士师记 13

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1 以色列人又行耶和华眼中看为恶的事,耶和华将他们交在非利士人四十年。

2 那时,有个琐拉,是属但族的,名叫玛挪亚。他的妻不怀孕,不生育。

3 耶和华的使者向那妇人显现,对他:向来你不怀孕,不生育,如今你必怀孕生一个儿子

4 所以你当谨慎,清酒浓酒都不可,一切不洁之物也不可

5 你必怀孕生一个儿子,不可用剃刀剃他的,因为这孩子一出胎就归作拿细耳人。他必起首拯以色列人脱离非利士人

6 妇人就回去对丈夫:有一个到我面前,他的相貌如使者的相貌,甚是可畏。我没有问他从哪里,他也没有将他的名告诉我,

7 却对我:你要怀孕生一个儿子,所以清酒浓酒都不可,一切不洁之物也不可;因为这孩子从出胎一直到,必归□作拿细耳人。

8 玛挪亚就祈求耶和华啊,求你再差遣那我们这里,好指教我们怎样待这将要生的孩子。

9 应允玛挪亚的话;妇人在田间的时候,的使者又到他那里,他丈夫玛挪亚却没有同他在一处。

10 妇人急忙跑去告诉丈夫:那日到我面前,又向我显现。

11 玛挪亚起来跟随他的妻到那面前,对他:与这妇人说话的就是你麽?他:是我。

12 玛挪亚:愿你的应验!我们当怎样待这孩子,他後当怎样呢?

13 耶和华的使者对玛挪亚:我告诉妇人的一切事,他都当谨慎。

14 葡萄树所结的都不可,清酒浓酒都不可,一切不洁之物也不可。凡我所吩咐的,他都当遵守。

15 玛挪亚对耶和华的使者:求你容我们款留你,好为你预备一只山羊羔。

16 耶和华的使者对玛挪亚:你虽然款留我,我却不你的食物,你若预备燔祭就当献与耶和华。原来玛挪亚不知道他是耶和华的使者。

17 玛挪亚对耶和华的使者:请将你的名告诉我,到你应验的时候,我们好尊敬你。

18 耶和华的使者对他:你何必问我的名,我名是奇妙的。

19 玛挪亚将一只山羊羔和素祭在磐石上献与耶和华,使者行奇妙的事;玛挪亚和他的妻观

20 见火焰从上往上升,耶和华的使者在上的火焰中也升上去了。玛挪亚和他的妻见,就俯伏於地。

21 耶和华的使者不再向玛挪亚和他的妻显现,玛挪亚才知道他是耶和华的使者。

22 玛挪亚对他的妻:我们必要,因为见了

23 他的妻却对他耶和华若要杀我们,必不从我们里收纳燔祭和素祭,并不将这一切事指示我们,今日也不将这些话告诉我们

24 後来妇人生了一个儿子,给他起名参孙。孩子长大,耶和华赐福与他。

25 在玛哈尼但,就是琐拉和以实陶中间,耶和华的灵才感动他。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士师记 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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