Judges 13:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 13:20, NIV: As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground.

Judges 13:20, ESV: And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the LORD went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.

Judges 13:20, KJV: For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground.

Judges 13:20, NASB: For it came about when the flame went up from the altar toward heaven, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground.

Judges 13:20, NLT: As the flames from the altar shot up toward the sky, the angel of the LORD ascended in the fire. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell with their faces to the ground.

Judges 13:20, CSB: When the flame went up from the altar to the sky, the angel of the Lord went up in its flame. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell facedown on the ground.

What does Judges 13:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

At the suggestion of a stranger—whom they apparently believe to be a prophet (Judges 13:2–11) or "man of God"—Manoah and his wife are offering a burnt offering to God. This is in the form of a young goat and grain. It is their sincere expression of thanks and devotion; praise to the Lord for the wonder He has worked in the promise of a baby (Judges 13:12–19).

Now something astonishing happens. The stranger—whom they apparently believed to be merely human—suddenly rises into heaven in the flame of their burnt offering. The prior verse carefully noted the pair were watching, so this is no misunderstanding or optical illusion. They are staggered by seeing this supernatural event. It brings sudden realization about the Person to whom they've been speaking. This is "the angel of the LORD," seemingly God Himself in human form.

The awestruck couple do the only appropriate thing: they fall in the prostrate position of worship, humility, and submission before God. However, the same realization has left Manoah afraid for their lives (Judges 13:21–22).