1 SAMUEL CHAPTER 2
The Wickedness of Eli's Sons.
HANNAH'S SONG OF THANKFULNESS. — V. 1. And Hannah prayed and said, in an exaltation of spirit brought about by the Holy Ghost, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord, said of vigorous courage and consciousness of power; my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies, being opened widely to praise the salvation of the Lord; because I rejoice in Thy salvation, in the merciful kindness which Jehovah had shown her. V. 2. There is none holy as the Lord; for there is none beside Thee, His holiness being the reflection of His majesty; neither is there any rock like our God, in whom the believers may always place their trust with firm confidence, Deut. 32, 4. 15. V. 3. Talk no more so exceeding proudly, these words being addressed to the godless, to the enemies of Jehovah; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth, anything which savors of impertinence against Jehovah; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, an omniscient God, and by Him actions are weighed, or, all His doing is weighed by Him, is right and true. V. 4. The bows of the mighty men are broken, all human power being helpless before Him, and they that stumbled are girded with strength, prepared for battle by virtue of their trust in Jehovah. V. 5. They that were full have hired out themselves for bread, having been reduced to the most pitiful straits; and they that were hungry ceased, receiving the food which they need by the mercy of God, so that the barren hath born seven, Ps. 113, 9; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble, having been bereaved of her children in her old age, Jer. 15, 9. V. 6. The Lord killeth and maketh alive, sending danger and distress, but also delivering those that trust in Him, Ps. 30, 3. 4; He bringeth down to the grave and bringeth up, extricating His children from deadly sorrow, from extreme misfortune, and placing them in safety and joy. V. 7. The Lord maketh poor and maketh rich, for in His hands are all the treasures of the world; He bringeth low and lifteth up. V. 8. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, from the deepest dishonor and disgrace, in which one is, as it were, trodden under foot, to set them among princes, on seats of honor, such as are occupied by the nobility, and to make them inherit the throne of glory, to hold the very opposite position of that which formerly was theirs; for the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, having been erected by Him and being held in place by His almighty power, and He bath set the world upon them, as the Creator and Sustainer of the world. V. 9. He will keep the feet of His saints, to guard them from tottering and falling, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness, deprived of the light of God's mercy; for by strength shall no man prevail; it is impossible for man, in his own might, to defy the storms of life. V. 10. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces for Jehovah will destroy and annihilate those who lift up their voices to challenge Him; out of heaven shall He thunder upon them, as a warning of the nearness of His judgment; the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and He shall give strength unto His King, to His Anointed, the future Messiah of Israel. and exalt the horn of His Anointed. The kingdom of Christ extends to the ends of the earth, which He will judge on the Last Day. Then the unbelievers, the godless, will be condemned to everlasting damnation, but the power of the Christ of God will be established throughout eternity. Thus the inspired song reached its wonderful climax. V. 11. And Elkanah, with his household, went to Ramah to his house. And the child, Samuel, did minister unto the Lord before Eli, the priest.
THE WICKED PRACTICES OF ELI'S SONS. — V. 12. Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial, worthless, profitless rascals; they knew not the Lord, they did not fear Him, they had no faith in Him. V. 13. And the priest's custom with the people was that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest's servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a flesh-hook of three teeth, a trident, or three-pronged fork, in his hand; v. 14. and he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the flesh-hook brought up the priest took for himself. That was the greedy conduct of the priests in the preparation of the sacrificial meal after the sacrifice proper had been brought. This manner of acting had already become the rule. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither, thus robbing the people and the Lord, instead of confining themselves to the wave-breast, the heave-shoulder, and certain other perquisites, Lev. 7, 28-36; Num. 18. V. 15. Also before they burned the fat, before the sacrifice proper, which included the fat, Lev. 3, 3-5, the priest's servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest, for they did not want boiled meat all the time; for he will not have sodden flesh of' thee, but raw, such as was still full of strength and juice. V. 16. And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, that is, he was about to have the fat of his offering burned, according to law, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he, the priests' servant, would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now; and if not, I will take it by force. These abuses had been introduced by Eli's sons in connection with the peace-offerings, with which a sacrificial meal was connected. V. 17. Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, it was an outrage equivalent to sacrilege; for men abhorred the offering of the Lord, they despised and blasphemed it as a form of graft in holy places. That is the height of corruption in the Church, when the servants of the sanctuary themselves are godless rascals, having only their temporal advancement in view, and thus give the enemies of the Lord occasion to blaspheme.
HANNAH BLESSED BY THE LORD. — V. 18. But Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod, a garment for the shoulders patterned after the ephod of the high priest, worn by all priests as a sign of their calling. V. 19. Moreover, his mother made him a little coat, an every-day garment, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice, a close connection thus being maintained between the home of the parents and the lad in the Tabernacle. V. 20. And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife and said, The Lord give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the Lord, or, instead of the begged one, Samuel, whom she begged from the Lord, in place of the gift which was asked for Jehovah. And they went unto their own home. V. 21. And the Lord visited Hannah once more in merciful goodness, so that she conceived and bare three sons and two daughters. That was the Lord's reward for her pious confidence in Him. And the child Samuel grew before the Lord, in wisdom and knowledge, which flowed from the fear of the Lord. That is a blessing of the Lord, when a boy, a young man, grows up in the fear of the Lord, increases in knowledge and in favor with God and men.
THE PROPHECY AGAINST ELI. — V. 22. Now Eli was very old and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel, as described above, and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, women who performed certain services in the court of the Tabernacle, Ex. 38, 8, so that the Sanctuary was desecrated by the sensual lusts of these men, by their seduction of the serving women. V. 23. And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? For I hear of your evil dealings by all this people, the report of the wickedness having been brought to him. V. 24. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear; ye make the Lord's people to transgress, for many took offense and followed the evil example set before them. V. 25. If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him, in case of transgressions between men, God, as the chief Judge, adjudicates the matter through the government instituted by Him; but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall intreat for him, in that case no man can act as intercessor. Notwithstanding, they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, to his mild reproaches, because the Lord would slay them, they had gone so far in willful sinning that they had become obdurate, they were on their way to perdition. V. 26. And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favor both with the Lord and also with men, this being noted here once more by way of effective contrast. V. 27. And there came a man of God, a prophet, unto Eli and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Did I plainly appear, reveal Myself, unto the house of thy father, Aaron, through his direct ancestor Ithamar, the son of Aaron, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house? V. 28. And did I choose him, rather, affirmatively, "I did choose him," Aaron, out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to offer upon Mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before Me, Ex. 28, 1. 4; Num. 16, 5; 18, 1. 7. And did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel? Lev. 2, 3. 10; 6, 16. V. 29. Wherefore kick ye at My sacrifice and at Mine offering, treading them under foot, which I have commanded in My habitation, in the Tabernacle (this was done by the contemptuous, blasphemous behavior of the priests), and honorest thy sons above Me, by not taking an energetic stand against them, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel, My people, by taking all the choicest parts of the sacrificial animals? V. 30. Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house and the house of thy father should walk before Me forever, in performing the service of priests; for the; fact that Eli, of the family of Ithamar, was high priest at this time, was only a temporary arrangement, the descendants of Phinehas probably lacking the energy needed for the office at that time. But now the Lord saith, Be it far from Me; for them that honor Me I will honor, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed, covered with contempt and shame. V. 31. Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, the word here standing for might, power, influence, authority, and the arm of thy father's house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house, as long as the family existed, none of its members would reach a ripe old age. V. 32. And thou shalt see an enemy in My habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel, he would, so far as his own family was concerned, see distress and affliction for the inhabitants of the Tabernacle in all the blessings which the Lord would show His people, since they would not share in the national prosperity and the consequent rejoicing; and there shall not be an old man in thine house forever. V. 33. And the man, the descendant, of thine whom I shall not cut off from Mine altar shall be to consume thine eyes and to grieve thine heart; and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age. So there would always be a descendant of the house of Eli serving at the Tabernacle, to be a witness of the decay of the true worship, thus being consumed with anxiety and worry over the fate of the Tabernacle. V. 34. And this shall be a sign unto thee, an earnest of the fulfilment of His threat, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die both of them. That is the invariable consequence, when parents hold their peace at the sins of their children or venture only a faint objection, omit reproof and correction, love or fear their children more than God. V. 35. And I will raise Me up a faithful priest that shall do according to that which is in Mine heart and in My mind, one upon whom He could rely absolutely, and who would perform all his work exactly in the manner most pleasing to the Lord. And I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before Mine Anointed forever. This is a prophecy of Christ, who is Priest and King in one person. V. 36. And it shall come to pass that every one that is left in thine house shall come and crouch to him, in the position of a suppliant, with bended knee, for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and shall say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests' offices that I may eat a piece of bread. He who takes his refuge to Messiah, the great Priest-king, confessing the need brought upon him by reason of his sinfulness, will find in Him grace and mercy and peace without end.