Regters 13

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1 En toe die kinders van Israel weer doen wat verkeerd is in die van die HERE, het die HERE hulle oorgegee in die hand van die Filistyne, veertig jaar lank.

2 En daar was 'n man uit Sórea, uit die geslag van die Daniete, met die naam van Manóag; en sy vrou was onvrugbaar en het geen kinders gehad nie.

3 Maar die Engel van die HERE het aan die vrou verskyn en vir haar gesê: Kyk, jy is onvrugbaar en het geen kinders gehad nie, maar jy sal swanger word en 'n seun baar.

4 Neem jou dan nou tog in ag en drink geen wyn of sterk drank nie en eet niks wat onrein is nie.

5 Want kyk, jy sal swanger word en 'n seun baar, en geen skeermes mag op sy hoof kom nie; want die seun sal van die moederskoot af 'n nasireër van God wees, en hy sal Israel begin verlos uit die hand van die Filistyne.

6 Daarop kom die vrou in en spreek met haar man en : 'n man van God het na my gekom, en sy voorkoms was soos die voorkoms van die Engel van God, baie vreeslik; maar ek het Hom nie gevra waar Hy vandaan was nie, en sy naam het hy my nie meegedeel nie.

7 Maar Hy het vir my gesê: Kyk, jy sal swanger word en 'n seun baar; drink dan nou geen wyn of sterk drank nie, en eet niks wat onrein is nie; want die seun sal 'n nasireër van God wees van die moederskoot af tot die dag van sy dood toe.

8 En Manóag het tot die HERE gebid en gesê: Ag, HERE, laat tog die man van God wat U gestuur het, nog 'n keer na ons toe kom, dat hy ons kan leer hoe ons moet maak met die seun wat gebore sal word.

9 En God het geluister na die stem van Manóag, sodat die Engel van God nog 'n keer na die vrou gekom het terwyl sy in die veld sit en haar man Manóag nie by haar was nie.

10 En die vrou het haastig geloop en haar man dit vertel en vir hom gesê: Kyk, die man het aan my verskyn wat die ander dag na my gekom het.

11 Toe staan Manóag op en loop agter sy vrou aan, en hy kom by die man en vra hom: Is U die man wat met dié vrou gespreek het? Toe Hy: Ja.

12 Daarop vra Manóag: As u woorde nou uitkom, wat moet die leefwyse en die werk van die seun wees?

13 Toe die Engel van die HERE aan Manóag: Vir alles wat Ek aan die vrou gesê het, moet sy haar in ag neem.

14 Van alles wat van die wingerdstok afkomstig is, mag sy nie eet nie; en geen wyn of sterk drank moet sy drink nie en niks eet wat onrein is nie; alles wat Ek haar beveel het, moet sy onderhou.

15 Manóag aan die Engel van die HERE: Laat ons U tog ophou, dat ons 'n bokkie vir U kan berei.

16 En die Engel van die HERE antwoord Manóag: Al hou jy My op, Ek sal nie van jou brood eet nie; maar as jy 'n brandoffer wil berei, offer dit dan aan die HERE. Want Manóag het nie geweet dat dit die Engel van die HERE was nie.

17 Daarop vra Manóag die Engel van die HERE: Wat is u naam, dat ons U kan vereer as u woord uitkom?

18 En die Engel van die HERE vir hom: Waarom vra jy dan na my naam terwyl hy wonderbaar is?

19 Toe neem Manóag die bokkie en die spysoffer en offer dit op die rots aan die HERE terwyl Hy wonderbaarlik handel voor die oë van Manóag en sy vrou:

20 toe die vlam van die altaar opstyg na bo, het die Engel van die HERE in die vlam van die altaar opgevaar; en Manóag en sy vrou het dit gesien en met hulle aangesig op die grond geval.

21 En die Engel van die HERE het verder nie meer aan Manóag en sy vrou verskyn nie. Daarop bemerk Manóag dat dit die Engel van die HERE was.

22 En Manóag vir sy vrou: Ons sal sekerlik sterwe, omdat ons God gesien het.

23 Maar sy vrou vir hom: As die HERE ons wou laat sterwe, sou Hy nie uit ons hand 'n brandoffer en 'n spysoffer aangeneem en ons al hierdie dinge laat sien en ons nou sulke dinge laat hoor het nie.

24 En die vrou het 'n seun gebaar en hom Simson genoem; en die kind het groot geword, en die HERE het hom geseën.

25 En die Gees van die HERE het hom begin drywe in die laer van Dan tussen Sórea en Estáol.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Regters 13      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 13: The birth of Samson.

Chapters 13-16 of Judges tell the story of Samson, one of the greatest judges of Israel. At the time of Samson’s birth, Israel had been under Philistine oppression for forty years, because they had once again sinned against the Lord. As we have seen in previous chapters, the Lord appears to have punished them, but this is not the case; it is really our own waywardness that brings about these negative consequences.

This story begins with Samson’s parents, Manoah and his wife. Manoah’s wife was barren, but the angel of the Lord appeared to her, with news that she would have a son. The angel said that she was forbidden to drink alcohol or eat anything unclean, and that her son was never to have his hair cut, for he would be a Nazirite. And finally, the angel prophesied that her son would deliver Israel from the Philistines.

When Manoah’s wife told him what had happened, he prayed to the Lord for the man to return. The angel reappeared to Manoah’s wife, so she brought her husband to speak with the angel directly. Manoah asked what they should do for their child, but the angel only told Manoah that his wife must follow the instructions she had received.

Manoah offered a meal to the angel of the Lord, but the angel declined, saying that the burnt offering must be made to the Lord. Manoah brought out the meat of a young goat, placed it upon a rock, and gave it as a burnt offering to the Lord. The angel of the Lord ascended in the flames toward heaven, and the couple knew that they had seen God.

In time, Samson was born, and the Lord blessed him.

*****

Samson’s name literally means “sun-like”. He was a mighty warrior, a womaniser, and a powerful character prone to sudden outbursts and rage, but his intention was to defend Israel and defeat the Philistines. He was strong in his acknowledgement of his people and his God.

Samson represents the Lord in His divine human, and also the power of the Word in its literal sense. This is why Samson had strength in the abundance of his hair (see Swedenbrog’s works, Doctrine of Sacred Scripture 49[2], and Arcana Caelestia 9836[2]).

Spiritually, barrenness stands for a lack of personal doctrine or a spiritual path, representing how life can feel before regeneration begins. The angel of the Lord appeared to just the woman at first, because the purpose of regeneration is primarily to make us love what is good (represented by a woman). We do this by knowing and obeying truth (represented by a man).

The Nazarites, who vowed not to drink or cut their hair, represented the Lord as the Word in its ultimate and fullest sense (see Swedenborg’s work, Apocalypse Revealed 47). These customs are the marks of a natural and genuine life, as wine can lead us astray, and focusing on appearances can lead to vanity. Above all, Samson’s uncut hair represented this greatness of divine truths from the Word (see Swedenborg’s work, True Christian Religion 214).

The angel was reluctant to tell Manoah and his wife details about their son’s future, except that he would be a Nazarite, and would deliver Israel. He intentionally kept them from knowing what would take place, because if they knew the future, they would no longer be able to act in freedom. Divine Providence - the Lord’s plan for our world - cannot be disclosed to us, or we would no longer live in freedom to make our own decisions (Arcana Caelestia 2493).

Manoah asked the angel what his name was, so he could be honored. However, the angel declined to tell them, as his name was wonderful. A name describes a person’s spiritual qualities, and we are unable to fathom the extent of heavenly qualities because they are of God.

The spiritual meaning of Manoah’s sacrifice comes from the correspondence of a young goat (innocence within the human soul) and the rock (truth). The young goat, placed on the rock as a sacrifice, represents worshipping from our hearts in faith to the Lord. This is the Lord’s requirement of us (Doctrine of Sacred Scripture 18[3] and Arcana Caelestia 9393).

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