1The children of Israel again did that which was evil in Yahweh’s sight; and Yahweh delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.
2There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and childless. 3Yahweh’s angel appeared to the woman, and said to her, “See now, you are barren and childless; but you shall conceive and bear a son. 4Now therefore please beware and drink no wine nor strong drink, and don’t eat any unclean thing; 5for, behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son. No razor shall come on his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb. He shall begin to save Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”
6Then 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, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he was from, neither did he tell me his name; 7but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink. Don’t eat any unclean thing, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”
8Then Manoah entreated Yahweh, and said, “Oh, Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us, and teach us what we should do to the child who shall be born.”
9God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field; but Manoah, her husband, wasn’t with her. 10The woman hurried and ran, and told her husband, saying to him, “Behold, the man who came to me that day has appeared to me.”
11Manoah arose and followed his wife, and came to the man, and said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to my wife?”
He said, “I am.”
12Manoah said, “Now let your words happen. What shall the child’s way of life and mission be?”
13Yahweh’s angel said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her beware. 14She may not eat of anything that comes of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing. Let her observe all that I commanded her.”
Perhaps the most well known of the judges was Samson famous for his long hair and strength. Set apart from childhood in an attempt to keep him dedicated to God. Despite the effort to maintain a ritual purity Samson was not a holy leader. He was proud and immoral. He won battles against the philistines but not with integrity or grace. Finally, he did go some way to redeem himself in a last attempt to bring down the philistine people.
The difficulty with the judges was that they were not and never would be enough to fully rescue the people of God. Some were devoted to God like Deborah others did not serve with the same zeal. Nevertheless one thing remained these people needed to be rescued. At one time they needed to be rescued from the Egyptians, now they needed rescued from themselves.
In judges we first hear the idea that a king is awaited for Israel. It is on this idea that they can pin all their hopes. A king is coming and temporary rescue will be a thing of the past for a permanent victor is on his way. In the next books of Ruth, Samuel and Kings we begin to trace this line of hope. If we continue reading this hope takes us the whole way to Christ. Now, because of Jesus, gone are the days of temporary fixes and sacrifices today we have a permanent and eternal hope his name is Jesus.