Again the people of Israel did what the Lord said was wrong. So he handed them over to the Philistines for forty years.
There was a man named Manoah from the tribe of Dan, who lived in the city of Zorah. He had a wife, but she could not have children.
The angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah's wife and said, "You have not been able to have children, but you will become pregnant and give birth to a son.
Be careful not to drink wine or beer or eat anything that is unclean,
because you will become pregnant and have a son. You must never cut his hair, because he will be a Nazirite, given to God from birth. He will begin to save Israel from the power of the Philistines."
Then Manoah's wife went to him and told him what had happened. She said, "A man from God came to me. He looked like an angel from God; his appearance was frightening. I didn't ask him where he was from, and he didn't tell me his name.
But he said to me, 'You will become pregnant and will have a son. Don't drink wine or beer or eat anything that is unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite to God from his birth until the day of his death.'"
Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: "Lord, I beg you to let the man of God come to us again. Let him teach us what we should do for the boy who will be born to us."
God heard Manoah's prayer, and the angel of God came to Manoah's wife again while she was sitting in the field. But her husband Manoah was not with her.
So she ran to tell him, "He is here! The man who appeared to me the other day is here!"
Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, "Are you the man who spoke to my wife?" The man said, "I am."
So Manoah asked, "When what you say happens, what kind of life should the boy live? What should he do?"
The angel of the Lord said, "Your wife must be careful to do everything I told her to do.
She must not eat anything that grows on a grapevine, or drink any wine or beer, or eat anything that is unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her."
Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, "We would like you to stay awhile so we can cook a young goat for you."
The angel of the Lord answered, "Even if I stay awhile, I would not eat your food. But if you want to prepare something, offer a burnt offering to the Lord." (Manoah did not understand that the man was really the angel of the Lord.)
Then Manoah asked the angel of the Lord, "What is your name? Then we will honor you when what you have said really happens."
The angel of the Lord said, "Why do you ask my name? It is too amazing for you to understand."
So Manoah sacrificed a young goat on a rock and offered some grain as a gift to the Lord. Then an amazing thing happened as Manoah and his wife watched.
The flames went up to the sky from the altar. As the fire burned, the angel of the Lord went up to heaven in the flame. When Manoah and his wife saw that, they bowed facedown on the ground.
The angel of the Lord did not appear to them again. Then Manoah understood that the man was really the angel of the Lord.
Manoah said, "We have seen God, so we will surely die."
But his wife said to him, "If the Lord wanted to kill us, he would not have accepted our burnt offering or grain offering. He would not have shown us all these things or told us all this."
So the woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew, and the Lord blessed him.
The Spirit of the Lord began to work in Samson while he was in the city of Mahaneh Dan, between the cities of Zorah and Eshtaol.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.