Male-Female Themes In Judges 13-16 -- By: Robb C. Palmer

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 10:4 (Fall 1996)
Article: Male-Female Themes In Judges 13-16
Author: Robb C. Palmer


Male-Female Themes In Judges 13-16

Robb C. Palmer

The Rev. Robb C. Palmer is pastor of Christ Evangelical Free Church, Bethel, PA

Observations on Judges 13

When Yahweh appears, he appears not to “the male head” but to me woman (v. 3)! If Manoah is the spiritual head, why doesn’t God work through him? Instead, God deals directly with her.

God gives her a theology lesson about the boy—as though she is the primary raiser of this child, not the “head,” Manoah.

She gives her husband spiritual instruction, becoming his teacher and not vice versa! She is “over” him. Proves the logic in saying, “Let the one who knows, teach, regardless of gender.” Since she knows, she should be “above,” teaching.

She also knows not to inquire into the angels’ personal realm— the angel is too awesome (v. 6). Here she shows wisdom and acuity. Manoah, on the other hand, is blundering and intrusive, and is curtly rebuked by the angel (v. 18). She shows more acute spiritual sensitivity and wisdom than her husband!

When God returns, once more he comes to the woman alone (v. 9), even though it was Manoah who prayed and asked for a visitation. Once more God works through the woman to the man. She is his “head”! He is “submissive” to her! Without her, Manoah would have known nothing. Manoah couldn’t relate directly to God; God had to work through his wife! Incredible, isn’t it?

Note that in verse 11, “Manoah arose and followed his wife.” How stunning!

When Manoah dialogues with the angel (vv. 11-13), the angel avoids Manoah’s questions, is elusive and aloof, and directs the conversation to and around the woman.

Manoah “did not know that he was the angel of the Lord” (v. 16), but the wife knew it (see v. 6)! Once more, she shows deeper spiritual awareness.

In the end, Manoah acts emotionally, erratically, with fear, and with the absence of logic. He jumps to a conclusion, and demonstrates cowardice and infantile behavior (vv. 21-22). His wife however is calm, cool, logical, secure and reassuring (v. 23). She has the correct theology—while he is theolog...

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