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1Sa 1:1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name [was] Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite:
Samuel was in the number of those few in Scripture, that lived and died with glory. His birth, life, and acts take up a great part of this book, which seemeth to have been written by some disciple of his, who, in honour of his master, called it by his name. Like Anna Comnena, daughter of Alexius Comnenus the Emperor, wrote the history of her father’s deeds and called it Alexias.
Ver. 1. Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim. ] Called also Ramah, and Arimathaea. The Hebrews a say it was a school of prophets, who are frequently in Scripture called Zophim, that is, watchmen, and that Elkanah himself was a prophet, as being of the sons of Korah, who are called prophets. See 1Ch 6:22 ; 1 Chronicles 6:27 ; 1 Chronicles 6:33 , compared with those titles of Psalms "to" or "of the soils of Korah." Of that gainsaying "sinner against his own soul," came Samuel, Homo ille virtute simillimus.
An Ephrathite. ] So called, because he dwelt in the tribe of Ephraim, as Judges 12:5 ; likeas those Jews are called Cretes and Arabians, Elamites and Parthians, &c., Act 2:9-10 because they sojourned in those countries.
a Chald. Paraph., Kimchi, Ben-Gerson.
1Sa 1:2 And he had two wives; the name of the one [was] Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
Ver. 2. And he had two wives. ] Polygamy was ever a sin, though in the patriarchs and ancient saints, a sin of ignorance. "It was not so from the beginning." Mat 19:8 Mal 2:15 Lamech, of the cursed seed of Cain, first brought it in: but his second wife Zillah was but the shadow of a wife, a as her name also signifieth. And although before the law given by Moses, polygamy is not reprehended; yet in Lev 18:18 it is flatly forbidden, "Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister," or one wife to another, "to vex her," as here Peninnah did Hannah. This passage good Elkanah and those other ancients mistook, as it is thought, by taking the word "sister" for one so by blood, which was spoken of a sister by neighbourhood, or by nation as those phrases "to vex her," and "during her life," do evince.
a Quomodo Menander, φιλου σκιαν , dixit.
1Sa 1:3 And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, [were] there.
Ver. 3. To worship and to sacrifice, ] viz., Peace offerings. The Rabbis here observe that to worship or pray is better than to sacrifice; because it is first named.
And the two sons of Eli … the priests of the Lord.] These were learned and lewd; Multi sacerdotes, pauci sacerdotes, saith Chrysostom: a There are many priest in name, but few that are right. I do not believe that there many priests, saith he, that shall be saved.
a Multi in nomine, pauci in opere. - Hom. 3, in Act.
1Sa 1:4 And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:
Ver. 4. And when the time was that Elkanah offered. ] He did not forbear to offer, because the priests were wicked and slubbering, as some weak ones did, 1Sa 2:17 abhorring God’s sacrifice for their sakes: wherein they are said to have transgressed, even to a cry.
1Sa 1:5 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.
Ver. 5. But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion. ] Heb., A gift of the face; partem spectabilem; a choice dainty piece, such as a man might well set before his best guests, as looking better than any of the rest.
For he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb.] For an allay to his love: God is wise and jealous. Piscator rendereth it, "He loved Hannah, although the Lord had shut up her womb": that was no stop to his love.
1Sa 1:6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.
Ver. 6. And her adversary also provoked her sore. ] Aemula eius: num ita vocantur uxores digamorum Lev 18:18 Peninnah, her corival, an insolent spiteful creature, vexatious, as the Hebrew word signifieth, and violent. a
For to make her fret. ] Or, To make her to thunder, and cause a rattle in the house, by chiding and chafing. Peninnah provoked her on purpose, and for that purpose: this was an aggravation of her sin, as it is likewise of theirs that put a word out on purpose to enrage, vex, disgrace, or discountenance another. Piscator rendereth it, Propterea quid intonabat, because she, that is, Peninnah, thundered, that is, impetuously railed, and reproached her with her barrenness. This was to add affliction to the afflicted; which is greatest inhumanity.
1Sa 1:7 And [as] he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.
Ver. 7. And as he did so year by year. ] His kindness to her thus continued, stirreth up the spirit of petulant Peninnah, whom he could not silence, to upbraid her with her barrenness, thereby boasting of her own fruitfulness, no otherwise than if she had it of herself, and not from the Lord.
When she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her. ] Then she provoked her, when she might do her most mischief - viz., at the very time of praying and offering sacrifice to the Lord, when she should have been most cheerful and free from all disquietment. And withal it implieth, saith a grave expositor, a that she upbraided her with the fruitlessness of her seeking to God so earnestly at those times for a child. Peter Martyr telleth us of some who, by Peninnah’s provoking of her, understand her urging of her to pray to God, who only hath power to make a woman fruitful. But if Peninnah put Hannah upon her prayer, it was merely by accident: as she that called Monica, Augustine’s mother, Meribibula, by way of reproach, made her more cautious and abstinent.
a Mr. Jackson.
1Sa 1:8 Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? [am] not I better to thee than ten sons?
Ver. 8. Hannah, why weepest thou? ] Children should not be desired too passionately, because they are certain cares, but uncertain comforts. Sir Thomas Moore’s wife was mightily desirous of "a boy, " - that was her word, - and she had one that proved a fool: and saith her husband, You were never quiet till you had a boy ; and now you have one that will be all his life a boy .
Am not I better to thee than ten sons? ] Than those ten sons of Peninnah, saith Lyra, following the Hebrews.
1Sa 1:9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD.
Ver. 9. So Hannah rose up. ] Fasting as she was - not in ease to eat, because in heaviness; compare Leviticus 10:19 , - she rose up to go to the place of worship and prayer, over against the most holy place. See 1 Samuel 1:15 ; 1 Samuel 1:18 .
Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat. ] Without the tabernacle; for within it, sacerdotibus neque edere neque sedere licebat, saith Vatablus, the priests might neither eat nor sit.
1Sa 1:10 And she [was] in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.
Ver. 10. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed. ] Herein she took a right course to get comfort. So did David, Psa 109:4 and Paul, 1Co 4:13 "being defamed we pray." If she should have rendered to Peninnah railing for railing, there would have been somewhat to do. Prayer and patience are the best antidotes against contempt and contumelies; the one hot, the other cold; the one quickening, the other quenching.
And wept sore. ] Prayers and tears are the saints’ best weapons; Bombardae et instrumenta bellica Christianorum, saith Luther, their great guns, and their scaling ladders.
1Sa 1:11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.
Ver. 11. And she vowed a vow. ] Not without the consent of her husband, 1Sa 1:22 who else had power to vacate and disannul it. Num 30:8 A vow is a binding of one’s self to God by a holy and religious promise, to do or not to do something that is lawful, possible, and useful for our increase in godliness. This promise is to be made with prayer, and paid with thanksgiving.
And remerber me, and not forget thine handmaid. ] This was a masculine prayer; though made by a woman; and the same request thus repeated, argueth her fervency.
Then I will give him unto the Lord. ] He shall be a Diodat, a Nazarite, extraordinarily devoted to God’s service.
1Sa 1:12 And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.
Ver. 12. And she continued praying. ] Heb., Multiplied to pray; as resolved not to give over her suit. Prayer, like those arrows of deliverance, should be multiplied. Luk 18:1 Misericordiam extorquemas, said those primitive Christians. We wring out of God’s holy hands that mercy which he with an unwilling willingness withholdeth for a while, that we may be the more importunate.
Eli marked her mouth. ] Saw her lips walk with a strange unusual motion and writhing: but heard no voice, and thereupon misjudged her. Of Dr Gabriel Nele, Bartolus reporteth, a that by the motion of the lips only, without any utterance, he understood all men: yea, that he could read their thoughts in their looks. Whether he could or not, - which I much question, - old Eli it seems could not.
a Lib. i. De Ver. Oblig.
1Sa 1:13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.
Ver. 13. She spake in her heart. ] Vocis egit silentio ut corde clamaret, as Augustine saith of Moses. Exo 14:4-5 Non vex sed votum.
Therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. ] Here was devotion misconstrued. So was it in those good souls that were puriores caelo, as Chrysostom saith; Act 2:13 in those ancient martyrs, whose constancy was counted obstinacy; a and in those modern martyrs, who were said to be actuated by the spirits of the buttery, and to go drunken to the stake. b
a Tertul., Apolog.
b Act. and Mon., 1653.
1Sa 1:14 And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.
Ver. 14. How long wilt thou be drunken? ] Eli sat there for the purpose to see good order observed: and seeing Hannah’s strange and uncouth gestures, knowing also that she was newly risen from a feast, he suspected that all was not well.
Put away thy wine from thee. ] Go, sleep out thy drunkenness, and this alienation of thy mind, caused by a too liberal use of wine, which thou shouldst rather do, quam ut turpiter eructes coram Iehovah, than do on this sort.
1Sa 1:15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I [am] a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.
Ver. 15. No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit. ] She was also a woman of a meek and quiet spirit, as appeareth by this mild answer. She doth indeed roundly defend her own innocency, but setteth not up her note at him as a false accuser, neither biddeth him look better to those drunken whoremasters, his own sons - as many an impudent dame would have done, and as Augustus upon the bench was twitted with the disorders of his own family, - but giveth the high priest good words - which St Paul scarce did, - and Act 23:5 seeketh to satisfy him by such good reasons as well showed that she was sober enough.
But have poured out my soul before the Lord. ] This is a just description of effectual fervent prayer. Jam 5:16 See Psalms 62:8 ; Psalms 142:2 Lamentations 2:19 . Saints unbosom and unbowel themselves before the Lord with much freedom and affiance.
1Sa 1:16 Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.
Ver. 16. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial. ] That is, Of the devil, as all drunkards are confessedly. Behemoth lieth in the fens, Job 40:21 which Gul. Parisiensis applieth to the devil dwelling in drunken hearts. See Luke 11:24 . Oh that our carousers were persuaded, as Mohammed told his followers, that in every grape there dwelt a devil!
For out of the abundance of my complaint and grief. ] Not of wine, or any other inebriating liquor, whereof the Italians, besides wine, have many sorts: the most delicious they blasphemously call Lachrymae Christi. If Hannah were drunk at all, it was with her own tears, which she, poor soul, had drunk in great abundance.
1Sa 1:17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant [thee] thy petition that thou hast asked of him.
Ver. 17. Go in peace. ] Take no further anxious care about this business; but cast thy burden, or thy request, upon the Lord, who will surely grant it. And thou shalt be sure of my prayers to that purpose. This was a good amends for his former uncharitableness.
1Sa 1:18 And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more [sad].
Ver. 18. Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. ] Ineam tecum hanc gratiam ut pro me ores. Oh that I might be so happy as to have the benefit of thy prayers for me still! Herein I recommend myself to thy fatherly favour and goodwill.
So the woman went away, and did eat. ] She took the high priest’s answer as an oracle, and was comforted by a sweet motion of the Holy Ghost, met by a motion of her own mind, resting in that comfort, as unfailable because proceeding from faith unfeigned.
And her countenance was no more sad. ] Vultum vocat faciem illam vultuosam: she was blithe and cheery. God’s children use to pray down their distempers, as David oft.
1Sa 1:19 And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her.
Ver. 19. And they rose up in the morning early. ] That so they might come home in due time: for they had ten miles to go. a
And worshipped before the Lord. ] This whet they held no hinderance in their journey, but a furtherance rather, and as oil to the wheels. It is good to go in God’s name.
And the Lord remembered her. ] Her prayers that were on the file before him.
a H. Bunting.
1Sa 1:20 Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, [saying], Because I have asked him of the LORD.
Ver. 20. That she bare a son. ] A singular son, Quem Deus immortalis nasci voluit ut esset in quo virtus per omnes numeros hominibus efficaciter se ostenderet, a whom God would have [to be] born for a pattern of piety.
And called his name Samuel, ] i.e., Asked of God; sent me as a return of prayer, and therefore the more dear unto me: -
“ Quoniam charissima semper
Munera sunt, Author quae preciosa facit. ”
a Sic de Scipione, Val. Max.
1Sa 1:21 And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.
Ver. 21. And his vow. ] Made first by his wife, and afterwards owned and ratified by himself. And perhaps he vowed something now to God, though it be not said what, besides the child, to show his thankfulness.
1Sa 1:22 But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, [I will not go up] until the child be weaned, and [then] I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.
Ver. 22. I will not go up until the child be weaned. ] She knew herself not bound to go up, because she was a woman, and her husband a Levite. Now also she was a mother, and had a child to nurse. Nightingales are silent when once they have hatched their eggs, as if then all their care were for their young ones.
1Sa 1:23 And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.
Ver. 23. Do what seemeth thee good. ] Wives must be gratified in their lawful and reasonable requests.
Only the Lord establish. ] Perfect what he hath begun.
1Sa 1:24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child [was] young.
Ver. 24. With three bullocks. ] One for sacrifice, 1Sa 1:25 and the other two for the use of the priests, who lived of the oblations. Let ministers be liberally maintained.
1Sa 1:25 And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.
Ver. 25. And brought the child to Eli. ] Not without a gratuity, that he might have the more care of the child.
1Sa 1:26 And she said, Oh my lord, [as] thy soul liveth, my lord, I [am] the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD.
Ver. 26. As thy soul liveth. ] As sure as thou art alive. Her heart was full, her tongue fluent, in mentioning God’s mercy.
1Sa 1:27 For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:
Ver. 27. For this child I prayed. ] A child of many prayers cannot easily miscarry.
1Sa 1:28 Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.
Ver. 28. Therefore also I have lent him. ] Or, Returned him whom I have obtained by petition unto the Lord. So did Hunter the martyr’s mother: a and Mr Bradford begged of his mother to do the like. b The stork is said to leave one of her young ones where she hatcheth.
a Act. and Mon., 1397.
b Ibid., 1504.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 1". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent