SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
12:1 The Ephraimites assembled and crossed over to Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, “Why did you go and fight with the Ammonites without asking us to go with you? We will burn your house down right over you!”
2 Jephthah said to them, “My people and I were in a struggle, and the Ammonites were oppressing me greatly. I asked for your help, but you did not deliver me from their power. 3 When I saw that you were not going to help, I risked my life and advanced against the Ammonites, and the Lord handed them over to me. Why have you come up to fight with me today?” 4 Jephthah assembled all the men of Gilead and they fought with Ephraim. The men of Gilead defeated Ephraim because the Ephraimites insulted them, saying, “You Gileadites are refugees in Ephraim, living within Ephraim’s and Manasseh’s territory.” 5 The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan River opposite Ephraim. Whenever an Ephraimite fugitive said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead asked him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” 6 then they said to him, “Say ‘Shibboleth!’” If he said, “Sibboleth” (and could not pronounce the word correctly), they grabbed him and executed him right there at the fords of the Jordan. On that day 42,000 Ephraimites fell dead.
7 Jephthah led Israel for six years; then he died and was buried in his town in Gilead.
8 After him Ibzan of Bethlehem led Israel. 9 He had 30 sons. He arranged for 30 of his daughters to be married outside his extended family, and he arranged for 30 young women to be brought from outside as wives for his sons. Ibzan led Israel for seven years; 10 then he died and was buried in Bethlehem.
11 After him Elon the Zebulunite led Israel for 10 years. 12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.
13 After him Abdon son of Hillel the Pirathonite led Israel. 14 He had 40 sons and 30 grandsons who rode on 70 donkeys. He led Israel for eight years. 15 Then Abdon son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.
13:1 The Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord handed them over to the Philistines for 40 years.
2 There was a man named Manoah from Zorah, from the Danite tribe. His wife was infertile and childless. 3 The angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “You are infertile and childless, but you will conceive and have a son. 4 Now be careful! Do not drink wine or beer, and do not eat any food that will make you ritually unclean. 5 Look, you will conceive and have a son. You must never cut his hair, for the child will be dedicated to God from birth. He will begin to deliver Israel from the power of the Philistines.”
6 The woman went and said to her husband, “A man sent from God came to me! He looked like God’s angel—he was very awesome. I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name. 7 He said to me, ‘Look, you will conceive and have a son. So now, do not drink wine or beer and do not eat any food that will make you ritually unclean. For the child will be dedicated to God from birth till the day he dies.’”
8 Manoah prayed to the Lord, “Please, Lord, allow the man sent from God to visit us again, so he can teach us how we should raise the child who will be born.” 9 God answered Manoah’s prayer. God’s angel visited the woman again while she was sitting in the field. But her husband Manoah was not with her. 10 The woman ran at once and told her husband, “Come quickly, the man who visited me the other day has appeared to me!” 11 So Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he met the man, he said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to my wife?” He said, “Yes.” 12 Manoah said, “Now, when your announcement comes true, how should the child be raised and what should he do?” 13 The angel of the Lord told Manoah, “Your wife should pay attention to everything I told her. 14 She should not drink anything that the grapevine produces. She must not drink wine or beer, and she must not eat any food that will make her ritually unclean. She should obey everything I commanded her to do.” 15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Please stay here awhile, so we can prepare a young goat for you to eat.” 16 The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “If I stay, I will not eat your food. But if you want to make a burnt sacrifice to the Lord, you should offer it.” (He said this because Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord.) 17 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Tell us your name, so we can honor you when your announcement comes true.” 18 The angel of the Lord said to him, “You should not ask me my name because you cannot comprehend it.” 19 Manoah took a young goat and a grain offering and offered them on a rock to the Lord. The Lord’s messenger did an amazing thing as Manoah and his wife watched. 20 As the flame went up from the altar toward the sky, the angel of the Lord went up in it while Manoah and his wife watched. They fell facedown to the ground.
21 The angel of the Lord did not appear again to Manoah and his wife. After all this happened Manoah realized that the visitor had been the angel of the Lord. 22 Manoah said to his wife, “We will certainly die because we have seen a supernatural being!” 23 But his wife said to him, “If the Lord wanted to kill us, he would not have accepted the burnt offering and the grain offering from us. He would not have shown us all these things or have spoken to us like this just now.”
24 Manoah’s wife gave birth to a son and named him Samson. The child grew and the Lord empowered him. 25 The Lord’s Spirit began to control him in Mahaneh Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.