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[276] There was one Manoah, a person of such great virtue, that he had few men his equals, and without dispute the principal person of his country. He had a wife celebrated for her beauty, and excelling her contemporaries. He had no children; and, being uneasy at his want of posterity, he entreated God to give them seed of their own bodies to succeed them; and with that intent he came constantly into the suburbs 1 together with his wife; which suburbs were in the Great Plain. Now he was fond of his wife to a degree of madness, and on that account was unmeasurably jealous of her. Now, when his wife was once alone, an apparition was seen by her: it was an angel of God, and resembled a young man beautiful and tall, and brought her the good news that she should have a son, born by God's providence, that should be a goodly child, of great strength; by whom, when he was grown up to man's estate, the Philistines should be afflicted. He exhorted her also not to poll his hair, and that he should avoid all other kinds of drink, (for so had God commanded,) and be entirely contented with water. So the angel, when he had delivered that message, went his way, his coming having been by the will of God.

1 I can discover no reason why Manoah and his wife came so constantly into these suburbs to pray for children, but because there was a synagogue or place of devotion in those suburbs.

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