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the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 3

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 1

See the margin reference note. Josephus says that Samuel’s call to the prophetic office happened when he had just completed his twelfth year (compare Luke 2:42).

Was precious - (or rare) The song of Hannah, and the prophecy of the “man of God” (1 Samuel 2:27 note), are the only instances of prophecy since Deborah. Samuel is mentioned as the first of the series of prophets Acts 3:24.

No open vision - Better rendered, “There was no vision promulgated or published.” (Compare 2 Chronicles 31:5.)

Verse 2

The passage should be rendered thus: “And it came to pass at that time that Eli was sleeping in his place; and his eyes had begun to grow dim; he could not see. And the lamp of God was not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was; and the Lord called Samuel, etc.” Eli’s old age and dimness of sight is probably mentioned as the reason why Samuel thought Eli had called him. Being a blind and feeble old man, he was likely to do so if he wanted anything, either for himself, or for the service of the temple.

Verse 7

Did not yet know the Lord - i. e. in His supernatural communication, as follows at the end of the verse. The text rendering of this verse is better than that of the margin.

Verse 10

A personal presence, not a mere voice, or impression upon Samuel’s mind, is here distinctly indicated. (Compare Genesis 12:7 note; Revelation 1:1; Revelation 22:16.)

Verse 11

More accurately, “the which whosoever heareth both his ears shall tingle.” This expressive phrase occurs again twice (marginal references) with reference to the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. It is remarkable that Jeremiah repeatedly compares the destruction of Jerusalem with the destruction of Shiloh (Jeremiah 7:12, Jeremiah 7:14; Jeremiah 26:6, Jeremiah 26:9; Compare Psalms 78:60-64).

Verse 12

When I begin ... - literally, as in the margin: meaning, I will go through with the performance from first to last.

Verse 13

Made themselves vile - Rather, “have cursed themselves,” i. e. brought curses upon themselves.

He restrained them not - In the sense of punishing. He did not remove them from their office, which he ought to have done.

Verse 14

See the marginal references. The sin of the sons of Eli could not be purged by the appointed sacrifices of the Law. In blessed contrast with this declaration is the assurance of the New Testament 1 John 1:7; Acts 13:39.

Verse 15

Opened the doors - We learn thus incidentally the nature of some of Samuel’s duties. This duty was quite Levitical in its character. In the interval between Josh and David, when the tabernacle was stationary for the most part, it may have lost something of its “tent” character, and among other changes have had doors instead of the hanging.

Samuel feared to show Eli the vision - Here was Samuel’s first experience of the prophet’s cross: the having unwelcome truth to divulge to those he loved, honored, and feared. Compare the case of Jeremiah Jeremiah 15:10; Jeremiah 17:15-18; Jeremiah 20:7-18.

Verse 18

It is the Lord ... - Compare the devout submission of Aaron Leviticus 10:3, and of Hezekiah 2 Kings 20:19. And, for the highest conceivable submission to the will of God, compare Luke 22:42.

Verse 20

From Dan ... - See Judges 20:1 note.

Verse 21

The state described in 1 Samuel 3:7 was henceforth reversed. Samuel now knew the Lord, and the Word of the Lord was revealed unto him.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/1-samuel-3.html. 1870.
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