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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Samuel 3

 

 

Verse 1

1 Samuel 3:1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; [there was] no open vision.

Ver. 1. And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli.] Praemonstrante et instruente eum Eli. Eli being his tutor and teacher, he was tractable and officious, faithful in a little, and therefore intrusted with more, being the next famous prophet to Moses, and called the first. [Acts 3:24 2 Chronicles 35:18]

The word of the Lord was precious in those days.] Heb., Rare. The Hebrews put rarum pro charo: as Proverbs 25:17, "Let thy feet be precious in thy neighbour’s house," that is, let them seldom come there. See Psalms 74:9, Isaiah 13:12. A prophet was a rare bird; so was once a preacher in this land, and then much more set by. Diaconos paucitas honorabiles fecit. (a)

There was no open vision.] Heb., Broken. See 7:15, with the note. Prophecy was very scarce.


Verse 2

1 Samuel 3:2 And it came to pass at that time, when Eli [was] laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, [that] he could not see;

Ver. 2. At that time.] Much about that time that the aforesaid prophet had spoken to Eli, [1 Samuel 2:27-36] or not long after. Clouds cluster against a storm. Or rather, At that time when the word of God was precious.

That he could not see.] Tηλαυγες, clearly, and far off. The Rabbins interpret it of the eyes of his mind also, as that he had lost the gift of prophecy: and do therefore note a special providence, that when one light failed, God set up another, viz., Samuel.


Verse 3

1 Samuel 3:3 And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God [was], and Samuel was laid down [to sleep];

Ver. 3. And ere the lamp of God went out,] i.e., Early in the morning, before it was day. For they did not then burn daylight, as the superstitious Papists do by their tapers burning upon their altars at noonday. The morning is the fittest time for meditation and prayer.

And Samuel was laid down to sleep.] In some of the Levites’ lodgings, and not far from Eli, on whom he waited.


Verse 4

1 Samuel 3:4 That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here [am] I.

Ver. 4. That the Lord called Samuel] Gratuita et inopinata est vocatio nostra [Ephesians 1:11] God calleth his people of free grace, and when they least think of it.

And he answered, Here am I.] A hearing ear is a sweet mercy: a heavy ear, a grievous judgment. [Isaiah 6:9]


Verse 5

1 Samuel 3:5 And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here [am] I for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.

Ver. 5. And he ran unto Eli.] This showeth his diligence in attending on his blind master, though he were now but twelve years old, as saith Josephus.

And he went and lay down,] sc., To sleep; which he would not have done had he thought that the Lord had spoken to him. So if men did but consider that it is God that speaketh unto them by the mouth of his ministers, they would hear and heed much better.


Verse 6

1 Samuel 3:6 And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here [am] I for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.

Ver. 6. And the Lord called yet again, Samuel.] How oft do we either turn the deaf ear to God’s call, or else mistake, and run another way, till he please to speak home to our hearts, and "cause us to hear him," as the Church speaks! [Song of Solomon 8:13]


Verse 7

1 Samuel 3:7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.

Ver. 7. Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord,] i.e., He knew him not in that way peculiar to prophets: for otherwise he knew the Lord a far deal better than Eli’s two sons did, [1 Samuel 2:12] and yet he and they had all one tutor. But he hath his chair in heaven who teacheth the heart, saith a father.


Verse 8

1 Samuel 3:8 And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here [am] I for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child.

Ver. 8. And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child.] There was a special providence in it, that Samuel should thus run to Eli three several times, that he might surely know it to be a divine revelation, and be affected with it. Whereas else he might have slighted it as a childish dream; or have thought it strange that God should use the pupil to instruct the tutor. (a)


Verse 9

1 Samuel 3:9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

Ver. 9. That thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.] Eli, though his conscience told him that Samuel would shortly bespeak him, as afterwards Ahijah the prophet did Jeroboam’s wife, "I am sent to thee with heavy tidings," [1 Kings 14:6] yet he instructeth him when God called again, what answer he should make: and saith in effect, as that holy Dutch doctor did, Veniat, veniat verbum Dei et submittemus ei, sexcenta si nobis essent colla. Let the word of God be what it will, I will surely submit to it.


Verse 10

1 Samuel 3:10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

Ver. 10. And the Lord came, and stood.] In some visible shape, either by an angel, or at least as he did, late in Queen Mary’s days, to Robert Samuel, martyr, who having been long kept in close prison by the Bishop of Norwich without food and drink, saving that he had every day allowed him two or three morsels of bread and three spoonfuls of water, to the end he might be reserved to further torment, he fell one time into a sleep, as it were one half in a slumber: at which time one clad all in white seemed to stand before him, which ministered comfort unto him by these words - Samuel, Samuel, be of good cheer, and take a good heart unto thee, for after this day thou shalt never be either hungry or thirsty. For speedily after he was burned, and from that time till he should suffer, he felt neither hunger nor thirst. And this declared he, as he said, that all men might behold the wonderful works of God. (a) The like befell Cuthbert Simson, martyr. (b)


Verse 11

1 Samuel 3:11 And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.

Ver. 11. I will do a thing in Israel.] All the people are threatened, as well us those priests; because for their faults they abhorred the Lord’s sacrifice, and from the priests "profaneness was gone forth into all the land," [Jeremiah 23:15] so that there was "like priest, like people."

At which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.] Through horror and amazement, as useth to fall out upon some sudden thunder clap, or the roaring of great ordnance, or the fall of those huge heaps of snow in the Alps, called by the inhabitants Labinae. (a)


Verse 12

1 Samuel 3:12 In that day I will perform against Eli all [things] which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end.

Ver. 12. When I begin, I will also make an end.] Praestabo reipsa quod verbis minitor. Execution of justice is God’s work, though his strange work, [Isaiah 28:21] and when be once beginneth, he will go thorough stitch with it: he will neither dally nor desist till it be done.


Verse 13

1 Samuel 3:13 For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.

Ver. 13. For I have told him.] And he shall find that I told him so not in terrorem, only to frighten him.

For the iniquity which he knoweth.] Both by that prophet, [1 Samuel 2:29] and by that domestical chaplain, his conscience.

Because his sons made themselves vile.] Heb., Contemned or despised themselves - viz., by despising their ways, not ordering them aright [Proverbs 19:16] - and so have rendered themselves contemptible, or accursed, and the service of God also, by their maladministration: for who will taste of the fruit that first disliketh the tree?

And he restrained them not.] No, not so much as by frowning upon them - so the word signifieth - by casting a wry look toward them. A Christian should carry a severe rebuke in his countenance at least, as God doth. [Psalms 80:16]


Verse 14

1 Samuel 3:14 And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.

Ver. 14. That the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged.] Hence some concluded that their sin was that sin unto death, [1 John 5:16] for which "there remaineth no more sacrifice," [Hebrews 10:26] and that they were damned, because so hardened that they could not repent. [Romans 1:28] If some of that race proved right, as they did, yet the temporal punishment of losing the chief priesthood could not be averted or avoided.


Verse 15

1 Samuel 3:15 And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.

Ver. 15. And Samuel … opened the doors of the house.] His modesty appeareth in that, (1.) He doeth his former office of doorkeeper, though he were now become a prophet: he was not at all puffed up with his new honour; (2.) He is not forward, but fearful to tell Eli the oracle, which yet he might not conceal.


Verse 16

1 Samuel 3:16 Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here [am] I.

Ver. 16. Then Eli called Samuel.] He had a sore conscience, as his sons a seared, and such as presaged no good.


Verse 17

1 Samuel 3:17 And he said, What [is] the thing that [the LORD] hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide [it] not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide [any] thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee.

Ver. 17. What is the thing that the Lord, &c.] He is earnest to know the worst: for any good from an offended God he expected not. But "do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?" [Micah 2:7] {See Trapp on "Micah 2:7"}


Verse 18

1 Samuel 3:18 And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It [is] the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.

Ver. 18. Told him every whit.] Bitter truths must be spoken, however they be taken; and if ministers be mannerly in the form, yet in the matter of their message let them be resolute.

It is the Lord.] Jehovah the Essentiator and the Promise keeper.

Let him do, (a) &c.] His holy will be done. This he speaketh not out of pervicacy or hypocrisy, as some have censured, but in a humble submission to his heavenly Father: for if Eli had been an ill father to his sons, yet he was a good son to God.


Verse 19

1 Samuel 3:19 And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.

Ver. 19. Fall to the ground.] Metaph. a liquidis, aut ab aedificationibus collapsis.


Verse 20

1 Samuel 3:20 And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel [was] established [to be] a prophet of the LORD.

Ver. 20. That Samuel was established.] Because his words were fulfilled.


Verse 21

1 Samuel 3:21 And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.

Ver. 21. By the word of the Lord.] That is, By Christ, {as 2 Samuel 7:21} or by prophetic revelation.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 3:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-samuel-3.html. 1865-1868.

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