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The Birth of Samson

1Again the people did what the LORD considered evil. So the LORD allowed the Philistines to rule over them for 40 years.

2There was a man named Manoah from the city of Zorah. He was from the tribe of Dan. Manoah had a wife, but she was not able to have any children.

3The angel of the LORD appeared to Manoah’s wife and said, “You have not been able to have children. But you will become pregnant and have a son.

4Don’t drink any wine or any other strong drink. Don’t eat any food that is unclean,

5because you are pregnant, and you will have a son. He will be dedicated to God in a special way. He will be a Nazirite. So you must never cut his hair. He will be God’s special person from before he is born. He will save the Israelites from the power of the Philistines.”

6Then the woman went to her husband and told him what had happened. She said, “A man of God came to me. He looked like the angel of God. He frightened me. I didn’t ask him where he was from, and he didn’t tell me his name.

7But he said to me, ‘You are pregnant and will have a son. Don’t drink any wine or other strong drink. Don’t eat any food that is unclean, because the boy will be dedicated to God in a special way. The boy will be God’s special person from before he is born until the day he dies.’”

8Then Manoah prayed to the LORD. He said, “Lord, I beg you to send the man of God to us again. We want him to teach us what we should do for the boy who will soon be born.”

9God heard Manoah’s prayer. The angel of God came to the woman again. She was sitting in a field and her husband Manoah was not with her.

10So the woman ran to tell her husband, “The man is back! The man who came to me the other day is here.”

11Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the same man who spoke to my wife before?” The angel said, “I am.”

12So Manoah said, “May what you say happen. Tell me, what kind of life will the boy live? What will he do?”

13The angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “Your wife must do everything I told her.

14She must not eat anything that grows on a grapevine. She must not drink any wine or strong drink. She must not eat any food that is unclean. She must do everything that I have commanded her to do.”

15Then Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “We would like for you to stay a while. We want to cook a young goat for you to eat.”

16The angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “Even if you keep me from leaving, I will not eat your food. But if you want to prepare something, offer a burnt offering to the LORD.” (Manoah did not understand that the man was really the angel of the LORD.)

17Then Manoah asked the angel of the LORD, “What is your name? We want to know so that we can honor you when what you have said really happens.”

18The angel of the LORD said, “Why do you ask my name? It is too amazing for you to believe.”

19Then Manoah sacrificed a young goat on a rock. He offered the goat and a grain offering as a gift to the LORD and to the One Who Does Amazing Things.

20Manoah and his wife were watching what happened. As the flames went up to the sky from the altar, the angel of the LORD went up to heaven in the fire. When Manoah and his wife saw that, they bowed down with their faces to the ground.

21He finally understood that the man was really the angel of the LORD. The angel of the LORD did not appear to Manoah and his wife again.

22Manoah said to his wife, “We have seen God. Surely we will die because of this.”

23But his wife said to him, “The LORD does not want to kill us. If he wanted to kill us, he would not have accepted our burnt offering and grain offering. He would not have shown us all these things or told us this.”

24So the woman had a boy. She named him Samson. He grew and the LORD blessed him.

25The Spirit of the LORD began to work in Samson while he was in the city of Mahaneh Dan. That city is between the cities of Zorah and Eshtaol.

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