Judges 13:2-7

Judges 13:2-7
Third Sunday of Advent – A Women’s Lectionary


There wasA a certainB manC of Zorah,D

Notes on verse 2a

A “was” = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
B “certain” = echad. Perhaps from achad (to unify, continue on a path; figuratively, to gather one’s thoughts). This is the number one, first, united. It can also be alone, altogether, a certain, a few.
C “man” = ish. Perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.
D “Zorah” = Tsorah. 10x in OT. From tsirah (hornet, wasp); from the same as tsaraat (leprosy or a mark); from tsara (to have leprosy, be a leper). This is Zorah, Zareah, or Zoreah. A city whose name means “leprous” or “hornet” or “nest of hornets.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Zorah.html

of the tribeE of the Danites,F whose nameG was Manoah.H

Notes on verse 2b

E “tribe” = mishpachah. From the same as shiphcah (maid, maidservant); root means to spread out. This is one’s circle of relatives – clan, family, kindred.
F “Danites” = Dani. 5x in OT. From Dan (Dan or a Danite, meaning “judge”; Dan, his tribe, or the lands of the tribe); from din (to judge, defend, dispute, govern, strive). This is Danite, someone belonging to the tribe of Dan.
G “name” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.
H “Manoah” = Manoach. 18x in OT – all in Judges. From the same as manoach (to rest, calm, camp, free, place, remain, satisfy, settle, station, or wait; implies settling down in a literal or figurative sense). This is Manoah, a person whose name means “rest” or “quiet.” It may also mean “lazy one” or “sloth.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Manoah.html

His wifeI was barren,J having borne no children.K 

Notes on verse 2c

I “wife” = ishshah. Related to “man” in v2. From ish (see note C above). This is woman, wife, or female.
J “barren” = aqar. 12x in OT. From the same as eqer (stock, member, offshoot; figuratively, could be a descendant or someone who is transplanted like an immigrant who takes up permanent residence); from aqar (to uproot, pluck out, dig out by the roots, to hamstring; figuratively, to exterminate). This is barrenness or a woman who is barren.
K “borne…children” = yalad. This is to bear or bring forth. It can mean to act as midwife or to show one’s lineage. This is often used for birth or begetting.

And the angelL of the LordM appearedN to the womanO

Notes on verse 3a

L “angel” = malak. This is a messenger, an angel, or a deputy of some kind. Can be used for human messengers literally or for prophets, priests, or teachers as messengers of God. Also used for supernatural messengers i.e. angels.
M “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “was” in v2. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (see note A above). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
N “appeared” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
O “woman” = ishshah. Same as “wife” in v2. See note I above.

and said to her, “AlthoughP you are barren, having borne no children, you shall conceiveQ and bearR a son.S Now be carefulT, U not to drinkV wineW

Notes on verses 3b-4a

P “although” = hinneh + na. Hinneh is from hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold! Na is a particle used for requests or for urging. It can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh. This is the same “na” in “hosanna.”
Q “conceive” = harah. This is to conceive or be pregnant – it can be literal or figurative.
R “bear” = yalad. Same as “borne…children” in v2. See note K above.
S “son” = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
T “be careful” = shamar. This is to keep, watch, or preserve. It means to guard something or to protect it as a thorny hedge protects something.
U {untranslated} = na. Same as “although” in v3. See note P above.
V “drink” = shathah. This is to drink literally or figuratively. It could also be a drinker.
W “wine” = yayin. Root may mean to effervesce, referring to the fermentation process. This is wine, grape, or banquet. It can imply intoxication.

or strong drink,X or to eatY anythingZ unclean,AA forBB you shall conceive and bear a son. No razorCC is to comeDD on his head,EE

Notes on verses 4b-5a

X “strong drink” = shekar. From shakar (to be filled with drink, merry, tipsy; satiated in a positive sense or drunken in a negative sense; also figuratively influence). This is a beverage that intoxicates, liquor, a strong wine. It could also be someone who is a drunk.
Y “eat” = akal. This is to eat, devour, burn up, or otherwise consume. It can be eating in a literal or figurative sense.
Z “anything” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
AA “unclean” = tame. From tame (to defile, be unclean, pollute in a ritual or ethical sense). This is unclean, ill, or ritually impure.
BB {untranslated} = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
CC “razor” = morah. 3x in OT. From mur (to change, substitute, stand by, alter, remove). This is a razor.
DD “come” = alah. This is to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense.
EE “head” = rosh. This may come a word that means to shake. It is the head, captain, or chief. It can also be excellent or the forefront. It can be first in position or in statue or in time (i.e. the beginning).

for the boyFF shall be a naziriteGG to GodHH from birth.II

Notes on verse 5b

FF “boy” = naar. May be from na’ar (to shake, toss up and down, tumble around). This is a child or a servant. It is a child in their active years so they could be aged anywhere from infancy to adolescence.
GG “nazirite” = nazir. 16x in OT. From nazar (to dedicate, set apart, fast, keep self from impurity, refrain from worship; to consecrate for a holy purpose). This is a devoted one, i.e. a Nazarite. It can also refer to a prince or a vine that has not been trimmed.
HH “God” = Elohim.
II “birth” = beten. Root may mean to be hollow. This is the belly or womb. It can also refer to a body more broadly.

It is he who shall beginJJ to deliverKK IsraelLL from the handMM of the Philistines.”NN 

Notes on verse 5c

JJ “begin” = chalal. This is to pierce, which implies to wound. It is used figuratively for making someone or something profane or breaking your word. It can also mean to begin as though one opened a wedge. Also, to eat something as a common thing.
KK “deliver” = yasha. To deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue, be safe. Properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. Used causatively, it means to free.
LL “Israel” = Yisrael. Related to “God” in v5. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (see note HH above). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
MM “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
NN “Philistines” = Pelishti. From Pelesheth (Philistia); from palash (to mourn, wallow, maybe roll in). This is Philistines. Their name may mean “griever” or “burrower” or “weakener.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Philistine.html.

Then the woman cameOO and told her husband,PP “A man of God came to me, and his appearanceQQ was like thatRR of an angel of God, mostSS awe-inspiring;TT

Notes on verse 6a

OO “came” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
PP “husband” = ish. Same as “man” in v2. See note C above.
QQ “appearance” = mareh. Related to “appeared” in v3. From raah (see note N above). This is sight, appearance, or vision. It can be a view, seeing itself, that which is seen, something real, or a vision one sees.
RR “that” = mareh. Same as “appearance” in v6. See note QQ above.
SS “most” = meod. Perhaps from the same as uwd (firebrand, a poker). This is very, greatly, exceedingly. It can also mean vehemence, force, abundance.
TT “awe-inspiring” = yare. This is to fear, be afraid, dreadful. It can also refer to fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect.

I did not askUU him where he came from, and he did not tellVV me his name; but he said to me, ‘WWYou shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean,XX for the boy shall be a nazirite to God from birth to the dayYY of his death.’”ZZ

Notes on verses 6b-7

UU “ask” = shaal. This is to ask, inquire, beg, borrow, desire, request. It can also mean to demand.
VV “tell” = nagad. This is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain.
WW {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as “although” in v3. See note P above.
XX “unclean” = tum’ah. Related to “unclean” in v4. From tame (see note AA above). This is filthiness or uncleanness. It can refer to ritual or moral impurity.
YY “day” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
ZZ “death” = mavet. From muth (to die in a literal or figurative sense). This can be death, deadliness, the dead, or the place where the dead go. It can be used figuratively for pestilence or ruin.

Image credit: “Samson – Mighty Warrior” by Curtis and Pip Reid of Bible Pathway Adventures.

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