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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

1 Samuel 2

 

 

Verses 1-10

1 Samuel 2:1-10. Song of Hannah.—This poem is quite unsuited to Hannah's circumstances; its theology is too advanced for primitive times (1 Samuel 2:2; 1 Samuel 2:6; 1 Samuel 2:8), and the reference to the "king" (1 Samuel 2:10) either implies an actual king and indicates the period of the Monarchy, or is Messianic, i.e. connected with the hope of an ideal king, and implies a post-exilic date. The natural occasion of the poem would be a victory which delivered Israel from distress and danger. The ascription to Hannah is due to 1 Samuel 2:5 b, "the barren hath borne seven."

The Song praises Yahweh for help given to Israel, whose horn is exalted—God has given him power and glory; his mouth is enlarged—he can speak big words against his enemies (cf. Psalms 35:21). Yahweh is unique, a firm strong refuge, the Rock of Israel. His impartial justice humiliates the proud and exalts the lowly; He protects His own people and punishes the wicked.

1 Samuel 2:3. by him actions are weighed: better than RVm "though actions be not weighed"; the difference in the Heb. is very slight.

1 Samuel 2:5. have ceased: i.e. to hunger; better, by a slight alteration of the text, "have ceased to labour."

1 Samuel 2:6. maketh alive: perhaps literally referring to resuscitation or resurrection; if so, an indication of late post-exilic date (Isaiah 26:19*, Daniel 12:2*); it may, however, mean "keepeth alive."—grave: rather Sheol (see Isaiah 14:9-15*).

1 Samuel 2:10. anointed: Mâshiaḥ, "Messiah," originally a title of the kings of Israel.

1 Samuel 2:11. Originally the immediate sequel of 1 Samuel 1:28. Read instead of the last sentence of 1 Samuel 1:28 and the first of 1 Samuel 2:11, "And she left him there before Yahweh and went to Ramah to her house," partly on the authority of LXX.


Verses 12-17

1 Samuel 2:12-17 Wickedness of the Sons of EU.

1 Samuel 2:12. Belial (see 1 Samuel 1:16).

1 Samuel 2:12 f. Move full stop from after "Lord" to after "people," and render "they did not regard the Lord, nor the custom (i.e. customary share) of the priests from the people." What follows in 1 Samuel 2:13 f. is an abuse regularly practised, followed in 1 Samuel 2:15 f. by an account of a more serious abuse.

1 Samuel 2:15. Burning the fat was an essential part of the sacrifice; so that to cut off some of the flesh before this rite had been performed was gross irreverence and spoilt the whole act of worship.

1 Samuel 2:16. thy soul: better "thou" emphatic.

1 Samuel 2:17. men abhorred: render "the men" (i.e. the sons of Eli), "despised" (mg.).


Verses 18-21

1 Samuel 2:18-21. Samuel's Ministry; his Mother's Yearly Gift; her Other Children.

1 Samuel 2:18. ephod: priestly garment (p. 101, Exodus 25:7; cf. Exodus 25:28).

1 Samuel 2:20. blessed . . . said . . . went: used to bless, etc., on each yearly visit.


Verses 22-26

1 Samuel 2:22-26. Eli Remonstrates with his Sons.

1 Samuel 2:22. and . . . how that . . . meeting: should probably be omitted with LXX (cf. Exodus 38:8).—tent of meeting: see Exodus 33:7.

1 Samuel 2:24. that I hear, etc.: better, "which I hear the Lord's people do spread abroad" (mg.).

1 Samuel 2:25. judge him: render "mediate for him."

1 Samuel 2:26. Cf. Luke 2:52.


Verses 27-36

1 Samuel 2:27-36. A Prophet Foretells the Death of Eli's Sons, and the Expulsion of his Family from the Priesthood.—Composed by the Deuteronomic Editor (see above, p. 273), to connect the misconduct of the sons of Eli with the massacre of his house at Nob and deposition of his descendant, Abiathar, from the priesthood in favour of the house of Zadok (1 Kings 2:26 f.); and perhaps also with the unhappy condition of the priests of the high places, after these were suppressed (2 Kings 23:8 f.), though there is no indication that the priests of the high-places as a class were reckoned descendants of Eli.

1 Samuel 2:27. man of God: see Judges 13:6.—Did I reveal, etc.: these questions are a form of emphatic statement. The earlier sources of Samuel do not connect Eli with Aaron or Moses, but the author of this passage probably considered that because Eli was priest, he was descended from Aaron and inherited his election to the priesthood.—in bondage to: read with LXX "slaves to."

1 Samuel 2:28. wear an ephod: rather "carry an ephod"; ephod here not the same as the linen ephod in 1 Samuel 2:18, but an image or other piece of Temple furniture used in connexion with the sacred lots (p. 100); (see Judges 8:24-27*, and cf. 1 Samuel 14:3; 1 Samuel 21:9; 1 Samuel 23:6).

1 Samuel 2:29. kick ye at: rather follow the LXX, "look at with shameless eye," and render "cast an evil eye upon," i.e. "treat with contempt."

1 Samuel 2:30. the Lord saith (twice): ne'um Yahweh, a solemn, emphatic phrase, "Oracle of Y." (see Genesis 22:16).—I said, etc.: this oracle is not in the Hex. (cf. 1 Samuel 2:27).—Be it far from me: lit. "abominable to me" (see Genesis 44:7).

1 Samuel 2:31 f. These verses do not make sense; the present wording cannot be the original one, but must be due to mistakes in the copying. We cannot now discover the original form. LXX omits "that there shall not be to . . . habitation." The general sense is that the house of Eli shall be brought low, "arm cut off," and none survive to old age; the reference is to the massacre at Nob (1 Samuel 22:20).

1 Samuel 2:33. The man, Abiathar, the sole survivor of that massacre, whose deposition by Solomon will "consume the eyes, etc." of Eli, who may be supposed to foresee it.—shall die: in the massacre.—in the flower of their age: rather, with LXX "by the sword of men."

1 Samuel 2:34. Cf. 1 Samuel 4:11.

1 Samuel 2:35. faithful priest: Zadok (see above).—build him a sure house: the priesthood shall remain permanently in his family.—anointed: Mâshiah, "Messiah," as consecrated to God and endowed with His Spirit by the ceremony of anointing.

1 Samuel 2:36. piece of silver: the word translated "piece" occurs only here it should perhaps be translated "payment."

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 2:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/1-samuel-2.html. 1919.

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