Judges 13

Study

           

1 And the children of Israel again did evil in the eyes of the Lord; and the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.

2 Now there was a certain man of Zorah of the family of the Danites, and his name was Manoah; and his wife had never given birth to a child.

3 And the angel of the Lord came to the woman, and said to her, See now! though you have never given birth to children, you will be with child and give birth to a son.

4 Now then take care to have no wine or strong drink and to take no unclean thing for food;

5 For you are with child and will give birth to a son; his hair is never to be cut, for the child is to be separate to God from his birth; and he will take up the work of freeing Israel from the hands of the Philistines.

6 Then the woman came in, and said to her husband, A man came to me, and his form was like the form of a god, causing great fear; I put no question to him about where he came from, and he did not give me his name;

7 But he said to me, You are with child and will give birth to a son; and now do not take any wine or strong drink or let anything unclean be your food; for the child will be separate to God from his birth to the day of his death.

8 Then Manoah made prayer to the Lord, and said, O Lord, let the man of God whom you sent come to us again and make clear to us what we are to do for the child who is to come.

9 And God gave ear to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came to the woman again when she was seated in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her.

10 So the woman, running quickly, gave her husband the news, saying, I have seen the man who came to me the other day.

11 And Manoah got up and went after his wife, and came up to the man and said to him, Are you the man who was talking to this woman? And he said, I am.

12 And Manoah said, Now when your words come true, what is to be the rule for the child and what will be his work?

13 And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, Let the woman take note of what I have said to her.

14 She is to have nothing which comes from the vine for her food, and let her take no wine or strong drink or anything which is unclean; let her take care to do all I have given her orders to do.

15 And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, Now let us keep you while we make ready a young goat for you.

16 And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, Though you keep me I will not take of your food; but if you will make a burned offering, let it be offered to the Lord. For it had not come into Manoah's mind that he was the angel of the Lord.

17 Then Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, What is your name, so that when your words come true we may give you honour?

18 But the angel of the Lord said to him, Why are you questioning me about my name, seeing that it is a wonder?

19 So Manoah took the young goat with its meal offering, offering it on the rock to the Lord, who did strange things.

20 And when the flame went up to heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord went up in the flame of the altar, while Manoah and his wife were looking on; and they went down on their faces to the earth.

21 But the angel of the Lord was seen no more by Manoah and his wife. Then it was clear to Manoah that he was the angel of the Lord.

22 And Manoah said to his wife, Death will certainly be our fate, for it is a god whom we have seen.

23 But his wife said to him, If the Lord was purposing our death, he would not have taken our burned offering and our meal offering, or have given us such orders about the child.

24 So the woman gave birth to a son, and gave him the name Samson; and he became a man and the blessing of the Lord was on him.

25 And the spirit of the Lord first came on him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Judges 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).

    Studovat vnitřní smysl

Přeložit: