Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines1 for forty years.2
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A certain man of Zorah,3 named Manoah,4 from the clan of the Danites,5 had a wife who was childless,6 unable to give birth.
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The angel of the LORD 7 appeared to her8 and said, "You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son.9
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Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink10 and that you do not eat anything unclean.11
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You will become pregnant and have a son12 whose head is never to be touched by a razor13 because the boy is to be a Nazirite,14 dedicated to God from the womb. He will begin15 to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines."
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Then the woman went to her husband and told him, "A man of God16 came to me. He looked like an angel of God,17 very awesome.18 I didn't ask him where he came from, and he didn't tell me his name.
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But he said to me, 'You will become pregnant and have a son. Now then, drink no wine19 or other fermented drink20 and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from the womb until the day of his death.21' "
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Then Manoah22 prayed to the LORD: "Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God23 you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born."
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God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her.
The woman hurried to tell her husband, "He's here! The man who appeared to me24 the other day!"
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Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, "Are you the man who talked to my wife?" "I am," he said.
So Manoah asked him, "When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that governs the boy's life and work?"
The angel of the LORD answered, "Your wife must do all that I have told her.
She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink25 nor eat anything unclean.26 She must do everything I have commanded her."
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Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, "We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat27 for you."
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The angel of the LORD replied, "Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering,28 offer it to the LORD." (Manoah did not realize29 that it was the angel of the LORD.)
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Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the LORD, "What is your name,30 so that we may honor you when your word comes true?"
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He replied, "Why do you ask my name?31 It is beyond understanding. "
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Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock32 to the LORD. And the LORD did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched:
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As the flame33 blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground.34
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When the angel of the LORD did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized35 that it was the angel of the LORD.
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"We are doomed36 to die!" he said to his wife. "We have seen37 God!"
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But his wife answered, "If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this."38
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The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson.39 He grew40 and the LORD blessed him,41
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and the Spirit of the LORD began to stir42 him while he was in Mahaneh Dan,43 between Zorah and Eshtaol.
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