THE UNNAMED WOMAN: A Study of the Mother of Samson

I spent the better part of two days getting this study  ready to publish.  I was just about at the end and was correcting a mistake, and something happened, I don't know what...and everything was deleted.  To say I was devastated would be an understatement. How could I possibly remember everything? Then it occurred to me, that is what Elohim does with our sins.  When we accept His Provision, the Lamb of God as our Savior, He deletes our sins as far as the East is from the West.  He remembers them no more.  How wonderful is that?

We live in a world where there are no superlatives.  Everything and everybody is "awesome" or "incredible" or "unbelievable."  As a result, nothing is. The world falls all over itself, trying to be more outrageous, more shocking, more, more, more. The noise has also been amplified.  If you'll notice, every commercial, every talk show, morning show, even news shows have a background synthesized "music" that is really not music at all, but just noise.  There's noise everywhere.  And it is by design.  The enemy wants to keep us in an agitated state.  Doesn't it seem like everyone is agitated and impatient?   The enemy doesn't want us to be quiet and still. He doesn't want us to rest.  It's hard to hear the voice of Elohim with the cacophony of the world assaulting our senses.  But His voice is usually heard in the still, small voice.  The truth is there is only One who is awesome, indescribable and incredible.  And what He has done for us is truly unbelievable. That He would go to such links to save us!  But saving us from our sins is just the beginning.  He wants us to know Him intimately.

This study is about an ordinary woman who had a simple faith in an extraordinary God.  One thing that stands out about this woman is that her name is never mentioned.  Yet she had significance, because she would be the mother of Samson, one of the men God would use to deliver Israel.  One of our basic needs is for significance, but that need can only truly be met by our Savior in our identity in Christ.  We can and do try to get that need met through our own doings, our flesh, but that need will only really be satisfied when we find our significance in Him.  When we are in Christ, our identity becomes His identity.  What is true of Him is true of us.  Then, when we look to him to meet our needs,  He accomplishes wonderful things in our lives.

This study is from Judges 13.  I will be using the New King James Version Bible and the Blue Letter Bible Outline of Biblical Usage and Strong's Concordance.

Judges 13:1-5: 'Again the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.  Now there was a certain man from Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had no children.  And the Angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, "Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son.  Now therefore, please be careful not to drink wine or similar drink, and not to eat anything unclean.  For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son.  And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb;  and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines."'

We see the man's name is Manoah Manowach which means "rest."  They live in Zorah Tsor'ah which means "hornet."  He is of the tribe of Dan Daniy which means "judge."  This actually sounds like the world we live in.  Notice, we are not given the woman's name.  We are just told she was Manoah's wife and she was barren...no children.  She seems very insignificant.  But then the Angel of the Lord appears to her and tells her she is going to have a son.  As mentioned in previous studies, these appearances of the Angel of the LORD are pre-incarnate appearances of Jesus Christ. He tells her to be careful not to drink wine or similar drink and not to eat anything unclean.

The word careful is shamar and means:
      (Niphal)
      1.  to be on one's guard, take heed, take care, beware
      2.  to keep oneself, refrain, abstain
      3.  to be kept, be guarded
Strong's:  a primitive root; properly, to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; generally, to protect, attend to, etc.:—beward, be circumspect, take heed (to self), keep(-er, self), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save (self), sure (that lay) wait (for), watch(-man).

Shamar is the same word used in Psalm 91:11 'For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.'
This is a good word for us, this shamar, for us to guard our hearts, to beware, to watch and be circumspect...to take heed to what's going on around us and not be caught up in the world or caught unaware.

Notice in this verse, also, she was to be careful not to drink or eat anything unclean before she conceived.  Life does begin at conception. We know this also, from when John the Baptist leaped in Elizabeth's womb when she heard the greeting of Mary.

The word Nazirite is naziyr and means "consecrated or devoted ones."  It can also mean an "unpruned vine (like an unshorn Nazirite)."

Naziyr is from the root nazar:
      1. to dedicate, consecrate, separate
            1. (Niphal) to dedicated oneself, devote oneself
            2. (Hiphil) to keep sacredly separate
      2.  (Hiphil) to be a Nazarite, live as a Nazarite

The instructions for the Nazirite vow are found in Numbers 6.  The vows could be taken by men or women and were for a specific time frame.  I like what GotQuestions.org says in it's answer about the Nazirite vow, "Although the Nazirite vow is an Old Testament concept, there is a New Testament parallel to the Nazirite vow. In Romans 12:1-2 Paul states, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” For Christians, the ancient Nazirite vow symbolizes the need to be separate from this world, a holy people consecrated to God (2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Peter 1:15)."

Notice also, in the words of the Angel of the LORD, "he shall begin to deliver."  In this case, the deliverance of the Israelites would be a process.  Sometimes deliverance is immediate.  Sometimes it is a process.

Judges 13:6: 'So the woman came and told her husband, saying, "A Man of God came to me, and His countenance was like the countenance of the Angel of God, very awesome; but i did not ask Him where He was from, and He did not tell me His name."'  (Emphasis mine)

The word for God is Elohim and is the name used in Genesis 1.  This is in plural form, though in Genesis and many places it is commonly construed with a singular verb.  God's identity is expressed in many names.  One thing that Elohim conveys is the Three Persons in One, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.   The Complete Jewish Study Bible says this about the name Elohim:  "This ancient name for God conveys the idea of His creative power, authority, and sovereignty." 

The woman describes Him as awesome. The word awesome is yare':
      1.  to be fearful, be dreadful, be feared
      2.  to cause astonishment and awe, be held in awe
      3.  to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe 

 She goes on to say she did not ask Him  where He was from and He did not tell her His name.  She seems to be displaying simple faith here.  She seems to know Who this is without having to ask where He's from or what His name is.  She then repeats what He said to her in verse 7:  'And He said to me, "Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son.  Now drink no wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death."' Notice, her son will be a Nazirite for life.

Judges 13: 8: 'Then Manoah prayed to the LORD, and said, "O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born."'

Here we see another name of God, Adonay, which means "lord, master."  Manoah is asking the Lord to teach them what they shall do for the child who will be born.  Manoah, whose name means "rest" is wanting to know what they should do for the child.  We all want to know what we should do.  We want to do something.  What the Lord wants us to do is enter into His rest.

Judges 12: 9: 'And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the Angel of God came to the woman again as she was sitting in the field; but Manoah her husband was not with her.'

The word sitting is yashab and means "to sit, sit down, to remain, stay, to dwell, have one's abode. She was resting, abiding. It seems like she might have been like Mary, the sister of Martha, who chose the good part and sat at the feet of Jesus.  Or Mary the Mother of Jesus, as she pondered things in her heart.  But the next verse shows us she was quick when she needed to be.  Verse 10: 'Then the woman ran in haste and told her husband, and said to him, "Look, the Man who came to me the other day has just now appeared to me!"'  Verse 11: 'So Manoah arose and followed his wife.  When he came to the Man, he said to Him, "Are You the Man who spoke to this woman?"  And He said, "I am."'

Two words here are important.  Followed is yalak 
      1.  to go , walk, come, depart, proceed, move, go away
      2.  to die, live, manner of life

After is achar  "behind, after"

What a beautiful picture these words portray of a husband dying to himself and putting his wife ahead of himself.

Judges 13: 13-14: 'Manoah said, "Now let Your words come to pass!  What will be the boy's rule of life, and his work?" So the Angel of the LORD said to Manoah, "Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful.  She may not eat anything that comes from the vine, nor may she drink wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean.  All that I commanded her let her observe."'

Again, Manoah is wanting to know about doing. But the answer is to be set apart...dedicated.  When we are set apart and sit at His feet, He makes known His plan to us and we don't have to wonder what to do.  

Judges 13: 15-16: 'Then Manoah said to the Angel of the LORD, "Please let us detain You, and we will prepare a young goat for You."  And the Angel of the LORD said to Manoah, "Though you detain Me, I will not eat your food.  But if you offer a burnt offering, you must offer it to the LORD." (For Manoah did not know He was the Angel of the LORD.)'

Manoah is wanting to provide something from his means in order to see God's face. Don't we all want to do that?  It's not obvious in this version, but he uses the word paniym, which we know from previous studies means "face" or "face to face."  It's the same word used in Exodus33:11 "So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.'    But the Angel of the LORD says He will not eat Manoah's bread.  The Lord had set up a system of sacrifices and offerings by which His people could approach Him in anticipation of the ultimate sacrifice of His Son on the cross.  He was the One to make provision.  We can make no provision.

Judges 13: 17 'Then Manoah said to the Angel of the LORD, "What is Your name, that when Your words come to pass we may honor You?"  And the Angel of the LORD said to him, "Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?"'

The word wonderful is pil'iy and means "wonderful, incomprehensible, extraordinary, remarkable; —secret, wonderful.  It's the same word used in Psalm 139: 6: 'Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.'   It comes from the root word pala' which means "to be marvelous, be wonderful, be surpassing, be extraordinary, separate by distinguishing action.  It is the same word used in Psalm 139: 14: 'I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.'  It's also the word used in Jeremiah 32: 17: 'Ah, Lord GOD!  Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.'

This also brings to mind Isaiah 9:6: 'For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.  And his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.'  The word wonderful here is pele' from the same root and means "a miracle:—marvelous thing, wonder(-ful,-fully).  

I love what The Complete Jewish Study Bible says, "In Hebrew thought, a name was not just a way of identifying a person; it was a way of revealing his or her very identity and essence.  It is the same with the names of God—only in Scripture, God's identity is expressed not just in one name but in many.  Each name of God is like a curtain on a window.  When the curtain is drawn back, the name becomes more fully known and glimpses of God can be seen.  An example of this can be found in Exodus 3:13 - 22 when Moshe (Moses) asks God what his name is.  Was he just asking what he should call God?  No, he was asking, "Who are you?  Describe yourself."  God doesn't just say, "I'm God."  He explains that he is eternal, the God of the Jewish people, A God of compassion who has taken notice of Isra'el's captivity and who will free them.  Moshe asked for a name.  he was given an expression of God's compassion and his desire to free his people (Juster, His Names Are Wonderful)."


Judges 13: 19-21: 'So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it upon the rock to the LORD.  And He did a wondrous thing while Manoah and his wife looked on—it happened as the flame went up toward heaven from the altar—the Angel of the LORD ascended in the flame on the altar!  When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground.  When the Angel of the LORD appeared no more to Manoah and his wife, then Manoah knew that He was the Angel of the LORD.'

As we have previously studied, the word rock is tsur and is a picture of Yeshua.  He does a wondrous thing.

Judges 13: 22-25: 'And Manoah said to his wife, "We shall surely die, because we have seen God!"  But his wife said to him, "If the LORD had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have told us such things as these at this time."  So the woman bore a son and called his name Samson; and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.  And the Spirit of the LORD began to move upon him at Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.'

When Manoah knew who the Angel of the LORD was, he thought they were going to die, because they had seen God.  But Manoah's wife exhibited her abiding, resting faith once again.  An ordinary woman with a simple faith.  She knew He had a purpose and a plan and put her trust in Him. 
  
One last thought.  Eshtaol Eshta'ol means "entreaty" and is from the root sha'al "to ask, inquire, borrow, beg, pray."  In the hornet's nest of a world we live in, we must continue to ask, inquire, beg and pray for the Lord to move and deliver now more than ever.  We must rest in Him, dwell with Him and continuously seek Him.

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