Sefer Shoftim-Chapter 13: The birth of Shimshon the Judge

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Chapter 13: The birth of Shimshon the Judge

1. The Jewish people return to their evil ways:

  • The Jewish people continued to perform evil in the eyes of G-d.
  • Forty years of servitude to the Philistines: As a result G-d handed them to the Philistines for a period of forty years.

2. An angel informs the wife of Manoach that she will have a child:

  • Who is Manoach? There was a certain man from the town of Tzarah, from the Dani family [i.e. tribe of Dan] whose name was Manoach. His wife was barren and thus had no children.
  • The angel appears and informs her of the pregnancy: An angel of G-d appeared to the wife of Manoach and informed her that although she is barren and has not had any children, she will nevertheless conceive and have a son.
  • The instructions for the pregnancy: The angel told the wife of Manoach to guard the following matters while she is pregnant: She is not to drink any form of wine, or any impure food [which is forbidden for a Nazir[1]], as she will conceive and give birth to a son [who will be a Nazir from birth, and thus requires sanctification from the time of conception[2]].
  • The instructions for the child and his destiny: The angel told the wife of Manoach that her son will be born a Nazir to G-d. He is to never have his hair cut and have a razor placed on his head. The son is destined to save the Jewish people from the hands of the Philistines.

3. The wife of Manoach informs her husband:

  • The woman approached her husband and told him that a man of G-d who appears like an angel of G-d visited her. His appearance was most overwhelming and imposing. “I did not ask him from where he is from, or what his name was, and he did not tell me. He told me that I will become pregnant and would have a son, and that I should not drink wine or any impure food [for a Nazir] being that the son will be a Nazir of G-d from the day he is born until his death.”

4. Manoach requests to see the angel:

  • Manoach prayed to G-d asking Him to once again resend the man of G-d in order so he clarify the instructions of what to do with the child.
  • The angel reappears and Manoach is summoned to meet him: G-d heard the prayers of Manoach and an angel of G-d again appeared to his wife. He appeared to her while she was in the field although her husband Manoach was not there. She hurriedly summoned her husband to come, as the man of G-d has returned. So Manoach followed his wife and arrived to the man.

5. Manoach meets the angel and receives instructions:

  • Manoach asked the man if he is the person who had previously spoken with his wife and instructed her. He replied that indeed it is him. Manoach asked the man to repeat his words and instructions with regards to the child, and what matters they must be careful regarding him.
  • The angel of G-d replied to Manoach that all the instructions which he already related to his wife are to be followed by him. These include: All grape and wine derivatives are to not be eaten, and wine of all kinds are not to be drunk, and all impure foods are not to be eaten. Whatever she was commanded is to be guarded.

6. Manoach invites the angel for a meal:

  • Manoach requested from the angel of G-d to come to his home for a meal, and they will cook young goat in his honor.
  • The angel refuses: The angel replied that even if he enters his home, he will not eat from the bread, although if he makes a sacrifice to G-d he will elevate it. Manoach was unaware that the individual was an angel of G-d.
  • Manoach asks the angel for his name: Manoach asked the angel of G-d as to his name, in order so he can be searched for and honored when his prophecies come to fruition. The angel of G-d replied with a question: Why is it that you ask my name, as it is wonderous and concealed.

7. Manoach offers a sacrifice to G-d and the angel returns to heaven:

  • Manoach took a young goat and a Mincha and offered it upon the rock for the sake of G-d. It became consumed in a wonderous fashion as Manoach and his wife watched.
  • The angel returns to heaven: While the flame ascended from the altar towards the heavens, the angel of G-d ascended with the flame [back to heaven]. Manoach and his wife watched and fell on their faces to the ground.
  • The couple realizes that they saw an angel and become petrified: The angel of G-d discontinued appearing to Manoach and his wife. Manoach then became aware that indeed the individual was an angel of G-d. Manoach exclaimed to his wife that they will surely die, as they have seen a vision of G-d. His wife replied that if indeed G-d wanted them to die He would not have accepted their offering and shown them all these wonders.

8. The wife of Manoach gives birth to a son:

  • The wife of Manoach gave birth to a son and called his name Shimshon.
  • The child grew up and was blessed by G-d.
  • The spirit of G-d fell upon him in the camp of Dan, between Tzara and Eshtoel.


[1] Sotah 9b; See Metzudos Davis 13:4

[2] See Radak 13:4

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