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Judges 13:15, 16: Who Is This Angel of the Lord? (Part 1)

Verse 15:[1] And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, I pray thee, (Gen. 18:5; Judg. 6:18) let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee (Heb. before thee[2]).

[I entreat thee, etc., נַעְצְרָה־נָּ֣א אוֹתָ֔ךְ] Let us restrain, or delay, nunc; or, let us detain, I pray, thee (Montanus, Pagnine, Junius and Tremellius, Tigurinus). That is to say, Thou shalt stop here for a little (Malvenda out of Vatablus).

[And let us make for thee a kid of the she-goats] Let us make is ambiguous, and signifies, either, to prepare food, or, to prepare sacrifices. Whereby he was wishing to test whether the one speaking with him were a man, or God (Lapide). To make here is to prepare, not to sacrifice. For how would he sacrifice to him, whom he was regarding to be a man? That to make a kid is put in the place of to slaughter, some suppose: which manner of speaking is common in Cato,[3] Varro, etc. We shall make, that is, a thing made, prepared, cooked, we shall place before thee (Drusius). Let us make before thee, that is, let us prepare, and place before thee. An Ellipsis, which the syntax indicates (Piscator). Moreover, before so many dressings to taste were discovered, by which masters of these arts at length obtained this, that the palate might become dull to common fare, kid’s flesh was highly valued, and in feasts among the ancients was often praised among the principal foods, as testify Athenæus in his Banquet of the Learned 9:14, Juvenal in his Satires 2, Aristophanes, etc. In addition, it is commended by physicians as very healthy, which is easily digested, nourishes well, and has little waste byproducts. Thus Galen, Of Good and Bad Humors[4] 4; Simeon Sethi, Concerning the Properties of Foods.[5] Hence both Manoah and Gideon, elegantly welcoming their guests, set before them kids: Hence also for Isaac two kids are prepared for מַטְעַמִּים/delicacies;[6] two, so that they might be seasoned in different ways, as the Arabic has it, and from the various seasonings Isaac might choose what would best help the fickleness of his aged palate (Bochart’s Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:52:633).

Let us detain thee, until, etc.: Supposing him to be a man and a prophet, to whom he would in this manner express his respect, as was usual to strangers. See Genesis 18:5; Judges 6:18.

Verse 16:[7] And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD.

[I will not eat, etc.] That is to say, The goal in offering food is twofold; 1. that it might be eaten in the manner of men; 2. that it, having been received by God, might be consumed. In the first manner, it is not needful to offer to me; if thou offer in the other manner, understand that thou art going to offer to Jehovah (Malvenda out of Junius).

[Thy loaves, בְּלַחְמֶךָ] Of thy bread, that is, of thy food: For here he calls the kid bread (Drusius).

[Offer that to the Lord] Not to false gods, as it was the custom of that age. If the Angel was Christ, He says, Offer to the Lord, that is, to me: thus, The Lord said, Ascend to the Lord (Drusius). Thou wilt offer to the Lord (Junius and Tremellius). I prefer, thou wouldest offer: Otherwise it is to be said that the Angel by these words willed to teach Manoah that He is Jehovah. But then Manoah would have understood this, and hence he would not not have asked concerning His name (Piscator).

Bread, that is, meat, as bread is commonly taken in Scripture. Unto the Lord; not unto a man, as now thou apprehendest me to be; but unto the Lord, as thou wilt by and by perceive me to be.

[And he knew not, etc.] Hebrew: Because he knew not, etc.[8] By these words he expresses the reason, not of the immediately preceding sentence, but of the words of Manoah in verse 15, that is, why he willed to set bread on before Him (Drusius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֥אמֶר מָנ֖וֹחַ אֶל־מַלְאַ֣ךְ יְהוָ֑ה נַעְצְרָה־נָּ֣א אוֹתָ֔ךְ וְנַעֲשֶׂ֥ה לְפָנֶ֖יךָ גְּדִ֥י עִזִּֽים׃

[2] Hebrew: לְפָנֶיךָ.

[3] Cato the Elder (234 BC-149 BC) was a Roman statesman.

[4] Περὶ Εὐχυμίας.

[5] Simeon Sethi was an eleventh century Jewish Byzantine physician, scientist, and Grand Chamberlain under Emperor Michael VII Doukas.

[6] Genesis 27:9: “Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat (מַטְעַמִּים) for thy father, such as he loveth…”

[7] Hebrew: וַיֹּאמֶר֩ מַלְאַ֙ךְ יְהוָ֜ה אֶל־מָנ֗וֹחַ אִם־תַּעְצְרֵ֙נִי֙ לֹא־אֹכַ֣ל בְּלַחְמֶ֔ךָ וְאִם־תַּעֲשֶׂ֣ה עֹלָ֔ה לַיהוָ֖ה תַּעֲלֶ֑נָּה כִּ֚י לֹא־יָדַ֣ע מָנ֔וֹחַ כִּֽי־מַלְאַ֥ךְ יְהוָ֖ה הֽוּא׃

[8] Hebrew: כִּ֚י לֹא־יָדַ֣ע.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Nov 28, 2018

Matthew Henry: 'We have here an account...Of what further passed between Manoah and the angel at this interview. It was in kindness to him that while the angel was with him it was concealed from him that he was an angel; for, had he known it, it would have been such a terror to him that he durst not have conversed with him as he did (Judges 13:16): He knew not that he was an angel. So Christ was in the world, and the world knew him not. Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself. We could not bear the sight of the divine glory unveiled. God having determined to speak to us by men like ourselves, prophets an…

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