Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Year: Jdg 12-14 for Mar 15

God appears to a barren woman, in contrast to those who have been previously described as full of children and grandchildren (Judges 12:9; 12:14; 13:2).

When there is a time of oppression by the Philistines, we know why it came about (Judges 13:1). But when there comes a time of deliverance from the Philistines, through the initiative of God, He begins doing so without telling us His reasons (13:5).

God's coming to those who by contrast aren't famous for their family is another example of His often-seen reversal pattern, reversing what is normally expected. We have seen this since the Garden, when the sound (Genesis 3:8) was not what the reader expected to be the sound Adam heard. In Judges we have it now ever-so-explicit, when in Judges 7:2 the Lord tells Gideon "The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would glorify itself against Me, saying, 'My own hand has delivered me.'" This couple had no donkeys, sons riding them, grandsons, or donkeys for the grandsons. That strange detail in the previous chapter was deliberate!

As for Manoah and his wife, the privilege of beginning to deliver Israel from the Philistines was not theirs, but their son's -- yet they are visited by God Himself (13:22-23). Manoah wife is not named, as well. This should alert us to something, because we have seen this detail before (Gen 32:29). Manoah's wife is spoken to by God, who shares with this object of His compassion a little small detail: the inaccessibility of their names, each one's: her name, and His Name.

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