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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

1 Samuel 1

 

 

Verse 1

Now there was a certain man of Ramatha'im-zophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite:

A certain man of Ramathaim-zophim , [ haa-Raamaatayim-Tsowpiym (Hebrew #7436), with the article; Septuagint, Armathaim]. The first word, being in the dual number, signifies the double city-the old and new town of Ramah (1 Samuel 1:19). There were five cities of this name, all on high ground. This city had the addition of Zophim attached to it, because, as some think, it was founded by Zuph or Zophai (1 Chronicles 6:26; 1 Chronicles 6:35), "an Ephrathite," that is, a native of Ephratha. Beth-lehem, and the expression of Ramathaim-zophim, must, on the assumption that the conjecture as to its founder is correct, be understood as Ramah in the land of Zuph (cf. 1 Samuel 9:5), Ramathaim-zophim signifying Ramah of the Zophites, or descendants of Zuph. Others, considering "mount Ephraim" as pointing to the locality in Joseph's territory, regard "Zophim" not as a proper but a common noun, signifying watchtowers or watchmen, with reference either to the height of its situation (cf. Numbers 23:14; Reland's 'Palaestina,' pp. 694, 695) or its being the residence of prophets who were watchmen (Ezekiel 3:17). Its exact site is unknown. It is said to be on "mount Ephraim;" and, on the assumption that the mountain range called "the hills of Ephraim" retained their name, even in their extension south of Benjamin, Robinson ('Biblical Researches,' 2:, p. 334) identifies this Ramah with Sola (Zuph).

Elkanah, the son of Jeroham ... This genealogy is given at length in 1 Chronicles 6:22-23; 1 Chronicles 6:33-34. Though of the Levitical order, and a good man, he practiced polygamy, which, though contrary to the original law, seems to have been prevalent among the Hebrews in those days, when "there was no king in Israel, and every man did what seemed right in his own eyes."


Verse 2

And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

The name of the one was Hannah , [ Chanaah (Hebrew #2584), grace; Septuagint, Anna].

And the name of the other Peninnah , [ P


Verse 3

And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.

This man went up out of his city yearly to worship ... in Shiloh. In that place was the 'earth's one sanctuary,' and there he repaired at the three solemn feasts, accompanied by his family at one of them-probably the Passover. Although a Levite, he could not personally offer a sacrifice-that was exclusively the office of the priests; and his piety in maintaining a regular attendance on the divine ordinances is the more worthy of notice, that the character of the two priests who administered them was notoriously bad. But doubtless he believed and acted on the belief, that the ordinances were 'effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them, or in those who administered them, but from the grace of God being communicated through them.'


Verse 4

And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:

When ... Elkanah offered, he gave ... portions. The offerer received back the greater hart of the peace-offerings, which he and his family or friends were accustomed to eat at a social feast before the Lord (see the note at Leviticus 3:7; Deuteronomy 12:12). It was out of these consecrated viands Elkanah gave portions to all the members of his family; but

Unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion , [ maanaah (Hebrew #4490) 'achat (Hebrew #259) 'apaayim (Hebrew #639), a portion of two persons; i:e., a double portion], according to the Eastern fashion of showing regard to beloved or distinguished guests (see the note at 1 Samuel 9:23-24; also Genesis 43:34).


Verse 5

But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 6

And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.

Her adversary also provoked her sore , [ tsaaraataah (Hebrew #6869), her rival]. The conduct of Peninnah was most unbecoming. But domestic broils in the houses of polygamists are of frequent occurrence, and the most fruitful cause of them has always been jealousy of the husband's superior affection, as in this case of Hannah. 'Disagreements frequently arise also from jealousy about offspring: the wife who has no children (cf. Genesis 30:1), or who has only daughters, looks with hatred and envy on the mother rejoicing over an infant boy; and I can fully realize the passionate despair of Hannah when provoked by Peninnah' (Rogers' 'Domestic Life in Palestine,' p. 106).


Verse 7-8

And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 9

So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD.

Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord , [ `al (Hebrew #5921) hakicee' (Hebrew #3678), upon the throne, the cathedra, or elevated seat of the high priest; `al (Hebrew #5921) m


Verse 10

And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.

She (Hannah) ... prayed ... She (Hannah) ... prayed ...


Verse 11

And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no rasor come upon his head.

And ... vowed a vow. Here is a specimen of the intense desire that reigned in the bosoms of the Hebrew women for children. This was the burden of Hannah's prayer; and the strong preference she expressed for a male child originated in her purpose of dedicating him to the tabernacle service. The circumstance of his birth bound him to this; but his residence within the precincts of the sanctuary would have to commence at an earlier age than usual, in consequence of the Nazarite vow. Sterile women in the East to this day perform pilgrimages to holy places, and often make a vow, that, in case they should be blessed with a son, he shall become a monk (see Joseph Wolff, 'Researches and Missionary Labours,' p. 492).


Verse 12

And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.

Eli marked her mouth. The suspicion of the aged priest seems to indicate that the vice of intemperance was neither uncommon nor confined to one sex in those times of disorder. This mistaken impression was immediately removed; and in the words, "God grant," or rather, 'will grant,' was followed by an invocation which, as Hannah regarded it in the light of a prophecy pointing to the accomplishment of her earnest desire, dispelled her sadness, and filled her with confident hope. The character and services of the expected child were sufficiently important to make his birth a fit subject for prophecy.


Verses 13-19

Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 20

Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.

Called his name Samuel , [ Sh


Verse 21

And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.

The man Elkanah ... went up to offer ... his vow. The solemn expression of his concurrence in Hannah's vow was necessary to make it obligatory, (see the note at Numbers 30:1-16.)


Verse 22

But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.

But Hannah went not up. Men only were obliged to attend the solemn feasts (Exodus 23:17). But Hannah, like other pious women, was in the habit of going, only she deemed it more prudent and becoming to defer her next journey until her son's age would enable her to fulfill her vow.

For she said unto her husband, I will not go up. These words are supplemented by our translators. The Hebrew original might be rendered, as the Syriac version does render it, 'She said unto her husband, When the child is weaned, then I will bring him,' etc.


Verse 23

And Elkanah her husband said unto her Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.

Elkanah ... said ... only the Lord establish his word [ 'et (Hebrew #854) d


Verse 24

And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young.

She took him up with her, with three bullocks , [ b


Verse 25

And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 26

And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. And she said, Oh my lord , [ '


Verse 27

For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 28

Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.

Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord , [ hish'iltihuw (Hebrew #7592)] - I have not lent him for a time, to be recalled, but given him (cf. Exodus 12:36).

He shall be lent to the Lord - i:e., given as asked for.

And he worshipped ... there - namely, the child Samuel, who was at an age capable of some external service; otherwise he must have been an incumbrance and a burden (cf. ).

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 1:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-samuel-1.html. 1871-8.

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