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Judges 13:2

ESV There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children.
NIV A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth.
NASB And there was a man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was infertile and had not given birth to any children.
CSB There was a certain man from Zorah, from the family of Dan, whose name was Manoah; his wife was unable to conceive and had no children.
NLT In those days a man named Manoah from the tribe of Dan lived in the town of Zorah. His wife was unable to become pregnant, and they had no children.
KJV And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not.

What does Judges 13:2 mean?

The writer of Judges introduces Samson's family (Judges 13:24–25) with a classic story opening: "there was a certain man." This is Manoah, Samson's father. Manoah and his wife live in the territory of Dan in the city of Zorah. Scholars identify Zorah with the modern city of Sar'a, which is a short distance west of Jerusalem, placing it squarely in the Philistine-controlled territory in southern Canaan.

Many stories in the Old Testament begin with a woman struggling to have children. Manoah's unnamed wife is described as barren. God often used women otherwise unable to conceive to demonstrate His power; this also showed the significance of the person to be born to them. Examples include Abraham's wife Sarah (Genesis 16:1–2), Isaac's wife Rebekah (Genesis 25:21), Jacob's wife Rachel (Genesis 29:31), and Samuel's mother Hanna (1 Samuel 1:1–5). The New Testament begins with another example in John the Baptist's mother, Elizabeth (Luke 1:7).

The timeline of biblical events indicates that the lives Samson and the judge-turned-prophet Samuel significantly overlap. Samson's life will end before the Philistines are entirely defeated (Judges 16:31); Samuel will be the one to break their stranglehold (1 Samuel 7:12–14). This was between 1000 and 1100 years or so before the birth of Christ.
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