Prophet Pearls #35 – Naso (Judges 13:2-25)

Prophet Pearls Naso, angel, Yehovah, Judges, Nehemia Gordon, Keith Johnson, Prophets, Samson, Torah portion, vow, Nazarite, Nazir, unclean, Palestine, Palestinian, hoshiah, to save, Manoah, religious, Zorah, Tanakh, torah pearlsIn this week's Prophet Pearls Naso, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion 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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Related Posts:
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.

30 thoughts on “Prophet Pearls #35 – Naso (Judges 13:2-25)

  1. Yah forgive me if I’m wrong about this, but I think Samson’s mother played a little loose with the rules while pregnant, thus causing difficulties for Samson all his life. Samson had quite an appetite for many things forbidden him. The angel came back to re-deliver the message, and Manoah seems to be saying ‘…give it to me straight, the wife’s a little goofy.’ She certainly seems more focused on the messenger and not his message. Maybe that’s why her name isn’t mentioned anywhere. Samson eventually rose to the occasion and with his last chance made the Hall of Fame. I always liked Victor Mature in that role, but I think the real Samson must’ve been one awesome holy terror. Awesome, in that few of us would’ve been able to be around him.

  2. I find it interesting in Jdg 13:25 that Yehovah began to stir him in the camp between Zorah (Tsorah translated hornet or place of the hornets) and Eshtaol (translated as place of entreaty – petition – request) using the interlinear Gesenius ‘ Hebrew – Chaldee Lexicon. Would these be accurate translations?

  3. I have a question. Why are they offering sacrifices outside of the prescribed place? I thought they weren’t supposed to be doing that.

  4. Shabbat Shalom!

    Shoftim 13:18
    לָמָּה זֶּה תִּשְׁאַל לִשְׁמִי וְהוּא פֶלִאי:
    “Why do you presently ask for my name; since it is hidden.”
    פֶלִאי=hidden

    Yeshayahu 9:6
    פֶּלֶא=wonder
    כִּי יֶלֶד יֻלַּד לָנוּ בֵּן נִתַּן לָנוּ וַתְּהִי הַמִּשְׂרָה עַל שִׁכְמוֹ וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ פֶּלֶא יוֹעֵץ אֵל גִּבּוֹר אֲבִי עַד שַׂר שָׁלוֹם:
    For a child has been born to us, a son given to us, and the authority is upon his shoulder, and the wondrous adviser, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, called his name, “the prince of peace.”

    I need to understand the difference between :
    פֶלִאי and פֶּלֶא

    Can be connected with:
    Romans 16
    24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
    25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
    26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
    27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen. (Written to the Romans from Corinthus, and sent by Phebe servant of the church at Cenchrea.)

    A lot of blessing in everything you do!

  5. Why is Menoah’s offer accepted if it is not done at the temple? I have always wondered about this…. isn’t the only acceptable altar the one in the Temple?

  6. The angel gives either their name or their description of their name as “pele”. Then they ascended up the column of smoke from the burnt offering. There to me to be a connection to the Hawaiian deity Pele, goddess of volcanoes, whose smoke also ascends upwards, and to whom the natives leave sacrifices. That the name could have crossed the ocean is not difficult, since the Polynesians trace some of their ancestry to Greece, and some of the Greeks descended from the tribe of Dan. The story of Hercules is simply the story of Samson which the tribe of Dan took their with them.

  7. Why did Manoah’s wife think the man looked like a Messenger? (Not angel) Could it be because of the way he was dressed? There were no phones, Internet, or other means of long-distance communication. Messages had to be delivered via a runner, a servant, or such. I would assume that farmers dressed quite differently from someone who served as a Messenger. (Only Someone of wealth would have had the means to deliver a message via a runner–who would probably not be dressed like a farmer.) The woman said it was a man; a man of Elohim. Did she mean “a man of Yehovah?” –like a religious leader. Or was she referring to some other “mighty one? — a ruler, judge, or some other important person of power?
    My guess is that the wife was referring to the way he was dressed.

  8. When the angel ask why did you ask my name!!! Personally I believe that we are supposed to accept what is said in scripture without questions ‘ I believe we as humans ask too much of questions and this builds doubts in the mind – this question thing is part of satan realm – remember what he ask Eve – did YHWH really say not to eat from every tree from the garden!! And the word every was never used by YAHUWAH – what was use not to eat of this tree but satan can get you to be confused by linking what’s not there he will do it

  9. Shalom! I really enjoyed your prophet pearls! Much learnt there from Hebrew regarding Philistines etc.! Didn’t notice the womans anonimousity! There are a few points I’m pondering on. Firstly the Word clearly says TWICE in Judges13: 4 and verse 14, ” EAT not anything UNCLEAN, so then BOTH Leviticus 11 and Numbers6 needs to be adhered to. Regarding the Hebrew word Peli(Wondrous, beyond understanding, marvelous, etc.) Also in Isaiah9:6 the Hebrew word for Wonderful is pele(6382)-one of the NAMES of Yeshua, which makes me wonder if it was not He who appeared to Manoach and his wife!!?Also in Exodus3:2 “the Angel of the Lord(the Messenger of YHVH) appeared to him(Moses) in a FLAME OF FIRE in a BURNING BUSH”.(?)Shalom DeVorah

  10. Interesting…just a few nights ago I was watching a movie with Paul Newman call The Exodus and this very thing was happening. I couldn’t figure out what was going on but it’s obviously historic. Thanks Nehemia and Keith for all you do!

    • Judges 13:8 will always be a debate because what I find with us we only believe part of the bible and this is a serious problem right here

  11. I just wanted to say Thanks again! I have been following your teachings for years and feel Blessed. I continue to learn and grow thru each portion. I know that doing these studies make the Sabbath Day as it should be. Seeking the Truth and wisdom of YHVH. Happy your back in the Land, continuing thought provoking studies each week. Shalom

  12. The fallen angel, Lucifer, was most likely a terfim, a terrifying flame of fire who can take on a another imageIn.

    Adam and Eve were royalty, and there’s protocal. They are to stay within their rolls.Adam protector, provider, visionary, Chava, multiplies, nurtures and I forget the 3rd.

    Females hear from Yehovah as males do, a dream, a vision, a voice; however, we are not to act on our own; need to get husbands (the covering protecor) confirmation. Why? First and foremots, need to stay in order and follow protocal. Anything other than a nother royal person, royaly does not directly speak to; we don’t engage commoners (not royalty). To have hear or listened to the commoner, ok, but we don’t speak to them; we certainly don’t speak to snakes.
    In the case of Menoa, the correct order was followed and a blessing insued, Sampson. She hears an angel, she tells her husband (notice sometims it says a man, someimes angel = ? terafim shape shifter but so is Lucifer or HaSatan; she stays in order (doesn’t act on her own) tells her husband, and he the protecor, needs confirmation. What is the confirmation, that the angel Royal citizen, speaks to him,. This is excellant advice for married couples yes your wife may here from HaShem; it needs the husband protecotrs confirmation; then he give ok to act on it.

    Mirium and Joseph, she hear’s from the angel, tells Joseph, and he also gets a confirmation;and a blessing comes, Yeshua, for He will save His people. This is like Sampson, born Nazir for life; who is to begin delivering/saving his people from the Philistines, took a King, David to finish the job. He does, but it’s not permanent, as he dies, and the trouble arises from another source.

    But, with Yeshua, though cruicfied, passed through death, rose to new life, he was Yeshua Ben Joseph, first the servant, and will return Yeshua Ben David.
    And as He was the perfect Lamb of Yehovah, His conquoring of our enemies as Yeshua Ben David; will be eternal.

  13. It was mentioned that the unhewn rock essentially served as the altar in this case. How is this acceptable considering the instructions Yehovah gives about sacrificing only at the Tent of Meeting (Lev 17:3-5)? The period of the judges is during the time of the Tabernacle between Moses and Solomon before the first Temple. My question is: Why was Manoah’s offering accepted? After all, the angel didn’t command the offering and certainly didn’t command Manoah to offer it there on a rock. He simply says in vs 16, “But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to Yehovah.” The angel of God wouldn’t contradict the Torah. But then I wonder: maybe it’s presumptuous to assume that the angel going up in the fire indicates acceptance. It is stated in vs 21 that the angel appeared no more to them. Maybe they would have had further revelation had they obeyed Torah?

  14. I’m so glad you guys spend some time on the angel. I have looked up all of the references to the angel of the LORD and the angel of God in the Tanakh. I know that the message of angels is considered a mesage from Yehovah, but is there any time an angel is considered Yehovah himself, in or outside of the Tanakh? The closes thing I come up with is the appearance of the three angels to Abraham before the destruction of Sodom. One of the angels seems to be Yehovah; or is he just carrying the message of Yehovah?

    I read beyond the Torah portion to Numbers 12 and found that Yehovah spoke directly to Miriam and Aaron in the presence of Moses. But there is no angel intermediary this time – it’s direct.

  15. Regarding whether El means YHVH or an angel; I do wonder whether there was any belief that one would die from seeing an angel — I don’t know enough history to know that. Also, if YHVH can manifest His presence in fire on a mountain top, a bush that burns but is not consumed, pillar of cloud, smoke, shekinah, etc. Why not also in human form? Seems like this story, Jacob’s wrestling (he also “saw “God” and lived”), and Abraham’s visitors support this possibility.

  16. Ok I have a theory about how Manoah knew she was speaking to a man of G-d. This may seem out of the realm of possibility but here it goes… On my 18th birthday I was in a horrific car accident. Suffice it to say I was not living right or, “just”. I was broadsided by a drunk driver after my car stalled while trying to make a left turn onto an interstate. I had to tell you the premise in order to tell you this.
    I sustained severe head wound and major bone injuries, as well as, burns. I was in shock. I got out of the car which was a miracle. I was walking and then running because I overheard someone say it could start on fire (there was gas leaking on the highway) Someone I knew (whom was a RN) convinced me to lie down. Someone had called an ambulance. I was fighting to stay conscious. Finally the EMT’s arrive and I could feel myself losing consciousness. I could hear people most of whom were friends of mine. I remember the EMT’s working on me assessing my injuries. They were asking redundant questions like what day was it, what time it was, can i count to twenty backwards. All of the sudden I heard one EMT say to the other, “I’m losing her.” I was above myself listening and watching everyone standing around me crying and saying, she’s not going to make it.” I saw the EMT’s shock me but, while this was going on I went to this bright and vibrant colored place. I remember marveling at the colors. I heard and understood this bright light or, feeling it was the most loving, the most warmth I had ever felt. I knew “it” or, someone, or, that light to be someone telling me to read. So I did. I sat under this tree, this huge tree in a field, and commenced to read. Guess what I was reading? Bible.
    I could go into more detail but I knew who it was. Without saying a spoken word I understood whom it was.
    Some can discount this as or, me as a kook or crazy or just my imagination but, I didn’t want to leave that love, that warmth, that light.
    Then as quickly as I was there… I heard my mother calling me I was trying to answer her. I was back lying on the side of the highway in excruciating pain.
    Another freaky thing my mother who at the time lived in another state called my father and told him to go to the hospital, and that I was in an accident. My father beat the ambulance to the hospital?
    So how did Menoah know? Believe me you know.

    • Totally believe you. I have had visions of Yeshua (at the times when I also called Him Jesus) and have a relationship with Father – and the most awesome Teaching from Him.

      Matthew 23:8-10 is one of my oft quoted scriptures that my ONLY Teacher is Yehovah .I pray a lot like Shaul (Paul) in another Tongue(s) and believe Zepheniah 3:9 refers to the ONE language which is sourced in the ONE Ruach Kadosh…The Breath of Yehovah…

  17. You mention for folks who have a theory about why the wife of Menoach knew the Man was an angel and why Menoach was unaware for their theories: After reading in context this angel, “Wonderful/Hidden” comes to her with information I assume is private to her. “Listen! You are barren, and haven’t had a child……..(13:3). The way I understand it Gen 30:1 and Deut 7:14 adds to my belief that being childless is a curse. If I was in Menoach’s wife’s position I would keep this to myself. If she did keep it to herself then that means that this “Man” knew things that she had not told anyone. If I was her and he told me something I had kept to myself I would be very frightened. How would you feel if someone you do not know essentially read your mind? This might add to why she knew he was more divine then her husband, Menoach. This along with his countenance. The angel revealed a personal revelation to her that potentially Menoach could not relate to. Just a thought. On the other hand depending on how long she was childless, the lack of a child would be evidence enough that she was childless to others……………But the angle to her was still a perfect stranger.

  18. It was the countenance of the angel that got to think he was an angel.. the countenance of the man …

  19. Could it be the reason the verse .. all that I have said to the woman.. Well the angel did speak to the woman not the man to begin with.. and the man is only hearing what the angel said thru the wife.. it could be that the angel is saying.. I have said everything to your wife, make sure that she follows all I have said to her.. Just a thought.

  20. I could not help being drawn to the passage in Isaiah that also refers to the promised son whose name would be called Wonderful. “Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
    Isa 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
    Could Samson be a forshadow or a type of this? Also interesting that Samson gave his life (for his people?) at the end when he collapsed the temple of Dagon.

  21. I am listening to this Prophet Pearls episode and you mention for people if they have a theory about why the wife new the man was an angel and why the husband was not sure for us to post our theories here so here goes: I think the reason the wife knew is maybe she was spiritually deeper than her husband and maybe the reason why after Minoa prayed for the man of God to come back and give more information that instead of coming to the husband he again only came to the wife was because she was able to perceive that the man of God was an angel… maybe I am wrong? :–) just a guess…

  22. Daniel gives a description of just a vision of Gabriel 🙂 I his I’m on a Mission and I’m not playing look Daniel 10:5,6,7,8,9. Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, who’s loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: (So from all appearances it is humanoid and wearing recognizable clothing of a priestly sort (no wings mentioned) then it becomes more like what Samson’s mother is referencing. His body was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. Daniel described that the men who did not see the vision was quaking and Daniel became as asleep. Yet during Mary’s visitation. Gabriel is not described in a terrifying form. But, When he was interacting with Zechariah in the Temple. Gabriel is serious, and a being of few words, and not a being that is doubted. If Gabriel had appeared in the same way he had to Daniel. Zechariah might have been a little less doubting. So sometimes they may look and sound more humanoid and other times be more as they actually are. As for the name issue. It maybe wonderful or without comprehension or maybe, like those who receive the sapho stone. Maybe, the angelic being is not suppose to disclose it’s name.

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