What does Judges 13:21 mean?
ESV: The angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord.
NIV: When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord.
NASB: Now the angel of the Lord did not appear to Manoah or his wife again. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord.
CSB: The angel of the Lord did not appear again to Manoah and his wife. Then Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord.
NLT: The angel did not appear again to Manoah and his wife. Manoah finally realized it was the angel of the Lord,
KJV: But the angel of the Lord did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the Lord.
NKJV: When the Angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and his wife, then Manoah knew that He was the Angel of the Lord.
Verse Commentary:
Manoah and his wife knew there was something unusually special about the "man" who told them they would have a son (Judges 13:2–11). Something about the stranger convinced them the message was true, and that He could be trusted. Manoah's wife had called Him a "man of God" who looked like an "angel of God" (Judges 13:6).

Before this moment, though, they appear to have had no idea exactly how unusual this "man" was. At His suggestion, and as He stood by, they made an offering to God (Judges 13:12–18). All at once, as they watched (Judges 13:19–20), He suddenly went up into the heavens in the flames burning on the rock altar. Just like that, He disappeared. He was there, then He was gone.

Instantly, Manoah and his wife realized "the man of God" was actually "the angel of the LORD." They now clearly understand that their visitor was God, Himself, in a temporary human form. Their response was entirely appropriate: to fall on their faces in humble worship. This is followed, though, by great fear; Manoah worries they will die since they've "seen" God (Judges 13:22).
Verse Context:
Judges 13:8–25 explains how Manoah learned of his wife's interaction with a messenger from God. He prays for more understanding, so he can properly fulfill his obligations. The angel of the Lord appears, again, and repeats his instructions. The child is to be consecrated as a Nazirite for his entire life. Manoah prepares a sacrifice, and the angel disappears into the flames. This further confirms the truth of the message. Manoah and his wife name their child Samson, who shows signs of blessing and the influence of God's Spirit from an early age.
Chapter Summary:
The Lord appoints another deliverer for Israel, this time in response to oppression under the Philistines. An impressive stranger appears to Manoah and his wife, announcing they will have a son. This child is to be set apart as a Nazarite from before birth until death. His mother must not drink wine or strong drink or eat any unclean thing. This visitor then disappears into the flames of a burnt offering. The couple realizes they have seen a manifestation of Yahweh, Himself. Samson is born and soon shows signs of God's influence.
Chapter Context:
After Jephthah's rescue (Judges 11—12) this passage begins with another generation sinning against God. As is the pattern of the book of Judges, this leads to oppression. Israel is subject to forty years of misery under the Philistines. God appears to the wife of Manoah in the territory of Dan. She is commanded to consecrate her unborn son as a Nazarite, and that this child will begin to save Israel from the Philistines. Samson is born and is blessed by God. This is as pure as Samson's life will be—the rest of his story is an awkward, scandalous example of the Lord using flawed people to accomplish His great purposes.
Book Summary:
The Book of Judges describes Israel's history from the death of Joshua to shortly before Israel's first king, Saul. Israel fails to complete God's command to purge the wicked Canaanites from the land (Deuteronomy 7:1–5; 9:4). This results in a centuries-long cycle where Israel falls into sin and is oppressed by local enemies. After each oppression, God sends a civil-military leader, labeled using a Hebrew word loosely translated into English as "judge." These appointed rescuers would free Israel from enemy control and govern for a certain time. After each judge's death, the cycle of sin and oppression begins again. This continues until the people of Israel choose a king, during the ministry of the prophet-and-judge Samuel (1 Samuel 1—7).
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