Summary: This study concerns the two prayers uttered by Sampson’s father, Manoah.
Introduction: This chapter begins the section of chapters in Judges about Samson. In 13:1-7 we have the coming of an angel of the LORD to the wife of Manoah, a woman who was barren. The LORD told her that she would have a child, what and how this child would serve the LORD, and how she too needed to be careful during the pregnancy in what she drank. The woman, we do not know her name, told her husband what she had been told. The child would be a "Nazarite unto God from the womb." This is why his mother also needed to follow a few of the Nazarite commands herself so as not to affect the baby growing within her. Here is medical evidence that drinking or using anything harmful during pregnancy can harm the child.
Numbers 6:1-21 laid out for the Israelites the rules governing the Nazarite vow. Usually it was a decision made by the individual themself, but on two occasions God made the decision before the person was conceived and born (Samson and John the Baptist). In the case of Samuel, his mother dedicated him to the LORD with Nazarite vows before he was born or conceived.
I. MANOAH’S FIRST PRAYER TO THE LORD--13:8
A. He shows his proper respect for God as his Master -- "O my Lord"
Proper respect for God when we pray is manditory and shows our respect for God. Jesus instructed the disciples to pray "Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name..." I also believe that such a statement verifies the fact that Manoah was a man of God who had been worshipping the LORD though many around him had ceased worshipping the LORD.
B. He asks that the man of God be sent back to them again.
- It is clear from this prayer and what he prayed for that Manoah understood that what was happening was of the LORD. It is true that he and his wife did not yet know that the man of God was really the angel of the LORD, but God had to be behind what was taking place and sending this man of God to them.
- He does not doubt his wife’s words on the matter, though in his second prayer he is answered with the same statements that were given to his wife at the first.
- He also asks that the "man of God" be sent to "us". He knew he would need his wife’s input in raising this child - it was going to be a joint effort on their part, and not just in the conception of the child. This is a man who was ready to help his wife raise the child God was going to give to them. He wasn’t going to leave the child rearing entirely in his wife’s hands.
C. Manoah asks that information be given on how to raise the child that would be born.
"Teach" = to shoot out words, like shooting out arrows from a bow.
"do" = to teach
Therefore, it would appear that Manoah was asking God to teach them so that they could teach the child. Manoah realized that the male child that God was giving to them was going to be special and he wanted to do everything right, so he asked God for the help he and his wife would need.
One thing clearly stands out here - Manoah and his wife had teachable spirits. They truly wanted to do what was right in this holy responsibility that God had given to them.
Each believer needs to be one who has a teachable spirit. So many believers, especially those who have been saved a few years, seem to lose that teachable spirit. They begin to think they know it all, and nothing seems to sway them from that mind set.
II. MANOAH’S SECOND PRAYER TO THE LORD--13:12
The words of verse 12 are a prayer, though at the time that Manoah uttered them he was not aware that he was speaking to the LORD already.
A. How shall we order this child?
To answer that question some might respond "Out of a J.C. Penney catalog, of course." Of course, this is not what the word means. So what does it mean? This English word "order" is a very important Heb. word. It is used nearly 400 times in the Hebrew OT, and it’s basic meaning is "verdict". It is closely connected to government and law and order. This same Hebrew word is translated into English in many different, though somewhat similar ways. I examined two other translations of this verse to get an idea of is being said here.
The NASV translates it as "Now when your words come to pass, what shall be the boy’s mode of life and his vocation?"