Judges 13:17, 18: Who Is This Angel of the Lord? (Part 2)

Verse 17:[1] And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?


[What name is to thee?[2] (thus the Septuagint, Jonathan)] Thus מִי/who is used in the place of מָה/what (for quiescent letters are readily exchanged one for another). Thus, in Micah 1:5, What is the transgression of Jacob?[3] where nevertheless others have, Who is the cause of the transgression? (Drusius).


[מִ֣י שְׁמֶ֑ךָ] An abbreviated form of speech, in the place of,מִי אַתָּה וּמִי שְׁמֶךָ, Who art thou? and who art thou called? or in the place of, מִי אַתָּה בְשִׁמְךָ, Who art thou in thy name? (Vatablus).


[That, if thy speech, etc.] In Hebrew, it is כִּי/when; which indicates that Manoah did not doubt (Bonfrerius).


We may do thee honour: Either by making honourable mention of thee, or by performing respect and service to thee, by a present, which they usually gave to prophets, 1 Samuel 9:7, 8; 1 Kings 14:3.


Verse 18:[4] And the angel of the LORD said unto him, (Gen. 32:29) Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret (or, wonderful;[5] Is. 9:6[6])?


[Why askest thou my name, which is wonderful?לָ֥מָּה זֶּ֖ה תִּשְׁאַ֣ל לִשְׁמִ֑י וְהוּא־פֶֽלִאי׃] Why askest thou thus concerning my name, which is secret? (Munster), which is most glorious? (Syriac, similarly the Arabic), and it is wonderful? (Septuagint), since it is secret, or arcane, or hidden? (Pagnine, Tigurinus, Vatablus, Jonathan, Piscator); that is, since it is not familiar, and known to men, or among men? (Vatablus). Since it does not belong to my office to indicate my name to thee, but rather to keep it hidden? (Piscator). Jonathan translates it, separated, namely, from thy notice. Hence the name was הַמְּפּוֹרָשׁ, what was separated from the notice of men. This place evinces that this Angel was the eternal Word, that is, Christ; whose name is hidden and wonderful, that is, Jehovah. Others: and He is wonderful, namely, the Angel (Drusius). And He was wonderful, that is, He preferred to reveal Himself to Manoah in deeds, rather than with words. What follows argues that this is the proper exposition (Malvenda out of Junius). In פֶּלְאִי/wonderful the א is quiescent, otherwise it would be פִּלְאִי, of the form עִבְרי/Hebrew (Drusius). That word is not found in this form elsewhere in Scripture: they note that it is a Toar,[7] that is, an adjective (Malvenda out of Munster).


Wonderful: Or, hidden from mortal men; or, wonderful, such as thou canst not comprehend; my nature or essence (which is oft signified by name in Scripture) is incomprehensible. This shows that this was the Angel of the covenant, the Son of God.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֧אמֶר מָנ֛וֹחַ אֶל־מַלְאַ֥ךְ יְהוָ֖ה מִ֣י שְׁמֶ֑ךָ כִּֽי־יָבֹ֥א דְבָרֶיךָ֖ וְכִבַּדְנֽוּךָ׃


[2] Hebrew: מִ֣י שְׁמֶ֑ךָ.


[3] Hebrew: מִֽי־פֶ֣שַׁע יַעֲקֹ֗ב.


[4] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לוֹ֙ מַלְאַ֣ךְ יְהוָ֔ה לָ֥מָּה זֶּ֖ה תִּשְׁאַ֣ל לִשְׁמִ֑י וְהוּא־פֶֽלִאי׃


[5] Hebrew: פֶלִאי.


[6] Isaiah 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 (פֶּלֶא), Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”


[7] A Toar is a noun denoting an agent bearing a certain quality or characteristic.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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