Dommere 13

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1 Men Israelitterne blev ved at gøre, hvad der var ondt i HE ENS Øjne, og HE EN gav dem i Filisternes Hånd i fyrretyve År.

2 Der levede i Zora en Mand af Daniternes Slægt ved Navn Manoa; hans Hustru var ufrugtbar og havde ingen Børn født.

3 Nu viste HE ENs Engel sig for Kvinden og sagde til hende: "Se, du er ufrugtbar og har ingen Børn født; men du skal blive frugtsommelig og føde en Søn.

4 Vogt dig vel for at drikke Vin eller stærk Drik og for at spise noget som helst urent!

5 Thi se, du skal blive frugtsommelig og føde en Søn. Der må ikke komme agekniv på hans Hoved, thi Drengen skal være en Guds Nasiræer fra Moders Liv af; og han skal gøre de første Skridt til at frelse Israel af Filisternes Hånd!"

6 Kvinden gik nu hen og sagde til sin Mand: "Der kom en Guds Mand til mig, og han så ud som en Guds Engel; såre frygtindgydende; jeg spurgte ham ikke, hvor han var fra, og sit Navn gav han mig ikke til Kende.

7 Han sagde til mig: Se, du skal blive frugtsommelig og føde en Søn; drik nu ikke Vin eller stærk Drik og spis intet som helst urent, thi Drengen skal være en Guds Nasiræer fra Moders Liv af til sin Dødedag!"

8 Da bad Manoa til HE EN og sagde: "Ak, HE E, lad den Guds Mand, du sendte, atter komme til os for at lære os, hvorledes vi skal bære os ad med den Dreng, der skal fødes!"

9 Og Gud bønhørte Manoa; og Guds Engel kom atter til Kvinden, medens hun sad ude på Marken, men Manoa, hendes Mand, var ikke hos hende.

10 Da skyndte Kvinden sig hen til sin Mand, fortalte ham det og sagde til ham: "Se, den Mand, som kom til mig forleden, har vist sig for mig!"

11 Manoa stod da op og gik med sin Hustru, og da han kom hen til Manden, sagde han til ham: "Er du den Mand, som talte til Kvinden?" Og han sagde: "Ja!"

12 sagde Manoa: "Når nu dit Ord går i Opfyldelse, hvorledes skal vi da forholde os og bære os ad med Drengen?"

13 HE ENs Engel svarede Manoa: "Alt det, jeg talte om til Kvinden, skal hun vogte sig for;

14 intet af, hvad der vokser på Vinstokken, må hun spise; Vin og stærk Drik må hun ikke drikke, og intet urent må hun spise; alt, hvad jeg bød hende, skal hun overholde!"

15 Da sagde Manoa til HE ENs Engel: "Vi vilde gerne holde dig tilbage og tillave dig et Gedekid!"

16 Men HE ENs Engel svarede Manoa: "Selv om du holder mig tilbage, spiser jeg ikke af din Mad; men vil du ofre et Brændoffer, så bring HE EN det!" Thi Manoa vidste ikke, at det var HE ENs Engel.

17 Og Manoa sagde til HE ENs Engel: "Hvad er dit Navn? Når dit Ord går i Opfyldelse, vil vi ære dig!"

18 Men HE ENs Engel svarede: "Hvorfor spørger du om mit Navn? Du skal vide, det er underfuldt."

19 Da tog Manoa Gedekiddet og Afgrødeofferet og ofrede det på Klippen til HE EN, ham, som handler underfuldt, og Manoa og hans Hustru så til.

20 Og da Flammen slog op imod Himmelen fra Alteret, steg HE ENs Engel op i Alterflammen, medens Manoa og hans Hustru så til; og de faldt til Jorden på deres Ansigt.

21 Og HE ENs Engel viste sig ikke mere for Manoa og hans Hustru. Så forstod Manoa, at det var HE ENs Engel.

22 Og Manoa sagde til sin Hustru: "Vi er dødsens, thi vi har set Gud!"

23 Men hans Hustru sagde til ham: "Havde HE EN i Sinde at dræbe os, havde han ikke modtaget Brændoffer og Afgrødeoffer af vor Hånd; heller ikke havde han ladet os se alt det og nu kundgjort os sådanne Ting!"

24 Og Kvinden fødte en Søn, som hun gav Navnet Samson. Drengen voksede op, og HE EN velsignede ham;

25 og HE ENs Ånd begyndte at drive på ham i Dans Lejr mellem Zora og Esjtaol.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Dommere 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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