For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)From off the altar.—The rock (tsor) of Judges 13:19 is now hallowed into an altar (mizbeach).Judges 13:19 the Angel "did wondrously," probably as the Angel that Appeared to Gideon had done, bringing fire from the rock. See the marginal references and notes. The flame; either arising from the fire which Manoah brought for the offering, or produced by the angel out of the rock in a miraculous manner.
From off the altar, i.e. from that part of the rock which served instead of an altar, upon which the sacrifice was laid.
The angel ascended in the flame, to manifest his nature and essence to be spiritual, because not capable of hurt by the fire; and celestial.
Fell on their faces; partly in reverence to that glorious presence manifested in so wonderful a manner; and partly out of a religions horror and fear of death upon this occasion, as is expressed Judges 13:22, for the prevention whereof they fell down in way of supplication to God.
that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar; making use of the smoke, as Josephus (r) says, as a vehicle in which he openly went up to heaven:
and Manoah and his wife looked on it; on the flame and smoke, and the angel in it as he ascended; just as the disciples of Christ looked steadfastly on him as he went up to heaven, when a cloud received him out of their sight, Acts 1:9.
and fell on their faces to the ground; with astonishment and surprise at what they saw, through fear and reverence of the divine Being, of whose presence they were now sensible, and as worshipping of him, and praying to him.For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20. in the Flame of the altar] as though it were His native element, Exodus 3:2. The sign may well have suggested a more spiritual view of Jehovah’s nature (Kittel l.c.). The flame is that kindled by Manoah; contrast Jdg 6:21.Verse 20. - Looked on it. There is no occasion for the italic it, the phrase is identical with that at the close of ver. 19; but the rendering would be better, And when Manoah and his wife saw it, they fell, etc. Judges 13:4, simply adding to the prohibition of wine and strong drink the caution not to eat of anything that came from the vine, in accordance with Numbers 6:3.
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