Manoah was the father of Samson. Manoah and his wife suffered two kinds of hardship: They lived under the yoke of the Philistines and they were childless. Still, when the angel of the Lord told Manoah’s wife that she was going to bear a son who would deliver His people from the hated Philistines, Manoah found the courage to believe the impossible. He prayed for God to send the mysterious visitor once more—not because he didn’t trust his wife, but because he wanted to know how they should raise their promised son.
Manoah’s faith was rewarded when the visitor returned to the awestruck couple. While the angel refused Manoah’s hospitality—he had offered to prepare a young goat, no small delicacy in those days—he invited Manoah to make a burnt offering to God. Manoah did so, and while he and his wife watched, the angel rode the flame back to heaven.
Only then did they realize that God Himself had visited them. Convinced they were about to die, Manoah needed his wife’s reassurance that God would not accept their offering and promise them a son only to kill them.
Nevertheless, Manoah was destined to experience great anguish on account of the son that God provided. That son, Samson, was to be one of Israel’s great deliverers—unfortunately, he fell far short of the godly example set by his parents.
Much to their distress, Samson took a pagan wife from their enemies, the Philistines. It is not known whether Manoah lived to see his son’s demise, but he certainly watched Samson take those first fateful steps toward personal destruction.
For someone who lived in a patriarchal culture (and one where barren women were especially despised), Manoah demonstrated a surprising degree of respect for his wife. He took her word when she told him of the angelic visitation. Also, it was Manoah’s wife who had the better understanding of things when the angel of the Lord disappeared in the flames of the couple’s burnt offering.