"Why are you asking about my name? It is wonderful."
The tribe of Dan was given a fertile northern territory.
The seventh lot came out for the tribe of the descendants of Dan according to their families. The territory of their inheritance included Tzor`ah, Eshta'ol, `Ir-Shemesh, Sha`alabin, Ayalon, Yitlah, Eilon, Timnah, `Ekron, Elt'keh, Gib'ton, Ba`alat, Y'hud, B'nei-Brak, Gat-Rimmon, Yarkon Springs and Rakon, with the border fronting Yafo. The territory of the descendants of Dan was too small for them, so the descendants of Dan went up and fought against Leshem, captured it, defeated it by the sword, took possession of it and lived there, calling Leshem "Dan" after Dan their ancestor. (Jos 19:40-47)
But we also read that:
... the tribe of Dan was looking for a place to claim ownership of and settle in, since they had not yet been given any land of their own among the tribes of Isra'el. (Jdg 18:1)
They had indeed received an allotment, but they had not totally subdued it due to the constant battles with the superior Amorites in the East, and the Philistines in the South.
After the death of Joshua, Israel was left without central leadership. It became a loose federation of tribes. Three times the Book of Judges laments the sad situation with this statement:
At that time there was no king in Isra'el; a man simply did whatever he thought was right.
Indeed, without leadership, we are like Yeshua rightly said, like sheep without a shepherd (Mat 9:36). In that kind of situation, everyone does what is right in their own eyes, establishing righteousness for themselves and thereby becoming judge, jury, and executioner of his neighbor. Much of that is described in vivid details in the Book of Judges.
The situation will eventually be remedied by the arrival of a strong king, Saul, who centralized the government and got everyone to behave.
The situation in the Book of Judges resembles much the situation in the world today. May our strong King come soon so He can organize us, teach us to work in harmony and behave more like human beings rather than predatory animals, all while establishing His own superior righteousness on earth as it is in Heaven.
THE JUDGES OF ISRAEL AND MESSIAH
The time of the Judges was a time of constant battles and oppressions for one side to the other. Nehemiah describes that time in the following words:
" 'Yet they disobeyed and rebelled against you, throwing your Torah behind their backs. They killed your prophets for warning them that they should return to you and committed other gross provocations. So you handed them over to the power of their adversaries, who oppressed them. Yet in the time of their trouble, when they cried out to you, you heard from heaven, and in keeping with your great compassion, you gave them saviors to save them from the power of their adversaries. But as soon as they had gotten some relief, they went back to do evil before you. So you left them in the power of their enemies, who came down hard on them. Yet when they returned and cried out to you, you heard from heaven many times and saved them, according to your compassion. You warned them, in order to bring them back to your Torah; yet they were arrogant. They paid no attention to your mitzvot, but sinned against your rulings, which, if a person does them, he will have life through them. However, they stubbornly turned their shoulders, stiffened their necks and refused to hear. Many years you extended them mercy and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets; yet they would not listen. Therefore you handed them over to the peoples of the lands. (Neh 9:26-30)
The Book of Hebrews speaks of HaShem's people in these terms:
and thus set free those who had been in bondage all their lives because of their fear of death.
In every generation, the people of God have been oppressed, but in every generation, HaShem in His great mercy has sent us a messianic deliverer.
Each of the judges of Israel typified the final Messianic Deliverer in some way, and Samson does not escape the comparison.
At the time of our story, the Philistines had oppressed the tribes of Israel for about 40 years. HaShem seems to have a plan to save His people.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY AN ANGEL
There was a man from Tzor`ah from the family of Dan, whose name was Manoach; his wife was barren, childless. The angel of Adonai appeared to the woman and said to her, "Listen! You are barren, you haven't had a child, but you will conceive and bear a son. (Jdg 13:2-3)
Much like the narrative of Myriam in the Book of Matthew and Luke, an angel comes to a woman to proclaim to her that she will give birth to a child. Also, just like the narrative of Myriam required a miracle because she was a virgin, the narrative in Judges 13 will also require a miracle because the wife of Manoah was barren.
A CHILD DEDICATED TO HASHEM
Now, therefore, be careful not to drink any wine or other intoxicating liquor, and don't eat anything unclean. For indeed you will conceive and bear a son. No razor is to touch his head, because the child will be a nazir for God from the womb. Moreover, he will begin to rescue Isra'el from the power of the P'lishtim." (Jdg 13:4-5)
The narrative resembles the proclamation made to Myriam:
She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, [which means 'Adonai saves,'] because he will save his people from their sins." (Mat 1:21)
The following chapters provide us with other similarities. Here are a few:
- Just as the Sadducean leadership wanted Yeshua dead because they were afraid He would bring the wrath of Rome upon them, the people of Dan gave up Samson because he was bringing the wrath of the Philistines upon them.
- Just as Yeshua saved the people by giving His own life, Samson also saved his people by sacrificing his own life.
- The strength of Samson also typifies the strength of Messiah to annihilate he who is compared to a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour.
- Like with Yeshua, the revelation came to the woman who had to face an unbelieving man who only believed after he received the revelation himself.
The woman came and told her husband; she said, "A man of God came to me; his face was fearsome, like that of the angel of God. I didn't ask him where he came from, and he didn't tell me his name. But he said to me, 'Listen! You will conceive and bear a son, so now don't drink any wine or other intoxicating liquor, and don't eat anything unclean, because the child will be a nazir for God from the womb until the day he dies.' " Then Manoach prayed to Adonai, "Please, Adonai, let the man of God you sent come again to us and teach us what we should do for the child who will be born." God paid attention to what Manoach said, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field, but her husband Manoach wasn't with her. The woman hurried and ran to tell her husband, "Here! That man, the one who came to me the other day, he's come again!" Manoach got up, followed his wife, went to the man and said to him, "Are you the man who spoke to the woman?" He answered, "I am." Manoach asked, "Now, when what you said comes true, what are the guidelines for raising the child? What should be done for him?" The angel of Adonai said to Manoach, "The woman should take care to do everything I said to her. She shouldn't eat anything that comes from a grapevine, she shouldn't drink wine or other intoxicating liquor, and she shouldn't eat anything unclean. She should do everything I ordered her to do." (Jdg 13:6-14)
THE FOOD TEST
It was traditional in those days to reward a prophet, a seer, or an adviser with a gift or even food. Manoah offers food to the "man of God." Manoah knows that angels do not eat. Was it because he still didn't know it was an angel or was it a test of identity?
The same events occur with another judge, Gideon:
Gid`on replied, "If indeed you favor me, would you mind giving me a sign that it is really you talking with me? Please don't leave until I go and return with a gift and present it to you." He replied, "I'll wait till you come back." Gid`on went in, cooked a young goat and made matzot from a bushel of flour. He put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, brought them out to him under the pistachio tree and presented them. The angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and matzot, lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth." Gid`on did so. Then the angel of Adonai reached out with the stick he was holding, touched the meat and matzot, and fire shot up out of the rock and burned up the meat and matzot. Then the angel of Adonai disappeared before his eyes. Gid`on realized that he was the angel of Adonai and said, "Oh no! My Lord! Adonai! Because I've seen the angel of Adonai face-to-face!" But Adonai reassured him, "Shalom to you, don't be afraid, you won't die!" Then Gid`on built an altar there to Adonai and called it "Adonai-Shalom"; to this day it remains in `Ofrah of the Avi`ezri. That very night Adonai said to him, "Take your father's bull and the other bull, the seven-year-old. Destroy the altar to Ba`al that belongs to your father, cut down the sacred pole next to it, and build a proper altar to Adonai your God on top of this strong-point. Then take the second bull; and offer it as a burnt offering, using the wood of the sacred pole you cut down." Gid`on took ten of his servants and did what Adonai had told him to do. He didn't do it by day, because he was afraid of the men in his father's household and those from the city, so he did it at night.
In the case of Abraham, the angel did eat. Talmudic texts say that the angels only pretended to eat in order to respect Abraham. The theme of respect is often mentioned in Talmudic texts as an attribute of the angels.
Another angelic attribute to note here is that in both the cases of Myriam and of the wife of Manoah, the angel was concerned not to bring division between a husband and a wife, so they appeared to both.
Manoach said to the angel of Adonai, "Please stay with us a bit longer, so that we can cook a young goat for you." The angel of Adonai said to Manoach, "Even if I do stay, I won't eat your food; and if you prepare a burnt offering, you must offer it to Adonai." For Manoach did not know that he was the angel of Adonai. (Jdg 13:15-16)
THE NAME AND THE WONDERFUL
Yeshua says that no one can see God and live (John 1:18, as repetition of Ex 33:20). When the Biblical text says, "The Angel of God," it often refers to a messianic theophany of the expression of HaShem.
Manoah pushed some more about the identity issue:
Manoach said to the angel of Adonai, "Tell us your name, so that when your words come true we can honor you." The angel of Adonai answered him, "Why are you asking about my name? It is wonderful." (Jdg 13:18)
The Messianic appellation "wonderful"/Peli/פלאי, which also means "incomprehensible," is derived from:
Who is like you, Adonai, among the mighty? Who is like you, sublime in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders? (Exo 15:11)
For this mitzvah which I am giving you today is not too hard for you, it is not beyond your reach. (Deu 30:11)
Such wonderful knowledge is beyond me, far too high for me to reach. (Psa 139:6)
"[You asked,] 'Who is this, hiding counsel, without having knowledge?' Yes, I spoke, without understanding, of wonders far beyond me, which I didn't know. (Job 42:3)
This word is also associated with the word "pala/פלא", the word referring to the Nazarite vow in this week's parahsa (Num 6:2).
Manoach took the kid and the grain offering and offered them on the rock to Adonai. Then, with Manoach and his wife looking on, the angel did something wonderful (פלא)-- as the flame went up toward the sky from the altar, the angel of Adonai went up in the flame from the altar. When Manoach and his wife saw it, they fell to the ground on their faces. But the angel of Adonai did not appear again to Manoach or his wife. Then Manoach realized it had been the angel of Adonai. (Jdg 13:19-21)
BUT FOR A WISE WOMAN, WE MIGHT DIE!
Manoah and his wife understood that this was more than a mere angel. It was the Angel of the Lord! Then they were scared!
Manoach said to his wife, "We will surely die, because we have seen God!" But his wife said to him, "If Adonai had wanted to kill us, he wouldn't have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from us, and he wouldn't have shown us all this or told us such things at this time." (Jdg 13:22-23)
ALL IS WELL THAT ENDS WELL!
The woman bore a son and called him Shimshon. The child grew, and Adonai blessed him. The Spirit of Adonai began to stir him when he was in the Camp of Dan, between Tzor`ah and Eshta'ol. (Jdg 13:24-25)iel
PS: While we know established and undisturbed peace in Jerusalem belongs to a future time, please pray for the peace of Jerusalem at this present time.
Here is a link for valuable information about current events. This is an Israeli messianic magazine, from Israel. Click on its name: Israel Today
RABBI GABRIEL LUMBROSO