The Angel of the Lord Has Good News

Greetings to all my readers. Some of you are seeing this blog earlier than you normally would. The reason is that it’s Wednesday. I don’t have to be at work till 11:30, but I get off at 8 and get up bright and early at 6:30 the next day for work.

You do the math.

So, as I prepare to clock in for the day, I’m giving you today’s blog entry and our passage today will be Judges 13, the announcement of the birth of Samson.

2 A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was sterile and remained childless. 3 The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, “You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son. 4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean, 5 because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”

Note here that the Angel of the Lord has made yet another appearance and this time to a lady who is barren, which in that time and day was a disgrace. (One wonders what they’d think of our abortion culture.) He has told her that she will have a son and that he will deliver Israel from the Phillistines.

 6 Then the woman went to her husband and told him, “A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name. 7 But he said to me, ‘You will conceive and give birth to a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from birth until the day of his death.’ “

This is a passage that gives further credence to the idea that the Angel of the Lord was not always recognizable. The lady only knew about a prophecy, but she attributed it to a man of God. She did say that he looked like an angel of God. However, that is all we have from her at this point.

8 Then Manoah prayed to the LORD : “O LORD, I beg you, let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.”

 9 God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her. 10 The woman hurried to tell her husband, “He’s here! The man who appeared to me the other day!”

The husband, Manoah prays that the visitor will return and refers to him as a man of God. When the wife sees the Angel again, she refers to him as a man of God as well.

 11 Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the one who talked to my wife?”
      “I am,” he said.

 12 So Manoah asked him, “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule for the boy’s life and work?”

 13 The angel of the LORD answered, “Your wife must do all that I have told her. 14 She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her.”

 15 Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.”

 16 The angel of the LORD replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the LORD.” (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the LORD.)

In this interchange, we see at the end that the Angel of the Lord says he won’t eat anything, but if an offering is made, let it be made to the Lord, thus speaking of the Lord as someone else. However, the passage ends with saying “He did not realize that it was the angel of the Lord.” This would tell us that had he known, he would have responded differently.

17 Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the LORD, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?”

 18 He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding. “

The idea of the name should have clued Manoah in some more, but apparently, it didn’t at this point. Now some of you are hoping I’ll comment on this name. I won’t yet. I say to just wait. Sometime in the future, we will see this again. Some clever exegetes might already be putting two and two together and finding the other reference.

19 Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the LORD. And the LORD did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: 20 As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. 21 When the angel of the LORD did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the LORD.

We see here another parallel with what happened to Gideon. Also it seems that the terms “LORD” and “Angel of the Lord” are being used interchangably in this part. It is at this point that they realize the identity of their guest.

 22 “We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!”

 23 But his wife answered, “If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.”

If we ever wanted a passage that showed how the Israelites viewed the Angel of the Lord, this would be the one. The husband is immediately sure that they will die for they had seen God, but the text is clear that they saw the Angel of the Lord. Fortunately, his wife sets him straight on the matter.

So, it seems that we have a deepening doctrine as we go along on the Angel of the Lord. As we continue, we will see more Trinitarian aspects in the Old Testament.

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