Paul says for wives to submit to their husbands. That’s a tough instruction to follow since we husbands can be so frustratingly human, and some husbands are more human than others. But what about the husband who really tries, but simply doesn’t get it? How difficult is it to submit to such a one? The wife of Manoah works very hard at it.
There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had borne no children. Then the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son. (Judges 13:2-3 NASB)
One of the elements to this story that jumps out at me every time is how God goes to the wife first. He’s willing to deal with Manoah, but He clearly prefers the wife. And Manoah’s wife dutifully goes to him with the whole story, submitting to his spiritual leadership in the process.
Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, “A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. And I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. But he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.'” (Judges 13:6-7 NASB)
Manoah’s wife tells him all that the Angel of Yahweh told her, and then adds two strange elements. First, she didn’t ask where he was from, and second, she didn’t catch his name. Regardless of how the Angel of Yahweh looked, she still felt compelled to get his name and origin. This could possibly be because she knew Manoah would want to know, because we see immediately following, that he wants the Angel back to ask Him himself.
God listened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again to the woman as she was sitting in the field, but Manoah her husband was not with her. So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the man who came the other day has appeared to me.” (Judges 13:9-10 NASB)
Yahweh answers Manoah’s prayer to resend the messenger, but He still goes to the wife. She, again, dutifully fetches Manoah. Manoah then proceeds to ask the Messenger, not about how to raise the boy, but about who or what he will be. This is the part God already told the wife. I can’t help but imagine the wife in the background doing a forehead-palm slap (I should of had a V-8!). Finally, when the Angel of Yahweh ascends in the flame, Manoah realizes Who He is. But he’s still not thinking straight.
So Manoah said to his wife, “We will surely die, for we have seen God.” But his wife said to him, “If the LORD had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have let us hear things like this at this time.” (Judges 13:22-23 NASB)
Manoah and wife are quite a pair. And, if it isn’t obvious already, let me point out that this guy clearly “married up”. Wives, submit to your husbands, not because we’re brilliant, because we’re not. Don’t submit because we have somehow earned it, because we haven’t. Don’t endanger yourself, but don’t despise the fool either. Our roles are assigned to us by God Himself, and He does so for His glory. Sometimes He shines brightest through the dimmest people.
That’s my view through this knothole this morning. What do you see of God through yours?