Very little is known about her including her name. Her story begins in Judges 13 verse one:
And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.
Barren, that seemed to be her title, and she was in good company. Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel all were barren, wives of the patriarchs. But she had no hope that she would lose that title, it seemed to come with a lifetime warranty, so you can imagine her surprise when she saw an angel standing before her telling her that she could expect to have a son. Without even giving her time to react the angel continues to rattle off some instructions to her in verses four and five.
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.
And just like that he is gone, no hello or goodbyes, no additional explanations, nothing. Her response to the message is to find her husband. In verses six and seven we read:
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: But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.
If you take the time to imagine the scene, it can become quite humorous. Let's retell it just a little:
Manoah is quietly doing his work when his wife arrives, breathless and tells him between deep breaths, a man of God came, and his countenance, Oh, it was like the countenance of an angel of God, terrible, very terrible, but I didn’t ask him where he came from or who he was and he didn’t bother to tell me. BUT he told me that I was going to have a baby, a son. AND he said I could not drink wine or strong drink or eat any unclean thing because the child will be a Nazarite to God from the womb to his death.
This must have been a lot for Manoah to take in, after all, it is not everyday that your wife comes running up to you saying an angel told her she was going to have a son. Whatever his reaction to the message, we do know that he had a request to ask of God. Verse eight:
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.
A Desire to Learn
Manoah's response is moving. It is no stretch to say that both he and his wife longed to have a child. Children were so important in their culture, they were their legacy and social security. Manoah did not treat this heavenly news lightly. He desired to learn how he should raise the child, he wanted to do it right, to be a good father and possessed a heart that was teachable. In proverbs 1:5 we read
A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
And in Proverbs 9:9 it says:
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
A trademark of a wise person is that they are teachable. They recognize that they don’t have all the answers. They know they can always learn more and are humble enough to ask questions and seek help, like Manoah did. He understood that this child was meant to do something great which is why he needed to know exactly what he and his wife should do. What a great lesson for us as well as a reminder, nothing we have is ours alone, it is from the Lord. Every talent, every possession and even every person in our life, they are all from the Lord and if we want to be good stewards of what He has given to us then we should ask Him how to manage it all.
The gifts we have been given should be used under the direction of the Lord. The possessions He has poured out on us should be used as He guides us. And above all, the people God entrusts to us such as children should be handled with the wisdom He gives. This can also apply to how we treat our parents, siblings and friends, they are all a gift from the Lord and are the only possession we can take to Heaven with us. Relationships matter to the Lord, each person is made in the image of God so we should look to Him for guidance in how we interact with those He has blessed us with. Another lesson we can learn from the Manoahs is this. They had waited a long time for a child and God was giving them a desire of their heart, their first response was to seek the Lord’s wisdom. How many times have we spent years asking God for something but when we receive it we do as we please with it instead of continuing to pray over it?
A Request Granted
Manoah treasured his gift from the Lord and wanted to do his best in raising this child, so he intreated the Lord to send the man of God to them again so they could know what to do. God's sweet response is found in verse nine:
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.
God honored his request, remember that in James 1:5 we are told,
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Manoah asked and God responded by sending the angel back, however, it is not to him directly but through is wife again. She quickly makes her back to Manoah as the scene unfold in verses ten through fourteen.
And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day. 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. And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him? And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.
Manoah and his wife eagerly took in all that the angel had to say. She was going to be on a special diet all through her pregnancy and while there is a specific reason for this it is an interesting thought that our actions and choices can have an impact on others. The decisions we make rarely affect just us which means we should be more conscious of others when making them. What we say, where we go, even the things that we recommend to others can all influence someone for good or bad. We each have a realm of influence whether we realize it or not. People, both lost and saved, are watching our actions and our reactions. This is another reason to seek the Lord’s wisdom daily, letting Him influence our life so we can be ready to influence others for good.
A Voice of Reason
For Manoah, he had one final request of this messenger and we read that in verse fifteen and sixteen.
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. 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. 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?
Though the angel agreed to this request, he did tell Manoah that he would not eat the food nor did he want praise when asked what his name. He didn't want Manoah to honor him. The angel kept the focus where it needed to be, on the Lord. It's easy to get caught up in the desire to be honored by man but we should seek to have the same attitude as the angel of the Lord. He understood that he was merely a messenger sent to do the bidding of the Lord. We are also ambassadors for Christ, His messengers sent to do His work, to spread the gospel, to share His love, and be a light to the world. We should never seek our own glory or praise our own “accomplishments”, because none of it is ours to begin with. God has blessed each of us with a specific gift that was intended to be used for His glory and His honor. May we always remember that and have an attitude of humility, careful to not yield ground to pride.
Manoah and his wife prepared an offering and the angel though he doesn’t reveal his name, reveals that he is a heavenly being. We read this in verses nineteen through twenty-two.
So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the Lord: and the angel did wonderously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. 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. 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. And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.
It must have been interesting to watch the look on Manoah’s face as the realization sinks in, he has just seen an angle. This was not a regular man of God, this was an angel of the Lord and you probably could have knocked him over with a feather. Of course, he actually fell to the ground all on his own along with his wife. Most of us would probably have had the same reaction, absolute shock and a good bit of terror. Manual seems to almost cry out in a voice of absolute panic, "we shall surely die, because we have seen God". It’s as if he is almost saying, "we are doomed!".
His wife's response is the exact opposite in verse 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.
As you read these words you can hear the calm sound of reason. She is so practical, so factual, "why would God go through so much trouble to tell us we would have a child, accept our burnt offering, give us the instructions only to kill us." While Manoah seems almost unhinged, his sweet wife simply states the facts which made perfect sense. They also reflect an understanding heart of God’s character. She believes what God has told her and knows that God is not double minded. He wouldn’t tell them they would be parents then kill them for seeing an angel. Her perspective of the situation was guided by her knowledge of God. Manoah panicked but his wife remained calm. When we look at our circumstances through our eyes we will become anxious and troubled but when we remember who God is and that He is in control, everything changes. The Psalmist expresses the same confidence in Psalm 4:8
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.
Why could he say he will lay down in peace and sleep? Because the Lord makes him to dwell in safety. He could rest because he knew who was in control, who was his shield and protector. We have the same assurances, the same promises, this is what happens when you know God more, when you dwell in His presence, you find rest. Manoah’s wife is a beautiful example of how knowing God influences our perspective and gives us peace. When life gets crazy and our circumstances leave us feeling worried or fearful may we take a moment to be still and shift our focus on the One who never leaves nor forsakes us, the One who promises to be by our side, holding us in His right hand.
A Title Replaced
In the end, Manoah’s wife would join a long list of women who traded their title of barren for another one, Mother which we read in verse 24:
And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him.
What a wonderful and exciting day that must have been for both of them. She who had longed to have a child, she who lived in the shadows of other mothers now had her moment of fulfillment, her arms now were full as she cradled her miracle, her gift from the Lord, a son called Samson. God had been preparing her for this moment, all those years of waiting, longing, hoping were not in vain. And God has not forgotten you. We have to trust in the Lord that He knows what is best for us. His timing is always perfect, He is never early and He is never late. There are many out there who have a longing of their own, to be married, to have children, maybe you are even wishing for a spouse or grandchildren for your own child. Be willing to trust the Lord with these longings and desires. He who formed you and your children, knows your every need. The best thing we can do is commit these things to prayer and leave it in His capable, loving hands. Never forget that He wants the best for you and no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.
May we choose to be a people that trust His word, His timing, and above all, believe that He loves us more than anyone else. May we be like Manoah’s wife and walk in the confidence of one who knows their God and we can only do this if we spend time in His word, take the time to quiet our souls and let Him whisper His truths into our hearts.
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I am just an ordinary girl who is loved by an extraordinary God and I seek to love others the same way. I love to bake, read, do puzzles, watch Hallmark movies, and go shopping with my mom! This blog was created as a place where I could share some thoughts that the Lord has shown me and to be an encouragement to others who desire to know Him in a deeper way. My prayer is to learn to sit still and trust God with my future.