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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

1 Samuel 7

 

 

Verses 1-17

1 Samuel 7:1. Sanctified Eleazar, a levite, to keep the ark. Holy persons were consecrated by imposition of hands and by sacrifices, as was Samuel, a levite also. Abinadab seems to have been aged or dead. All the priests were purified anew, before they touched the holy vessels.

1 Samuel 7:2. Lamented after the Lord; for they had heard anew of the fame of his ark. But the first work of repentance is to put away our idols and our sins.

1 Samuel 7:3. Ashtaroth. See on 10:6. Joshua 23:7.

1 Samuel 7:6. Water poured before the Lord, designates contrition of heart and purity of purpose.

1 Samuel 7:7. The Philistines. We read, Sirach 46:18, that the Tyrians joined them against the Israelites. They had cause to execrate their error; for all that meddle with Zion, meddle with her to their hurt.

1 Samuel 7:9. Samuel took a sucking lamb and offered it. This he did as a prophet immediately inspired of God. This Elijah did on mount Carmel when no priest was present.

1 Samuel 7:10. Thundered. See Joshua 10:10. 4:15. Baldwin, when going to take Damascus, by a dreadful storm was driven back. The darkness, rain, and thunder were so tremendous as to induce him to own the hand of heaven. Gesta Dei, &c. p. 849, in Harmer, vol. 2.

1 Samuel 7:12. Samuel took a stone—and called the name of it EBEN-EZER that is, “the stone of help,” when Israel had no other help. The most brilliant victories which heaven conferred on the Hebrews were not achieved by an arm of flesh.

1 Samuel 7:13. The Philistines—came no more into the coast of Israel, during Samuel’s life; proof sufficient that he wrote his own history.

1 Samuel 7:16. He went from year to year. Good and great men should not be localized. Daniel says, “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be encreased in the earth.” Persons endowed with divine excellencies are national treasures. Altars were built in Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpeh, as well as in Ramah. This verse was probably a marginal reading, which found its way into the text. See 1 Samuel 7:13.

REFLECTIONS.

Samuel, called of God to a divine work, had proceeded with it from youth to riper age; and in the course of twenty years, labouring without noise and ostentation, he had so far succeeded as to revive in the whole nation a love for the religion of their fathers. And no sooner did the people begin to reform their morals, and to cherish piety, than God began to remove their affliction, to prosper their affairs, and to enrich them with every covenant blessing. They gradually shook off every yoke, and under David made the Euphrates the boundary of their empire, as the Lord had promised. What a blessing is one man of God to a kingdom. He is the gift of heaven; and of more value than every other gift.

Samuel, to give effect to the good which had been done in the several cities of Israel, and to perfect the reformation, following the example of Moses and Joshua before their death, convened the people in Mizpeh, a central town, for the renewal of the national covenant with God. This was a wise and salutary measure; it bound them by oath to put away the strange gods which lurked among them; and it attached them to religion by a taste of its sweetness, and a discovery of its glory. After so solemn an act of devotion proceeding from the hearts of the people, the temporal and spiritual affairs of Israel had always succeeded well. What a proof of the faithfulness of God to his word; and what a basis of confidence to believers in all succeeding ages. Happy if christians could adopt some means of like nature to revive the spirit, and impress the nations with the glory of their religion.

The Philistines, hearing of this convocation, took the alarm, assembled in arms, and invaded the land; for guilt is always suspicious, and tyranny is always jealous. And mark how the Lord acted for his people. He suffered them to fear, he suffered them to cry for a moment; he suffered their faith to be exercised, whether he would be mindful of his word, having promised to defend the land while the people attended the national festivals. Then in anger he thundered from the heavens against the old and hard oppressor; then he appalled their soul with the fear and terror of his arm. Then the affrighted host fled in confusion; and the trembling Hebrews, venturing to pick up the weapons the enemy had cast away, pursued them to the fortress of Beth-car. Who said that God had forsaken his people? Who said that we must always trust in an arm of flesh, and not in the faithfulness of God? Here is a victory great in itself: and greater still as the pledge of Israel’s rise to unrivalled glory in the east.

We ought to make memorials of the mercies of the Lord. If twelve stones were taken out of Jordan because the Lord had affrighted the stream; if stones of covenant memorial were set up in Gilgal; Samuel, wisely conforming to the order of providence, set up his Ebenezer in Mizpeh; he resolved that this stone should swell the trophies of his God, and be a monument of national instruction to Israel. And how many Ebenezers may the christian church raise, when she considers the deliverances from pagan and christian Rome, whose chains were heavier than those of Philistia on Israel: and when she, glorious to consider, sees the many Samuels whom God has raised up in her own bosom. And how many Ebenezers may every experienced christian raise, when he considers the many deliverances God has wrought for his soul, and how often he has been saved in the hour of temptation, affliction and distress.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 7:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/1-samuel-7.html. 1835.

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