In this episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion of Naso covering Judges 13:2-25. This portion concerns the birth of Samson and corresponds to the Torah portion which includes the vow of the Nazarite or "Nazir." Gordon explains what made Samson unique as a Nazir as well as different meanings for “unclean.” We learn the history of the name Palestine as well as the “Palestinian” people.
Word studies include “hoshiah/to save” with its root (yud-shin-ayin) and the word-of-the-week, “peli/wonderful, secret, beyond understanding” (pei-lamech-aleph-yud).
With language, history and context in place, intriguing family dynamics and other wringers unfold: What is behind Manoah’s questions to the messenger and why does the angel repeatedly defer to the nameless wife? Why does the wife add to the angel’s message? If the wife clearly sees an angel, why is Manoah unconvinced? Why would the recipient of an angelic visitation name her child “man of the sun”? Gordon reveals religious practices prevalent in Zorah that provide clues and that also support Johnson’s hypothesis for why the Tanakh bestows upon the mother of Samson a most unfavorable status—that of a forgotten name.
"And the angel of Yehovah said to him, Why do you ask thus after my name, seeing it is secret?" Judges 13:18
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The Original Torah Pearls - Naso (Numbers 4:21-7:89)
Image courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University.