Thursday, April 13, 2017

Judges 13:2-23 - The Angel that Appeared to Manoah and His Wife

Judges 13:2 There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and didn't bear.
Judges 13:3 The angel of Yahweh [The Hebrew here is indefinite - an angel of Yahweh, or Yahweh's angel, same throughout] appeared to the woman, and said to her, See now, you are barren, and don't bear; but you shall conceive, and bear a son.
Judges 13:4 Now therefore please beware and drink no wine nor strong drink, and don't eat any unclean thing:
Judges 13:5 for, behold, you shall conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head; for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb: and he shall begin to save Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.
Judges 13:6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came to me, and his face was like the face of the angel of God [God's angel], very awesome; and I didn't ask him whence he was, neither did he tell me his name:
Judges 13:7 but he said to me, Behold, you shall conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing; for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.
Judges 13:8 Then Manoah entreated Yahweh, and said, Oh, Lord, please let the man of God whom you did send come again to us, and teach us what we shall do to the child who shall be born.
Judges 13:9 God listened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God [God's angel] came again to the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah, her husband, wasn't with her.
Judges 13:10 The woman made haste, and ran, and told her husband, and said to him, Behold, the man has appeared to me, who came to me the [other] day.
Judges 13:11 Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said to him, Are you the man who spoke to the woman? He said, I am.
Judges 13:12 Manoah said, Now let your words happen: what shall be the ordering of the child, and [how] shall we do to him?
Judges 13:13 The angel of Yahweh [Yahweh's angel] said to Manoah, Of all that I said to the woman let her beware.
Judges 13:14 She may not eat of anything that comes of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing; all that I commanded her let her observe.
Judges 13:15 Manoah said to the angel of Yahweh [Yahweh's angel], I pray you, let us detain you, that we may make ready a kid for you.
Judges 13:16 The angel of Yahweh [Yahweh's angel] said to Manoah, Though you detain me, I won't eat of your bread; and if you will make ready a burnt offering, you must offer it to Yahweh. For Manoah didn't know that he was the angel of Yahweh [an angel of Yahweh, Yahweh's angel].
Judges 13:17 Manoah said to the angel of Yahweh [Yahweh's angel], What is your name, that when your words happen, we may honor you?
Judges 13:18 The angel of Yahweh [Yahweh's angel] said to him, Why do you ask after my name, seeing it is wonderful? [the KJV renders this as "secret"]
Judges 13:19 So Manoah took the kid with the meal-offering, and offered it on the rock to Yahweh: and the angel ["the angel" does not appear in the Hebrew here] did wondrously, and Manoah and his wife looked on.
Judges 13:20 For it happened, when the flame went up toward the sky from off the altar, that the angel of Yahweh [Yahweh's angel] ascended in the flame of the altar: and Manoah and his wife looked on; and they fell on their faces to the ground.
Judges 13:21 But the angel of Yahweh did no more appear to Manoah or to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of Yahweh [an angel of Yahweh, Yahweh's angel].
Judges 13:22 Manoah said to his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God [ELOHIM, without the definite article].
Judges 13:23 But his wife said to him, If Yahweh were pleased to kill us, he wouldn't have received a burnt offering and a meal-offering at our hand, neither would he have shown us all these things, nor would at this time have told such things as these.
Judges 13:2-23, World English [bracketed words are our own]

Many of our trinitarian neighbors point to the angel that appeared to Manoah as proof that Jesus is Yahweh. According one trinitarain, in Judges 13:22 Manoah realizes that he had been speaking to Yahweh himself, and thus realized that "God is one yet compound." According to another trinitarian: "In that same chapter, God is mentioned, the Angel of the Lord (who is called God), is mentioned, and the Spirit of God is mentioned." Let us examine these verses carefully.

The argument is that the "Angel of Jehovah" spoken of here is referred to as "God", when Manoah said "I have seen God", and is therefore actually Jehovah himself. It is then further asserted by many trinitarians that "the angel of the Lord" is the second person of their trinity. It is usually first assumed that there is only one "angel of the Lord", and, then it has to be further assumed and read into the scriptures that this angel of Jehovah is actually Jesus. In the first instance, most translations add the definite article "the" before "angel", which would seem to justify the conclusion that there is only one "angel" who bears the title "angel of Jehovah". However, we have shown elsewhere that there is one identified in the scriptures as the angel of Jehovah, and in this angel is Gabriel. (Luke 1:11-2:12; See our study on "The Angel of Yahweh") We can say that Gabriel is called the "angel of Jehovah", but Gabriel is definitely neither Jehovah nor Jesus. While we are inclined to believe that the angel that appeared to Manoah and his wife is also Gabriel, we can not be definite in stating this. Manoah and his wife certainly did not see the very being of God, else this would contradict many other scriptures. (Exodus 33:20; John 1:18; 4:24; 6:46; 1 Timothy 1:17; 6:16; Isaiah 40:25,26) They saw him only representatively, through an angel, and in the end Manoah recognizes this man, not as God Almighty, but as an angel of Jehovah. -- Judges 13:21.

Was the Angel's Name Ineffable?

Someone argues that in Luke the angel that appeared identified himself, but the angel that appeared to Manoah and his wife would not identify himself, claiming that his name was ineffable, one too wonderful to be spoken. (Judges 13:17,18) Thus it is evidently being claimed that there are more than one "angel of Jehovah, and that the one that appeared to Manoah was Jehovah himself that appeared in his alleged "second person" of the assumed trinity. To us this really reads a lot into and between the lines to see trinity in this. Part of the basis of this idea stems from the false idea that God's Holy Name is ineffable, and should not be pronounced. See our studies regarding this idea of the Holy Name as being ineffable.

The word translated *wonderful* in many translations at Judges 13:18 is Strong's #6383. It is an adjective. Strong says of this word: "remarkable:--secret, wonderful" BDBG defines it: "wonderful, incomprehensible, extraordinary."* This word, as such, appears in only one other place in the Scriptures, Psalms 139:6, where it is translated "too wonderful" in the King James Version. The idea that this word means that the angel was saying that his name was ineffable has to be read into this.
*Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. "Hebrew Lexicon entry for Pil'iy". "The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon".

While we tend to believe that the KJV rendering "secret" to be more correct than "wonderful," let suppose that the angel actually did say his name was too wonderous. To be wondrous does not mean that the angel was saying that he considered his name so highly esteemed that he did not want to give it, nor was he saying that his name was ineffable. Indeed if this were Jehovah himself, Jehovah is known throughout the OT for revealing His Holy Name in its Hebrew form. The scriptures do not say why the angel spoke in the manner that he did, but we believe that Manoah was here ready to give great honor to one he thought to be a man, and that as a man -- honor which should evidently only go to Jehovah; the angel recognized this and thus we see here the loyalty of God's true messenger -- he would not take the glory to himself as a man which belonged to God; he did not want it. He was glad, counted it honor enough, to be privileged to do some work for Jehovah. (See Revelation 22:8,9) On many occasions, Jesus did similar to this. -- Matthew 19:17; John 7:28,29; 8:28.

Some trinitarians point to Isaiah 9:6, and endeavor to link this prophecy to what the angel said in Judges 13:18, claiming that in both places the name "Wonderful" is used, and since it is claimed that Jesus is called "Wonderful" in Wonderful Counselor in Isaiah 9:6, that is proves that this angel is Jesus. It is further argued that in Isaiah 9:6, Jesus is called God*, thus this proves that this angel is God Almighty. One claims that the angel in Judges 13:18 is claiming the same proper name ["Wonderful"] as Jesus in Isaiah 9:6, thus the two are one and the same. We cannot say for a certain that the angel of Judges 13:18 was not Jesus, for he certainly could have been Jesus in his prehuman existence. We have no reason to believe so, however, but even if it was, this does not mean that we need read into this the added-on trinity dogma.
*We do not believe that the one being spoke of "mighty God" in Isaiah 9:6 is Jesus. See our studies: "Not a Series of Names", "The Singular Name of Son Given", A Singular Name, and "The Singular Name".

Actually, while many translations have the word "wonderful" in both places, the words in Hebrew are not exactly the same, although they are both taken from the root verb, Strong's #6381. In Isaiah 9:6, the word translated "Wonderful" is Strong's #6382. This word is usually used, not as a proper name, but as a common masculine noun to describe the works of Yahweh (Exodus 15:11; Psalm 77:11,14; 78:12; 88:10,12; 89:5; 119:129; Isaiah 25:1; 29:14), and it is used of Jerusalem in Lamenations 1:9. The word used by the angel is Judges 13:18 is not a noun at all, but an adjective. At any rate, the usage of similar words in both places does not prove the contention that either the name of God or of Jesus is ineffable, that is, too great to be uttered. The word translated "wonders" in the World English Bible of Judges 13:19 is Strong's #6381, which is the root verb for the other two words already discussed. More than likely, however, the thought presented in the KJV of Judges 13:19 is correct, that is, that the angel was speaking of his name as a "secret", possibly because Manoah may have wanted to use that name so as to give worship to the angel that should only belong to Jehovah for whom the angel was serving as a messenger (angel).
See our studies:
Should God's Holy Name Be Pronounced?
Did God's People in Old Testament Times Utter the Holy Name Aloud?

We believe that the proper view is that the angel of Jehovah in Judges 13:18 was telling Manoah that his name was beyond the realm of being given the worship which Manoah wanted to give it. This fits the context, for Manoah, believing that the angel was a man, wanted to give him a greater honor than that which he was due. And thus, we conclude that for this reason, the angel refused to give his name. Thus we believe the thought given in the KJV to be correct, that is, his name was kept "secret" from Manoah.

It is claimed that this angel finally accepted the offering of Manoah, once Manoah realized that he was God Almighty. What does the record actually say? "So Manoah took the kid with the meal-offering, and offered it on the rock to Yahweh: and [the angel] did wondrously, and Manoah and his wife looked on." (Judges 13:19) The record states that Manoah offered the kid to Jehovah. "So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to [Jehovah], and He performed wonders while Manoah and his wife looked on." (New American Standard Version) The word translated "wonders" here is Strong's #6381.

"For it happened, when the flame went up toward the sky from off the altar, that the angel of Yahweh ascended in the flame of the altar: and Manoah and his wife looked on; and they fell on their faces to the ground. But the angel of Yahweh did no more appear to Manoah or to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of Yahweh." (Judges 13:20,21) It was not until after the offering is consumed by Jehovah, and that the angel ascended in the flames of Jehovah, that Manoah knew that the man was actually the angel of Jehovah.

Many trinitarians point to the fact that Manoah and wife fell on their faces to the ground. It is claimed that Manoah and his wife worshipped the angel, and that this proves that this angel was Jesus as part of their alleged trinity. Actually, the scripture does not say that they were giving worship to the angel, only that they fell on their faces to the ground. Since the scripture does not say the meaning behind this action, we can say that it possibly could have been a reaction to the intense light that was before them as the angel ascended to the sky in the flames, or it could have been an act of worship to Jehovah. At any rate, bowing before a representative of God, or a personage of honor, does not constitute worship that only belongs to Jehovah. -- Ruth 2:8-10; 1 Samuel 24:8; 25:23,41; 2 Samuel 14:33; 18:28; etc. ----- See also our study: Jesus Received Worship.

Judges 13:22 - Manoah Saw God Almighty?

"Manoah said to his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God [elohim]." (Judges 13:22) Some of our trinitarian neighbors tell us that this is proof positive that the angel himself was actually God Almighty, since Manoah was afraid that he would die because he had seen God. In using the word often transliterated as "Elohim" here, was Manoah actually saying that he thought he had seen God Almighty, or was he saying that he thought he had seen a mighty spirit being, one of the angels*, and thus feared for his life? Did he falsely go from one extreme to another, from believing that the person was a man to thinking that the person was God Almighty? We cannot be for sure, but since the record states that after the angel ascended in the flames, that "then Manoah knew that he was the angel of Jehovah," this tends to discount the idea that Manoah thought he actually saw Jehovah. It is more proabable that when Manoah realized that it was actually an angel and not simply a man, that he became afraid that seeing much a superior mighty one [elohim*] would bring his death. We do know if that Manoah and his wife had actually seen the face of God, they surely would have died. -- Exodus 33:20; John 1:18; 6:46; 1 John 4:12,20.
*From the scriptures we learn that certain men and angels are also called ELOHIM: Exodus 4:16; 7:1; Psalm 8:5 {compare Hebrews 2:7}; 86:6-8; 95:3; 50:1; Psalm 82:6,7 (See John 10:34,35; 1 John 3:2) Additionally, the wicked (familiar) spirit that impersonated Samuel is called elohim. (2 Samuel 28:8,13) Remembering that the basic meaning of the Hebrew words el (God) and elohim (Gods, or God superlative) is strength, might, power, we can see how it is possible that in saying elohim Manoah meant that he feared for his life because the angel of Jehovah was such mighty spirit being, as compared to him who was but a human. See our study: "Hebraic Usage of the Titles for God"
In reality, an angel of Jehovah is not Jehovah whom the angel is serving as a messenger, although Jehovah can certainly speak by means of His messengers, and Jehovah may be addressed by means of Jehovah's messenger, but the messenger whom Jehovah sends is not Himself. Additionally, the reality is that any thought that an angel of Jehovah is a separate and distinct person of Jehovah has to be imagined beyond what is written; it has to be further imagined and assumed that this angel was Jesus, and thus in reality it is what has been imagined and assumed that the trinitarian actually offers as proof of the trinity in Judges 13. What we do not find anywhere in Judges 13, or anywhere else in the entire Bible, is the thought that Yahweh -- the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- is more than one person, or that Yahweh consists of three separate and distinct persons.


The question is asked: If Manoah was mistaken when said he had seen God, wouldn't his statement, in effect, be a lie, and therefore that Manoah would be a liar? We answer: As we have presented above, we believe Manoah may have used he word elohim [the Hebrew is indefinite] as meaning a superior mighty one, as is used of an angel. Neverthless, if Manoah had been thinking that he had seen God Almighty, any error in statement in the broad sense of the word is a lie, in that it is not the truth. In this sense, all men are liars. (Romans 3:4) This does not mean that such are willful liars, however. Nevertheless, since Jehovah spoke through His angel, to Manoah Jehovah's angel could seem to have been Jehovah himself, which could have led to his fear. We should also note that both Manoah and his wife also called this angel a "man", not knowing that he was angel. (Judges 13:6,8,10,11) Additionally, when Manoah asked the angel if he was the 'man' that had spoken to his wife, the angel answered: "I am," the angel acknowledged this usage toward him. (Judges 13:11) Was the angel lying in saying the he was this "man"? Likewise, in verse 11, the writer of the book of Judges himself refers to the angel as "the man." The angel was not actually a 'man', that is, a human, but he appeared as a human, and therefore could be spoken of a "man". The angel did appear in a body as a man. Likewise the angels that appeared to Abraham are referred to as "men". (Genesis 18:16,22) We do not consider this to be actual ying, it is just stating matters as they were in their appearance, and likewise, if Manoah thought that the angel was Jehovah Himself, this would have been a reaction to what it seemed to him.

Ronald R. Day, Sr, Restoration Light Bible Study Services (ResLight, RlBible)

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