|Book||Book of Judges|
|Hebrew Bible part||Nevi'im|
|Order in the Hebrew part||2|
|Christian Bible part||Old Testament (Heptateuch)|
|Order in the Christian part||7|
Judges 13 is the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Judges in the Old Testament or the Hebrew Bible. According to Jewish tradition the book was attributed to the prophet Samuel, but modern scholars view it as part of the Deuteronomistic History, which spans in the books of Deuteronomy to 2 Kings, attributed to nationalistic and devotedly Yahwistic writers during the time of the reformer Judean king Josiah in 7th century BCE. This chapter records the activities of judges Samson. belonging to a section comprising Judges 13 to 16 and Judges 6:1 to 16:31.
This chapter was originally written in the Hebrew language. It is divided into 25 verses.
Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter in Hebrew are of the Masoretic Text tradition, which includes the Codex Cairensis (895), Aleppo Codex (10th century), and Codex Leningradensis (1008).
Extant ancient manuscripts of a translation into Koine Greek known as the Septuagint (originally was made in the last few centuries BCE) include Codex Vaticanus (B; B; 4th century) and Codex Alexandrinus (A; A; 5th century).[a]
A linguistic study by Chisholm reveals that the central part in the Book of Judges (Judges 3:7–16:31) can be divided into two panels based on the six refrains that state that the Israelites did evil in Yahweh’s eyes:
Furthermore from the linguistic evidence, the verbs used to describe the Lord’s response to Israel’s sin have chiastic patterns and can be grouped to fit the division above:
Chapters 13–16 contains the "Samson Narrative" or "Samson Cycle", a highly structured poetic composition with an 'almost architectonic tightness' from a literary point-of-view. The entire section consists of 3 cantos and 10 subcantos and 30 canticles, as follows:
The distribution of the 10 subcantos into 3 cantos is a regular 2 + 4 + 4, with the number of canticles per subcanto as follows:
The number of strophes per canticle in each canto is quite uniform with numerical patterns in Canto II showing a 'concentric symmetry':
The structure regularity within the whole section classifies this composition as a 'narrative poetry' or 'poetic narrative'.
The oppression of the Israelites by the Philistines was briefly mentioned in Judges 10:7, is stated here again with the standing formula: "And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord" (cf. Judges 10:6; Judges 4:1; Judges 3:12).
The birth narrative of Samson follows the pattern of heroes' birth in the Israelite tradition, starting with as a barren mother (cf. Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Hannah) receiving an annunciation (verse 3), a special theophany usually with women as the 'primary recipients' (cf. Mary in Luke 1), accompanied by specific instructions for the mother and son (verses 4-6) causing an expression of fear or awe (verse 22; cf. Rebekah in Genesis 25:22–23; Hagar in Genesis 16:11–12; Sarah and Abraham in Genesis 18). Samson's nazirite identity (verses 4–6; 7; 14) is in accordance to the description in the Priestly text of Numbers 6:1–21, but among the nazirite characteristics, the specific motif of hair is especially central to the Samson Narrative. Samson's mother was unnamed, although she was the one receiving the important message about the birth and especially about the hair (verse 5), and appears to be calmer (and more readily believe the message) than her named husband (Manoah) who was fearful and unsure (cf. verses 8, 12, 16, and 21 with 6–7, 10, 23). As a confirmation of her importance in the narrative, she is the one who names the boy, Samson ("man of the sun"; in Hebrew: simson, whereas semes means "sun"), following the tradition of naming the child in the Hebrew Bible (cf. Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:20; Eve in Genesis 4:1, and the matriarchs, Leah and Rachel).
The narrative in verses 3–24 has a structure that almost parallels with Judges 16 in terms of text arrangement:
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