I recently came across an interesting woman in Scripture whose story I was not that familiar with, and who I have never heard highlighted in any sermon or article I can recall. When contrasted with the story of Eve, Manoah's wife compares very favorably. You can read about her in Judges 13. She became the mother of Samson.
Very briefly, the story was this: Manoah's wife was barren. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and told her she was going to have a baby son, and she must raise him in a certain way, because he was going to deliver Israel from the Philistines. She then went and told her husband, Manoah. He prayed for the angel to return, and he took over from there, engaging the angel in dialog, asking for further instructions, offering hospitality that resulted in a sacrifice to God once the angel revealed his origin. Manoah realized they had been conversing with a theophany of God, and feared they were going to die, but his wife wisely pointed out if God was going to kill them, they would already be dead. Everything happened just as the angel had told them.
What is interesting in the comparison with Adam and Eve is this:
Adam and Eve:
- angelic/divine being appears to Eve
- Eve engages in dialog directly with the being
- Eve does not involve her husband Adam
- Adam (who the text says was there) does not get involved, does not take the lead
- Eve follows her own way; leads Adam into sin; Adam doesn't take initiative or demonstrate leadership, follows his own wife, and doesn't involve God in the situation; he also doesn't question the angelic being, stand up to him, or lead his family; Adam and his wife behave wickedly
Manoah and his wife:
- angelic/divine being appears to Manoah's wife
- No mention of Manoah's wife engaging in dialog directly with the being
- Manoah's wife goes and involves her husband
- Manoah asks God for intervention; then he takes the lead in questioning the angelic being "Did you talk to my wife", "What do you want us to do for the boy's upbringing", "May we prepare food for you" and finally offered a sacrifice as instructed
- Manoah's wife goes back to home base (her husband) and follows his lead; Manoah goes back to God and then leads the family interaction with God's messenger; Manoah and his wife behave righteously
This is a great example of 1 Corinthians 14:35: "If they have any questions, they should ask their husbands at home, for it is improper for women to speak in church meetings."
I think it's also a great female role model in Scripture for you to teach to your daughters, your wives, and anyone else who will listen.
Have any of you ever heard a talk on Manoah's wife, thought of it in relation to the Adam, Eve, and serpent narrative, or have any thoughts or reactions to this idea?