1The Israelites continued to do what was evil in the Lord's sight, so the Lord handed them over to the Philistines to rule them for forty years.
2At that time there was a man named Manoah. He was from the tribe of Dan and lived in the town of Zorah. His wife couldn't conceive and had no children.
3The Angel of the Lord appeared to her and told her, “It's true that you couldn't conceive, and have no children, but now you're going to become pregnant and give birth to a son.
4So then please be careful not to drink any wine or other alcoholic drink, and don't eat anything unclean.
5You're going to become pregnant and have a son whose head a razor must never touch, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from birth. He will start the process of saving Israel from the Philistines.”
6The woman went and told her husband, “A man of God came to me. He looked like the Angel of God, really frightening. I didn't ask him where he came from, and he didn't did not tell me his name.
7But he told me, ‘You're going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. You must not drink wine or any other alcoholic drink, and don't eat anything unclean. For the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from birth until the day of his death.’”
8Then Manoah prayed to the Lord, “Please, Lord, let the man of God you sent us return to us to explain what we're supposed to do with the boy who is to be born.”
9God responded to Manoah's request, and the Angel of God returned to the woman while she was sitting out in the field. However, her husband Manoah was not with her.
10So she ran quickly to tell her husband, “Look! The man who appeared to me the other day has come back!”
11Manoah got up and went back with his wife, and asked, “Are you the man who spoke to my wife before?” “Yes I am,” he replied.
12So Manoah said, “May your promise come true! What shall be decided for the boy, and what is to be his vocation?”
13“Make sure your wife is careful to follow everything I told her,” the angel of the Lord replied.
14“She must not eat anything that comes from the vine or drink wine or any other alcoholic drink. She must not eat anything unclean. Your wife must follow everything I instructed her to do.”
15Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Please let us keep you here while we prepare a meal of a young goat for you.”
16The angel of the Lord replied, “I'll stay, but I won't eat your food. However, if you prepare a burnt offering, you can present it to the Lord.” (Manoah didn't know he was the angel of the Lord.)
17Manoah asked the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so when your promise comes true we may honor you?”
18“Why do you ask this?” the angel of the Lord responded. “My name is beyond comprehension.”
19Manoah took a young goat and a grain offering and presented them on a rock to the Lord. As Manoah and his wife watched, the LORD did something amazing.
20As the flame from the altar blazed up into the sky, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. Manoah and his wife saw what happened and fell with their faces to the ground.
21The angel of the Lord did not appear to Manoah or his wife again, and Manoah realized that he was the angel of the Lord.
22“We're definitely going to die,” he told his wife, “for we have seen God!”
23But his wife replied, “If the Lord had wanted to kill us he wouldn't have accepted our burnt offering and grain offering. He wouldn't have shown us all these things, and he wouldn't have come now and announced this to us.”
24She gave birth to a son and named him Samson. The boy grew up, and the Lord blessed him.
25The Spirit of the Lord began to prompt him at Mahaneh Dan, a place between Zorah and Eshtaol.