intervention, but they also came to know that his birth was announced by God's pre-incarnate Son, the Angel of Jehovah.

and Manoah and his wife looked on it;…on the flame and smoke, and the angel in it as he ascended; just as the disciples of Christ looked steadfastly on him as he went up to heaven, when a cloud received him out of their sight, [27](Acts 1:9,10)

and fell on their faces to the ground;…with astonishment and surprise at what they saw; with fear and reverence for the divine Being, of whose presence they were now aware, and now they worshiped him, and prayed to him.
No wonder they fell on their faces; partly in reverence to that glorious presence manifested in so wonderful a manner: and partly, out of a religious horror and fear of death. Only a very few favored persons were ever permitted to see the Angel of Jehovah: Moses, Gideon, Joshua, Zechariah and Manoah and his wife were among those so blessed.


_________________________verse 20 notes__________________________

[24](2 Kings 2.11; NLT) As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It drove between the two men, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven. Elijah went up—into heaven—He was truly translated; and the words here leave us no room to indulge the conjecture of Dr. Priestley, who supposes that as "Enoch, (probably Moses), Elijah, and Christ, had no relation to any other world or planet, they are no doubt in this;" for we are told that Elijah went up into heaven; and we know, from the sure testimony of the Scripture, that our blessed Lord is at the right hand of the Majesty on high, ever living to make intercession for us.—Adam Clarke's Commentary; Psalms 47:5; Hebrews 1:3
[25](John 3:13, 6:62; NLT) No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven…Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again?
[26](Revelation 8:3; ASV) And another angel came and stood over the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should add it unto the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. Much incense, that he should offer it—Judgments of God are now about to be executed; the saints—the genuine Christians, pray much to God for protection. The angelic priest comes with much incense, standing between the living and those consigned to death, and offers his incense to God WITH the prayers of the saints.—Adam Clarke's Commentary
[27](ACTS 1.9-11; KJV) And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.


 

21 But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD.—Judges 13:21 (KJV)
21 The angel did not appear again to Manoah and his wife. Manoah finally realized it was the angel of the LORD,—Judges 13:21 (NLT)

But the angel of the Lord did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife…As the flame and smoke ascended, he disappeared, and they never saw him again. He came to them for a particular occasion, now it was over.  He was not sent to lay the groundwork for a constant communication, which is how it is with the prophets. Manoah and his wife must remember and comply with what the angel had said and not expect to hear more from him.

then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the Lord;…by the wondrous things he did, causing fire to come down from heaven, or out of the rock, ascending in the midst of the flame, without being hurt by it, and going up to heaven in it. And now they knew that he was an angel of the Lord. It was obvious that his was not the body of a man, since it was not chained to the earth, and fire did not concern him given that he ascended in flame, and therefore they had good reason to conclude it was an angel; for he maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.


22 And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.
—Judges 13:22 (KJV)
22 and he said to his wife, “We will certainly die, for we have seen God!”—Judges 13:22 (NLT)

And Manoah said unto his wife…as they rise from the ground, from where they had fallen on their faces. Now that the angel had gone they had time to reflect upon what they had seen. Even as the angel did wondrously, they looked on, and said nothing (likewise it becomes us to carefully observe the wondrous works of God, and to be silent before him); but when he had gone, having finished his work, they had time to make their reflections.

we shall surely die, because we have seen God;…from this, it appears that he not only believed the stranger to be an angel, and not a man, but a divine Person; therefore, they conclude that they would die since they had seen an angel. At that time, the belief was, that an appearance of God would bring death to all who saw Him, and they were surprised when death did not follow, [28](Genesis 32:30) [29](Judges 6:22,23).

Gideon had faced this same visitor and his reaction was a natural expression of the distressed state of his mind: as if he had said, “Have mercy on me, O Lord God! else I shall die; because I have seen an angel of Jehovah face to face.” We have frequently seen that it was a prevalent sentiment, from the very beginning, that if any man saw God or his representative angel he must surely die. On this account Gideon is alarmed, and prays for his life. This notion also prevailed among the heathen nations.

We shall surely die, because we have seen God was a very logical deduction for Manoah, because God had stated through Moses that, "Thou shalt not see my face; for man shall not see me and live" (Exodus 32:20). Yes, he knew the Book of Moses, and it hardly needs mentioning that hundreds of examples of this same phenomenon utterly contradict and destroy the critical fairy tale about the Pentateuch's being a late production. Gideon was also familiar with the same teaching [29](Judges 6:22), as was Isaiah [30](Isaiah 6:5).

We may be surprised at Manoah’s reaction being one of fear, fear that now he was going to die. After all, the angel had spoken with great assurance of the son they should shortly be the joyful parents of [31](Judges 13:8,12), and He gave them guidelines for raising him. He should have realized that the Angel did not intend to kill him, but to strengthened and encouraged his faith instead.


_________________________verse 22 notes____________________________
[28](Genesis 32:30; KJV) And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
[29](Judges 6:22,23; KJV) And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face. And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.
[30](Isaiah 6:5; KJV) Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
[31](Judges 13:8,12; KJV ) Then Manoah intreated 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…And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?


 

23 But his wife said unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these —Judges 13:23 (KJV)
23 But his wife said, “If the LORD were going to kill us, he wouldn’t have accepted our burnt offering and grain offering. He wouldn’t have appeared to us and told us this wonderful thing and done these miracles.” —Judges 13:23 (NLT)

But his wife said unto him…She seems to be less fearful, and the strongest believer of the two. Conversely her husband appears to be greatly intimidated, so she attempted to comfort and strengthen him by the three arguments found in this verse.

But first, I want to summarize the reaction of Manoah and his wife to the Angel and His message:
a. Manoah perhaps knows what God had said before to Moses in Exodus 33:20: You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live. Manoah was terrified that, because they had just encountered the Lord, that they would shortly be killed
b. But the response of Manoah's wife is perceptive and encouraging for Manoah and also for us: God hadn't promised them a special son and did the miraculous to abandon them now. What God's has done for us and through us in the past is a promise of His future care and blessing for us
c. Manoah's wife was an invaluable source of encouragement for his faith. She didn't criticize Manoah. She didn't say, "What a silly man you are. What a stupid man you must be to be so frightened." You won't spur someone's faith by criticizing them, you must encourage them and build their faith up
d. The basis of the faith of Manoah's wife was that she knew that the Lord had accepted their offering to Him. If the Lord wanted to do you evil, He would have never accepted an offering on your behalf - the offering of Jesus on the cross

if the Lord was pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands;…it was at the direction of this illustrious Person that they offered these offerings, and he testified to the divine acceptance of them, by causing fire to consume them in an extraordinary manner, which was always deemed a token of God's acceptance of them; and besides, the angel went up in the flame, as a sign that He was well pleased with them, and then, as if He giving his personal stamp of approval to their sacrifice, He carries it up to heaven with him, as a sweet-smelling savor to God. Here the angel is called Jehovah (Lord) by the woman, which shows this was the uncreated angel.

Manoah’s wife demonstrated that she had great faith. She may have been the weaker vessel, but she proved to be the stronger believer, which perhaps was the reason why the angel chose to appear to her on two occasions. Manoah's heart began to fail him, but his wife, like a true help meet, encouraged him. Two are better than one, because, if one should fall into depression and despondency, the other will help to raise him up. Yoke-fellows (an associate or companion, especially at work; partner; spouse.) should piously assist each other's faith and joy when the occasion requires it. None could argue better than Manoah's wife does here: We shall surely die, said her husband; "Nay," said she, "we need not fear that; let us never turn that against us which is really for us. We shall not die unless God is pleased to kill us: our death must come from his hand and his pleasure. Now the tokens of his favor which we have received forbid us to think that he has plans for our destruction. If He wanted to kill us, He would not have accepted our sacrifice, and signified to us his acceptance of it by turning it to ashes, [32]Psalms 20:3. The sacrifice was the ransom of our lives, and the fire consuming it was a plain indication of the turning away of his wrath from us. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination, but you see ours is not. He would not have shown us all these things, these strange sights, now at a time when there is little or no heavenly vision [33](1 Samuel 3:1), nor would he have given these exceedingly great and precious promises of a son that we will bring-up to be a Nazarite and a deliverer of Israel—he would not have told us such things as these if he had been planning to kill us.

Note, It appears that God does not desire or plan the death of sinners, since he has accepted the great sacrifice which Christ offered up for their salvation, and He has given them ways to obtain his favor, and has assured them that they will have it upon their repentance. If He wanted to kill them, he would not have done so very much to save them. And now I want to encourage those good Christians who have had communion with God through His word and prayer. He may have graciously manifested himself to them, by a still-small-voice or by the influence of the Holy Spirit and hence, they have reason to think God has accepted their works, and so they can take encouragement when they must face a cloudy and dark day. "God would not have done what he has done for my soul if he had planned all along to forsake me, and leave me to perish; because his work is perfect. Learn to reason like Manoah's wife did, "If God had intended for me to perish under his wrath, he would not have given me such wonderful tokens of his favor." O woman! great is thy faith!

Friend, allow me to put this on a personal note. This is excellent reasoning, and may be of great use to every truly religious mind, in the cloudy and dark days of life. It is not likely that God, who has preserved you so long, borne with you so long, and fed and supported you all your life, even during that time when you made no effort to know Him is less willing to save and provide for you and your loved-ones now than he was when you probably trusted Him less. He, who freely gave his Son to redeem you, can never be indifferent to your wellbeing; and if he gives you power to pray to him and to trust in him, it is not at all likely that he will be seeking an opportunity to destroy you? Add to this the light that shows you your wretchedness, ingratitude, and disobedience, that is in itself a proof that he is waiting to be gracious to you; and then there is the pain that brings repentance, and the bitter regret for your unfaithfulness, that are a fire of God’s own kindling, and are sent to direct and refine, not to drive you out of the way and destroy you. Now consider this; would He have told you about His love, mercy, and kindness, and unwillingness to destroy sinners, if he had been determined not to extend His mercy to you.

neither would he have showed us all these things;…they saw the appearance of a divine Person in a human form, the consuming of the sacrifice by fire in so strange a manner, and the heavenwards ascent of the angel in the flame.

nor would, as at this time, have told us [such things] as these;…that they would have a son; how the woman was to conduct herself during her pregnancy; and how the child was to be brought up, and how God would use him to fulfill his purpose to begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. Now all this would not have been made known at such a time of distress, as the nation was now in, unless God had decided to comfort them; he would never have told them of the son to be born to them, if they were to be destroyed immediately.

The good sense of Manoah's wife prevailed here and removed their fears.

____________________________verse 23 notes____________________________
[32](Psalms 20:3; NLT) May he remember all your gifts and look favorably on your burnt offerings.
[33](1 Samuel 3:1; NLT) Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the LORD by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the LORD were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon. There was no open vision—There was no public accredited prophet; one with whom the secret of the Lord was known to dwell, and to whom all might have recourse in cases of doubt or public emergency.—Adam Clarke's Commentary

 

 

 

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