Seeds of Promise Series by Shenica Graham
Zlelponi (Hazelelponi): Mother of Samson
Women of The Bible
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|Seeds of Promise||Women of the Bible||Zlelponi (Hazelelponi): Mother of Samson||Judges 13||Audio|
Devotional Reading: Judges 13:1-2 AMP
1 And the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years. 2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had no children.
The Babylonian Rabbis knew Manoah’s wife as “Zlelponi” (Hazelelponi) or “Zlelponith” , part of the royal tribe of Judah. God seems to have an affinity for women who are barren, feeling genuine empathy, wailing with them that they might have joy in childbearing. Manoah’s wife is among the seven Biblically renowned women who were barren: Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, Hannah, Zion, and Zlelponi. Being barren in Biblical eras was viewed as a curse. There was sure to be snickering and shunning of the barren woman and her husband, as was the case with Zlelponi and Manoah. They were actually not invited to the marriage celebrations of another judge, Ibzan, who had sixty children.
Devotional Reading: Judges 13:3-5 AMP
3 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, Behold, you are barren and have no children, but you shall become pregnant and bear a son. 4 Therefore beware and drink no wine or strong drink and eat nothing unclean. 5 For behold, you shall become pregnant and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from birth, and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines.
Zlelponi was given specific instructions to carry throughout her pregnancy because the child she was carrying would be a Nazirite, having a sacred vow between he and the LORD, for his entire life.
Devotional Reading: Judges 13:6-10 AMP
6 Then the woman went and told her husband, saying, A [b]Man of God came to me and his face was like the face of the Angel of God, to be greatly and reverently feared. I did not ask him from where he came, and he did not tell me his name. 7 But he said to me, Behold, you shall become pregnant and bear a son, and now drink no wine or strong drink and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from birth to the day of his death. 8 Then Manoah entreated the Lord and said, O Lord, let the Man of God whom You sent come again to us and teach us what we shall do with the child that shall be born. 9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the Angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field; but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 And the woman ran in haste and told her husband and said to him, Behold, the Man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.
The fact that the Angel of the Lord appeared first to Zlelponi, without her husband being present, speaks highly of the woman’s own devotion to God. She is counted among the twenty-two truly righteous (in right standing with God) and upright women named in the Bible.
Devotional Reading: Judges 13:11-14 AMP
11 And Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the Man and said to him, Are you the Man who spoke to this woman? And he said, I am. 12 And Manoah said, Now when your words come true, how shall we manage the child, and what is he to do? 13 And the Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, Let the mother beware of all that I told her. 14 She may not eat of anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe.
God would have wanted Manoah also to be “in the know” about the coming child’s vow from conception, that he should not interfere and cause the child to even unknowingly break the vow of God.
Devotional Reading: Judges 13:15-23 AMP
15 And Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, Pray, let us detain you that we may prepare a kid for you. 16 And the Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, Though you detain me, I will not eat of your food, but if you make ready a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord. For Manoah did not know that he was the Angel of the Lord. 17 And Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, What is your name, so that when your words come true, we may do you honor? 18 And the Angel of the Lord said to him, Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful? 19 So Manoah took the kid with the cereal offering and offered it upon a rock to the Lord, the Angel working wonders, while Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 For when the flame went up toward the heavens from the altar, the Angel of the Lord ascended in the altar flame. And Manoah and his wife looked on, and they fell on their faces to the ground. 21 The Angel of the Lord did not appear again to Manoah or to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the Angel of the Lord. 22 And Manoah said to his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. 23 But his [sensible] wife said to him, If the Lord were pleased to kill us, He would not have received a burnt offering and a cereal offering from our hands, nor have shown us all these things or now have announced such things as these.
The manner of the Scriptural record concerning the reaction of Zlelponi and Manoah to their encounter with the Angel of The Lord also suggests that Zlelponi was more spiritual than her husband. She apparently observed all the Angel of The LORD commanded her concerning her conduct while pregnant and she saw to the sacred reverence of the vow from the child’s birth.
Devotional Reading: Judges 13:24-25 AMP
24 And the woman [in due time] bore a son and called his name Samson; and the child grew and the Lord blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in Mahaneh-dan [the camp of Dan] between Zorah and Eshtaol.
In addition to being a woman of character and faithfulness, some traditions connect Zlelponi to the Proverbs 31 woman, since she was a seamstress and seller of fine cloths.
 Jewish Women’s Archive. Wife of Manoach; Samson’s Mother: Midrash and Aggadah. http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/wife-of-manoach-samsons-mother-midrash-and-aggadah. Accessed April 4, 2015