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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

1 Samuel 1

Verses 1-28

Samuel the Seer

In Samuel we have a deep stretch of condescension God in communion with the life of a child.

I. Was he a miracle this little Samuel? No in the view characteristic of the Bible he is the real and normal aspect of humanity. All seers of God's kingdoms have seen it by the light of their childhood. We do not drop our childhood when we become men, we carry it with us into the life of men. Every sage bears within his bosom a little Samuel an instinctive child life which concludes without reasoning, adores without arguments, worships without symbols, prays without words. The man who listens to this voice is a prophet of the kingdom.

II. There are two things about Samuel's illumination which are very prominent, and which seem to be typical of religious illumination in general.

( a ) The call of Samuel does not come to him as a call from heaven, but as a voice from earth. The voice of God has assumed the accents of a man. Our deepest impressions of spiritual things come to us indirectly. It is not by a voice from heaven that a man believes himself to be in the presence of God; it is by the blending of earthly voices.

( b ) From the moment in which he recognized the real origin of the message, he perceived it to be something which would disturb the calm of his life. It brought not peace, but a sword. Although the case of Samuel is an accentuated one, the call of duty is nearly always a struggle. The very idea of duty implies restraint.

III. There were three great functions in the Jewish nation whose simultaneous existence was contemporary with the life of Samuel the Prophet, the Priest, and the King.

( a ) The Priest is the representative of the past. He exists as a salve to the pains of memory.

( b ) The King represents the present. He exists to guide the hand at the actual hour.

( c ) The Prophet is the representative of the future. He exists to tell not merely of forthcoming events, but of eternal principles. And therefore it is that the organ of the prophetic life is ever the spirit of the child. Childhood is the time that looks forward.

G. Matheson, The Representative Men of the Bible, p. 239.

References. I. 16. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxvi. No. 1515. I. 20, 21. Williams, Characters of the Old Testament, p. 160. I. 22. J. Keble, Village Sermons on the Baptismal Service, p. 292. II. 1. H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, Sunday Lessons for Daily Life, p. 37. II. 2. F. Corbett, The Preacher's Year, p. 115. II. 3. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxix. No. 1736.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 1". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/1-samuel-1.html. 1910.