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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

1 Samuel 7

 

 

Verse 1

1 Samuel 6:1 to 1Sa_7:1. Ark Brought back to Beth-shemesh; Plague Breaks out there; Ark Housed at Kiriath-jearim.

1 Samuel 6:1 may not belong to the main story; 2 would be a better continuation of 1 Samuel 5:12. At the end of the verse LXX adds "And their land swarmed with mice." This would prepare for the "mice" in 1 Samuel 6:4 f., 1 Samuel 6:11, 1 Samuel 6:18. Possibly these references to mice are survivals from a fuller form of the story, in which the mice figured more largely, or mice may have symbolised plague. One doubts whether it was known then that vermin carried the infection.

1 Samuel 6:2. diviners: qosem (see Deuteronomy 18:10).

1 Samuel 6:3. guilt-offering: ‘asham, here not a sacrifice, but a compensation for injury; so also 2 Kings 12:16; later on in the Priestly Code, a form of sacrifice (Leviticus 5:6).

1 Samuel 6:4. tumours: homoeopathic treatment; magic often seeks to control a person or thing by an image thereof. [This is especially the case with disease or loss. The sufferer takes to the sanctuary "a figure of the diseased part of his body, fashioned of clay, bronze, or wax, and the peasant who has suffered a loss of cattle brings a representation of the animal." In the animistic stage of thought the image is thought to have a soul. "Through its immanent psychical power it is to exercise magical coercion over the soul of the god." See Wundt, Elements of Folk Psychology, pp. 438-440.—A. S. P.]

1 Samuel 6:6. wrought wonderfully among them: better "made a mock of them' (mg.).

1 Samuel 6:8 f. If the kine made straight for the nearest point of Israelite territory, it would show that they were under the control of the God of Israel and that it was His will that the Ark should be returned to its own country.

1 Samuel 6:8. coffer: The word so translated occurs only in this narrative and its meaning is not certain.

1 Samuel 6:9. Beth-shemesh: Joshua 15:10, p. 31.

1 Samuel 6:14. There is no question of limiting sacrifice to the Tabernacle. The great stone may have been a sacred stone, or may have been used as an altar (1 Samuel 14:33-35).

1 Samuel 6:15. Editorial addition; later custom required that Levites should be present, both in connexion with the sacrifice, and as guardians of the Ark. The offering of further sacrifices seems out of place.

1 Samuel 6:16 continues 1 Samuel 6:14.

1 Samuel 6:17. Gaza: p. 28, Judges 16:1*.—Ashkelon: see p. 28.

1 Samuel 6:19. Read (mg.) with LXX, "And the sons of Jeconiah did not rejoice with the men of Beth-shemesh when they saw the ark of the Lord, and he smote of them seventy men, and the people mourned, etc."

1 Samuel 6:20. Identifies the Ark with Yahweh. "Holy" here denotes terrible majesty, which brings disaster on those who do not show due reverence.

1 Samuel 6:21. Kiriath-jearim: see Joshua 9:17.

1 Samuel 7:1. sanctified: performed certain rites, ablutions, etc., which would be thought necessary to qualify Eleazar to become the custodian or priest of the Ark, and to protect him from its baleful holiness.—The Ark now disappears from the history till 2 Samuel 6:2, which see for its fortunes in the interval. Its presence in 1 Samuel 14:18 is due to a mistake of a scribe. Probably the sanctuary at Shiloh was destroyed at this time, and our documents contained a statement to that effect, which for some reason has been omitted (cf. Jeremiah 7:12*).


Verses 2-17

1 Samuel 7:2-17. Samuel as Judge.—Philistines subdued by Divine intervention; probably an ideal picture, by the Deuteronomic writer, of the happy results of Israel's repentance and Samuel's piety—peace, victory, and orthodoxy. The section is the typical form of the Deuteronomic accounts of the Judges—apostasy, oppression, repentance, deliverance. The statements that the Philistines ceased to invade Israel, and that the Israelites recovered the Philistine cities from Ekron to Gath, are inconsistent with the older narratives. On the other hand, the writer sees no difficulty in Samuel building an altar at Ramah, because his view was that the limitation of sacrifice to a central sanctuary did not come into force till Solomon built the Temple.

1 Samuel 7:2-4. The return of the Ark leads the people to repent; Samuel encourages them in this by promising deliverance if they worship Yahweh only.

1 Samuel 7:2. that the time . . . twenty years: probably these words should be omitted so that repentance immediately follows the return of the Ark.

1 Samuel 7:3. lamented: probably read "repented."

1 Samuel 7:3 f. Ashtaroth . . . Baalim: see Judges 2:11-13*.

1 Samuel 7:5-12. Samuel calls all Israel together at Mizpah, N. of Jerusalem (Judges 20:1), for fasting and confession; the Philistines suspect that the assembly has a warlike purpose, and advance to attack Israel; Samuel intercedes; Yahweh routs the Philistines by a thunderstorm (cf. Joshua 10:11); Israel pursues and slaughters; Samuel sets up a memorial stone, Eben-ezer, Stone of Help" (see 1 Samuel 4:1).

1 Samuel 7:6. water, etc.: cf. David at Adullam, 2 Samuel 23:16.

1 Samuel 7:12. Shen: "tooth," i.e. crag, but perhaps Jeshanah, 2 Chronicles 13:19, should be read with LXX: site unknown.

1 Samuel 7:13-17. Israel lives in complete peace under Samuel.

1 Samuel 7:16. Beth-el: Genesis 12:8.—Gilgal: Deuteronomy 11:30.

1 Samuel 7:17. Ramah: Joshua 18:25.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 7:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/1-samuel-7.html. 1919.

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