1 Samuel
Introduction 1 Expressions of joy 2 No One Can Be Compared with the LORD 3 The LORD Is Omniscient 4-5 The rollers are turned over 6-9 The Omnipotence of the LORD 10 The King and Anointed of the LORD 11-17 Samuel and the Sons of Eli 18 Samuel Serves the Lord 19-21 Growth 22-25 Eli rebukes his sons 26 Samuel Grows in Stature 27-29 A Man of God Comes to Eli 30-34 Judgment on Eli’s house 35 God Provides a Faithful Priest 36 The Remnant of Eli’s House
Introduction

After the prayer of Hannah as supplication in the previous chapter, we now hear a prayer of her as worship and prophecy. It is not so much about the little Samuel, but about Christ (verse 1010“Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered;
Against them He will thunder in the heavens,
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
And He will give strength to His king,
And will exalt the horn of His anointed.”
). This is how the prayer must be for each of our children. It is not about their social prosperity, but whether Christ will be seen in them.

As mentioned earlier, Hannah’s prayer resembles the hymn of praise of Mary (Lk 1:46-5546And Mary said:
“My soul exalts the Lord,
47And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48“For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
49“For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
50“AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION
TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.
51“He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
He has scattered [those who were] proud in the thoughts of their heart.
52“He has brought down rulers from [their] thrones,
And has exalted those who were humble.
53“HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS;
And sent away the rich empty-handed.
54“He has given help to Israel His servant,
In remembrance of His mercy,
55As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and his descendants forever.”
). Both Hannah and Maria are examples of a faithful remnant in their time. Both of them feel deeply the decayed condition of God’s people. Both understand that no man, but only God, can change this. Both are prophetic songs and a great encouragement at the beginning of a history characterized by dark clouds. It is like the bow of hope in the clouds of the impending judgment.

The prayer can be subdivided into four parts:
1. Verses 1-31Then Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the LORD;
My horn is exalted in the LORD,
My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.2“There is no one holy like the LORD,
Indeed, there is no one besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.3“Boast no more so very proudly,
Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth;
For the LORD is a God of knowledge,
And with Him actions are weighed.
. Hannah sings of the God of salvation as the faithful, omnipotent, omniscient God. She speaks of “our” God (verse 22“There is no one holy like the LORD,
Indeed, there is no one besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.
).
2. Verses 4-54“The bows of the mighty are shattered,
But the feeble gird on strength.
5“Those who were full hire themselves out for bread,
But those who were hungry cease [to hunger].
Even the barren gives birth to seven,
But she who has many children languishes.
. Hannah speaks of the salvation she experienced and the degradation of the opponent.
3. Verses 6-8a6“The LORD kills and makes alive;
He brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7“The LORD makes poor and rich;
He brings low, He also exalts.
8“He raises the poor from the dust,
He lifts the needy from the ash heap
To make them sit with nobles,
And inherit a seat of honor;
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s,
And He set the world on them.
. The way in which salvation is experienced is that of death and resurrection.
4. Verses 8b-108“He raises the poor from the dust,
He lifts the needy from the ash heap
To make them sit with nobles,
And inherit a seat of honor;
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s,
And He set the world on them.
9“He keeps the feet of His godly ones,
But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness;
For not by might shall a man prevail.10“Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered;
Against them He will thunder in the heavens,
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
And He will give strength to His king,
And will exalt the horn of His anointed.”
. God leads everything to His purpose, the battle between good and evil is ended forever. Christ rules over the recreated earth.

The prayer of Hannah, in which she pours out the feelings of her heart after she has dedicated her son to the LORD, is a hymn of praise with a prophetic and Messianic character. It is a psalm as the ripe fruit of the Spirit of God. Hannah knows the destination of Israel to be a kingdom. She knows about the promises God has made to the fathers. She is filled with the desire for the fulfillment of the promises. In the spirit she sees the King Who the LORD will give to His people and by Whom He will give his people the dominion over the earth.


Expressions of joy

1Then Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the LORD;
My horn is exalted in the LORD,
My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.

The great prophetic perspective of this prayer begins with personal expressions of a woman’s soul exercises. She speaks of “my heart”, “my horn”, “my mouth”. From this personal experience she goes in the course of her hymn to the ends of the earth (verse 1010“Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered;
Against them He will thunder in the heavens,
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
And He will give strength to His king,
And will exalt the horn of His anointed.”
).

She prayed her first prayer in silence – only moved her lips (1Sam 1:1313As for Hannah, she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. So Eli thought she was drunk.) – to God Who also listens to what is said in secret. Now she opens her mouth wide to tell the wonderful things the LORD has done. She speaks from the abundance of her heart. Her heart rejoices not so much in the gift, Samuel, but in the LORD as the Giver. “My horn” indicates the power on which it rests as the precursor of the horn of the Anointed (verse 1010“Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered;
Against them He will thunder in the heavens,
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
And He will give strength to His king,
And will exalt the horn of His anointed.”
).

The first part of the verse (“hart”) and the third part (“mouth”) belong together. The mouth expresses what lives in the heart (Rom 10:1010for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.). Also the second part (“horn”) and the fourth part (“help”) belong together. The horn is a picture of strength. Her help lies in the strength of the LORD.


No One Can Be Compared with the LORD

2“There is no one holy like the LORD,
Indeed, there is no one besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.

After having expressed her own joy at what she has found in the LORD, she continues to speak only of Him. She rises above her own victories and is, as it were, completely seized by Who He is.

The first characteristic she sings of is His holiness. Holiness is a special feature of the God of Israel. No idol claims it.

Apart from Him there is no God. Only He is the uncreated, eternal God. Everything that is outside Him comes from Him. He is the origin of it. Nothing outside of Him has an existence apart from Him. “For by Him all things were created, [both] in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him” (Col 1:1616For by Him all things were created, [both] in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.).

Apart from Him there is no support, no source of salvation. Every sure and steady help is only present in Him. He is the only rock.


The LORD Is Omniscient

3“Boast no more so very proudly,
Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth;
For the LORD is a God of knowledge,
And with Him actions are weighed.

The second characteristic is His omniscience (Psa 139:1-41For the choir director. A Psalm of David.
O LORD, You have searched me and known [me].
2You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
3You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
4Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O LORD, You know it all.
). He sees not only the deeds, but also the thoughts and motives: “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb 4:1313And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.). He tests all deeds.

This is a consolation for Hannah and a warning for Peninnah to moderate her tone and pay attention to what she says. Over the head of Peninnah, Hannah speaks to the enemies of Israel and of God. She leaves the judgment to the LORD, Who will do perfect justice where there is still injustice.


The rollers are turned over

4“The bows of the mighty are shattered,
But the feeble gird on strength.
5“Those who were full hire themselves out for bread,
But those who were hungry cease [to hunger].
Even the barren gives birth to seven,
But she who has many children languishes.

All actions are controlled by God. The roles are reversed. He is behind the development of things. Only through His advice we can begin successfully, continue and complete a work. Everything He proposes and performs or allows to be performed, every action, every thought, everything is considered and weighed, perfectly harmonious and effective. Nothing is in vain or useless. Any result will confirm this.

Hannah sees in faith the result of the LORD’s actions. Through His intervention, the hero becomes powerless and the powerless is girded with power. This is also the case with those who are satisfied and those who are hungry; with those who are barren, and with those who are rich in children (Psa 113:99He makes the barren woman abide in the house
[As] a joyful mother of children.
Praise the LORD!
; Isa 54:1-61“Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no [child];
Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed;
For the sons of the desolate one [will be] more numerous
Than the sons of the married woman,” says the LORD.
2“Enlarge the place of your tent;
Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not;
Lengthen your cords
And strengthen your pegs.
3“For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left.
And your descendants will possess nations
And will resettle the desolate cities.
4“Fear not, for you will not be put to shame;
And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;
But you will forget the shame of your youth,
And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
5“For your husband is your Maker,
Whose name is the LORD of hosts;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
Who is called the God of all the earth.
6“For the LORD has called you,
Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
Even like a wife of [one’s] youth when she is rejected,”
Says your God.
).

This complete reversal of the roles will take place through the judgments preceding the empire of peace and in the kingdom of peace that immediately follows: “For after all it is [only] just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and [to give] relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire” (2Thes 1:6-76For after all it is [only] just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,7and [to give] relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,). Examples of this we see in the book of Esther, where the LORD humiliates Haman and raises Mordecai. We also see it in this book in His humbling of Saul and His exaltation of David.


The Omnipotence of the LORD

6“The LORD kills and makes alive;
He brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7“The LORD makes poor and rich;
He brings low, He also exalts.
8“He raises the poor from the dust,
He lifts the needy from the ash heap
To make them sit with nobles,
And inherit a seat of honor;
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s,
And He set the world on them.
9“He keeps the feet of His godly ones,
But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness;
For not by might shall a man prevail.

In these verses all is about the LORD, about what He does. Hannah looks beyond the death and the grave and points to the life and the resurrection. This is special in the Old Testament (Deu 32:39a39‘See now that I, I am He,
And there is no god besides Me;
It is I who put to death and give life.
I have wounded and it is I who heal,
And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.
). All blessings of the LORD are based on the death and resurrection of Christ. All who know that they are dead of themselves are given life in Him. They may know that they died and rose with Him. In the resurrection all the promises of God are fulfilled. Abraham also learned this and believed: “He considered that God is able to raise [people] even from the dead” (Heb 11:19a19He considered that God is able to raise [people] even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.).

The LORD hath made rich and poor, that men may be dependent on one another (Pro 22:22The rich and the poor have a common bond,
The LORD is the maker of them all.
). This also applies spiritually. Those who are rich, that is, those who know their spiritual riches, owe it to God. Those who are poor look up to God. To accept this distinction from the hand of God makes us grateful and content (cf. Jam 1:9-10a9But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position;10and the rich man [is to glory] in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away.). That preserves the rich for pride and the poor for discouragement. Rich and poor need each other. The distinction in the position we take is also made by God.

In the kingdom of peace God will show the great end results of His actions. Those who are now small and poor will then have a place of honor. Examples of this we see in Joseph who becomes a ruler of slave and prisoner (Gen 41:14,38-4414Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh.38Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?”39So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are.40You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.”41Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”42Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put the gold necklace around his neck.43He had him ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed before him, “Bow the knee!” And he set him over all the land of Egypt.44Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “[Though] I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”) and in Lazarus who is a beggar on earth, but in heaven gets a place in the womb of Abraham (Lk 16:20-2220And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores,21and longing to be fed with the [crumbs] which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.22Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.).

Hannah sings of Him as the Almighty. We see this in the way the LORD has founded the earth. The foundation or pillars upon which He has set the earth is His Word, for He upholds the universe “by the word of His power” (Heb 1:33And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,). The earth rests on foundations which bear the earth by the power which He gives it. If the foundations of the earth are His, the righteous has nothing to fear.

With the omnipotence which becomes manifest in the keeping of His creation, the LORD also keeps the foot of His godly ones. How could man’s power ever stand up to the omnipotence of that great God? He keeps the feet of His godly ones on the way to the inheritance He promised them, that they may not stumble or slip (Psa 116:88For You have rescued my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
My feet from stumbling.
; 121:33He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
). He keeps the inheritance for His godly ones and keeps His godly ones for the inheritance (1Pet 1:4-5a4to [obtain] an inheritance [which is] imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,5who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.). But from the wicked who oppress and persecute the righteous, God will take away the light of His grace, so that they may perish in darkness. The power of the wicked can do nothing against the omnipotence of God.


The King and Anointed of the LORD

10“Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered;
Against them He will thunder in the heavens,
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
And He will give strength to His king,
And will exalt the horn of His anointed.”

All rebellion against the LORD will be broken. He will let His thunder be heard in heaven over all His opponents. Thunder is the announcement that the LORD is coming to judge. When it thunders, man feels on an alarming way the presence of the almighty God. Thus the LORD clears the way by judgment to ground the kingdom of peace.

This empire covers the whole earth, to its ends. Then the LORD gives the government of this kingdom to “His king”. Hannah concludes her prayer with “His anointed”. That says as it were that the Anointed of God is God’s last word to man. “His king” and “His anointed” are none other than the Lord Jesus. About Him it is in this book (verse 3535But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed always.). Just as the name “LORD of hosts” is used for the first time by Hannah (1Sam 1:1111She made a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.”), there as a barren and sad woman, this is also the case with the name “anointed”, but now by a fruitful and happy woman.


Samuel and the Sons of Eli

11Then Elkanah went to his home at Ramah. But the boy ministered to the LORD before Eli the priest. 12Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the LORD 13and the custom of the priests with the people. When any man was offering a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand. 14Then he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. Thus they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15Also, before they burned the fat, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give the priest meat for roasting, as he will not take boiled meat from you, only raw.” 16If the man said to him, “They must surely burn the fat first, and then take as much as you desire,” then he would say, “No, but you shall give [it to me] now; and if not, I will take it by force.” 17Thus the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD, for the men despised the offering of the LORD.

Samuel is always called “boy”. That indicates the contrast with the adults around him. It also indicates that God begins something new with what is not deemed in the world. He hides His plans “from [the] wise and intelligent” and reveals “them to infants” (Mt 11:2525At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from [the] wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.).

The Spirit shows the development of the child Samuel into an adult man and servant in a religious and at the same time godless environment. That can only be God’s work. Samuel is formed in the hidden. He does not serve Eli before the LORD’s face, but he serves the LORD under Eli’s supervision. He may even be dependent in his very young years on the care of the women with whom Eli’s sons sleep.

Eli’s sons are “worthless men” or “children of Belial”, that is, they have nothing in common with Christ (2Cor 6:15a15Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?). In these two priests we see how external presence with God, without knowing Him, results in the worst deviation from Him. A holiness that is only external is the worst unholiness. Eli’s sons act as if there is no God. Their behavior caused men to despise the offering of the LORD and to no longer take heed of God’s precepts.

God has provided in the law for priests to receive their share of the peace offering (Lev 7:3434For I have taken the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the contribution from the sons of Israel from the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons as [their] due forever from the sons of Israel.). However, Eli’s sons are not satisfied with this. They don’t care about that. Not only do they take much more than they are entitled to, they take it even before God has received His share. It is a display of power and an expression of iniquity and arrogance of the coarsest kind.

Today we see that happening when the church takes away of the people belonging to God’s people what God is entitled to. We see it in church leaders who enrich themselves at the expense of the church people. In such a situation, people are needed who give God His part again as the first Rightsholder. Do we take the best for ourselves and should God settle for the leftovers?

Someone of the people who comes to sacrifice knows the law and speaks to these corrupt priests about it. He points out that the fat must first be sacrificed (Lev 3:3-5,163From the sacrifice of the peace offerings he shall present an offering by fire to the LORD, the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails,4and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, which is on the loins, and the lobe of the liver, which he shall remove with the kidneys.5Then Aaron’s sons shall offer [it] up in smoke on the altar on the burnt offering, which is on the wood that is on the fire; it is an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD.16The priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar [as] food, an offering by fire for a soothing aroma; all fat is the LORD’s.). The priest’s servant doesn’t care about this. He was given his command by the priest, and he followed it closely. That also gives him the most benefit. He even threatens with violence if the offeror does not give what the priest demands.

This performance gives a picture of the service to God that is considered a very great sin. The representatives of God present Him as a violent, greedy God. The result is that people no longer take the sacrifice so seriously. Here we can learn the lesson that a misrepresentation of Who God is will lead to a despising of the Lord Jesus and His work.


Samuel Serves the Lord

18Now Samuel was ministering before the LORD, [as] a boy wearing a linen ephod.

After the description of the wickedness of the priestly sons, we see here again the true servant. Although Samuel does not belong to the priestly family, he is the true priest. His purity in the impure surroundings comes to the fore. Samuel’s behavior contrasts sharply with that of Eli’s sons.

The linen ephod is a linen garment worn by priests (1Sam 22:1818Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn around and attack the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned around and attacked the priests, and he killed that day eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod.). David also wears it once, when he brings the ark to Zion (2Sam 6:1414And David was dancing before the LORD with all [his] might, and David was wearing a linen ephod.). David is a king-priest. Purity and priestly mind belong together. Samuel is not from Aaron’s family, but he lives in God’s presence and can pass on God’s thoughts as a prophet.


Growth

19And his mother would make him a little robe and bring it to him from year to year when she would come up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the LORD give you children from this woman in place of the one she dedicated to the LORD.” And they went to their own home. 21The LORD visited Hannah; and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew before the LORD.

When Elkanah and Hannah are going to make the annual sacrifice, Hannah always brings a little robe to Samuel. This means that his mother is busy with his growing. Every year she takes the right size with her. She knows his growth. Do we know the spiritual growth of our children? Parents must have something for every spiritual age.

Hannah is always busy with Samuel’s clothes. In the same way a mother is always busy forming the character of her children, especially by her example. The children see how she behaves, what she says and how she says something, and also what her dealings with the Lord are like. Thus children will become kind or rough, interested in the things of the Lord or indifferent to them in accordance with the example they have seen in the lives of their elders.

In the meantime Eli has understood that Elkanah and Hannah are people who are special to the LORD, because the LORD is special to them. He pronounces His blessing upon them. He will have done so now with more insight than before (1Sam 1:1717Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him.”). The family of Elkanah is increasing. Hannah gets a total of six children, a rich blessing. She gets more than what she prayed for. This is how God often acts.

Meanwhile Samuel grows before the LORD, that is, close to Him in the sanctuary and under His protection and blessing. If the heart is directed toward the Lord, as is the case with Samuel, we will grow spiritually “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2Pet 3:18a18but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him [be] the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.), even though the environment is still so ungodly.


Eli rebukes his sons

22Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 23He said to them, “Why do you do such things, the evil things that I hear from all these people? 24No, my sons; for the report is not good which I hear the LORD’s people circulating. 25If one man sins against another, God will mediate for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for the LORD desired to put them to death.

Eli’s sons are only out to satisfy their lusts. They seek the satisfaction of their belly (cf. Phil 3:19a19whose end is destruction, whose god is [their] appetite, and [whose] glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.). The step from physical satisfaction to the satisfaction of their sexual lusts is easily made. Those who cannot control themselves with food, often cannot control themselves in sexuality. Eli’s sons can no longer escape judgment after they have misbehaved themselves like this.

Eli admonishes his sons about their behavior, but his admonition comes too late. Partly because of his weak performance they have hardened their hearts. Now the time of conversion is over. Eli does not know the thoughts of God and therefore continues to act in his weak way. He's behind the facts.

The LORD had to make the decision to kill them. That decision is irrevocable because they irrevocably hold on to evil and despise every exhortation. It goes with Eli’s sons as it did with the pharaoh, who also first hardened his own heart (Exo 7:13,14,2213Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.14Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn; he refuses to let the people go.22But the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts; and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.; 8:15,19,3215But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.19Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.32But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.; 9:7,347Pharaoh sent, and behold, there was not even one of the livestock of Israel dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.34But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his servants.; 13:1515It came about, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore, I sacrifice to the LORD the males, the first offspring of every womb, but every firstborn of my sons I redeem.’) and whose heart is hardened by God afterwards (Exo 9:1212And the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses.; 10:1,20,271Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them,20But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go.27But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go.; 11:1010Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh; yet the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go out of his land.; 14:4,8,174Thus I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.” And they did so.8The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out boldly.17As for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.).


Samuel Grows in Stature

26Now the boy Samuel was growing in stature and in favor both with the LORD and with men.

If the spiritual darkness increases, the light of God shines the clearer. Samuel grows against the oppression. The LORD and men rejoice more and more the more they see of Samuel’s fear of God (cf. Lk 2:5252And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.). His life is a blessing for all who come into contact with him. It is striking how much he is different from Eli’s godless sons.


A Man of God Comes to Eli

27Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Did I [not] indeed reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt [in bondage] to Pharaoh’s house? 28Did I [not] choose them from all the tribes of Israel to be My priests, to go up to My altar, to burn incense, to carry an ephod before Me; and did I [not] give to the house of your father all the fire [offerings] of the sons of Israel? 29Why do you kick at My sacrifice and at My offering which I have commanded [in My] dwelling, and honor your sons above Me, by making yourselves fat with the choicest of every offering of My people Israel?’

An anonymous man of God is sent to Eli. When the man of God speaks of “the house of your father”, he means Aaron’s house. He opposes this to “Pharaoh’s house”, which is the house of slavery, where the people have served Pharaoh and his interests. With this he reminds Eli of his origins.

Then the man of God speaks of the electing grace of God that He called Aaron and his house to the priesthood. He also points to God’s gracious provisions for priests. Everything He has given makes their sin to want more and more a contempt for all those abundant gifts of God (cf. 2Sam 12:8-98I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if [that had been] too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!9Why have you despised the word of the LORD by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.).

The LORD holds Eli responsible for despising “My sacrifice and … My offering” because he did not act against his sons. In the accusation that Eli is being made, it is also said that he has feasted on to the best part of each grain offering. So much the actions of his sons are also attributed to him.

Although he has reprimanded his sons, indicating that he has insight into their wrongdoing, he has not stopped their wrongdoing. Eli’s lack of action has contributed to the contempt that the people have gotten for the sacrifice and service to the LORD. He has honored his sons more than the LORD. Every father has the danger of choosing for his son if he has to choose between his son and God. Let fathers follow the example of Abraham, who did not kindly ask his children, but commanded them “to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice” (Gen 18:1919For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.”).


Judgment on Eli’s house

30Therefore the LORD God of Israel declares, ‘I did indeed say that your house and the house of your father should walk before Me forever’; but now the LORD declares, ‘Far be it from Me—for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed. 31Behold, the days are coming when I will break your strength and the strength of your father’s house so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32You will see the distress of [My] dwelling, in [spite of] all the good that I do for Israel; and an old man will not be in your house forever. 33Yet I will not cut off every man of yours from My altar so that your eyes will fail [from weeping] and your soul grieve, and all the increase of your house will die in the prime of life. 34This will be the sign to you which will come concerning your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas: on the same day both of them will die.

To despise the sacrifice (verse 2929Why do you kick at My sacrifice and at My offering which I have commanded [in My] dwelling, and honor your sons above Me, by making yourselves fat with the choicest of every offering of My people Israel?’) is the same as to despise God. The consequences of this are serious. God cannot now give the promised (Jer 18:9-109Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant [it];10if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it.). Is God now returning to His promise and contradicting Himself? It cannot be and it is not.

God has promised Aaron’s house that it will always serve Him. Aaron had four sons. Two are killed by the LORD (Lev 10:1-21Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.2And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.). Of the two remaining, Ithamar and Eleazar, Eleazar succeeds Aaron. Eleazar is followed by Phinehas. That has become the line of the priesthood in Israel. However, something has been done – what that is, cannot be inferred from the Scriptures – by which the line of the priesthood has been transferred to Ithamar. Eli does not originate from the line of Eleazar, but from the line of Ithamar. By his unfaithfulness to the LORD, the promise made to Aaron is taken away from Ithamar.

The promise of a reliable priest will be fulfilled in Zadok (Eze 44:1515“But the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the sons of Israel went astray from Me, shall come near to Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer Me the fat and the blood,” declares the Lord GOD.), who becomes a high priest at the time of David. Zadok comes from the line of Eleazar (1Chr 6:3-83The children of Amram [were] Aaron, Moses and Miriam. And the sons of Aaron [were] Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.4Eleazar became the father of Phinehas, [and] Phinehas became the father of Abishua,5and Abishua became the father of Bukki, and Bukki became the father of Uzzi,6and Uzzi became the father of Zerahiah, and Zerahiah became the father of Meraioth,7Meraioth became the father of Amariah, and Amariah became the father of Ahitub,8and Ahitub became the father of Zadok, and Zadok became the father of Ahimaaz,). God always fulfill His promises in a way that shows He did it.

God will break the strength of Eli and his whole family. His offspring will die young. Eli will experience it in his time that the LORD’s dwelling will be in distress. He will experience this when the ark is captured by the Philistines (1Sam 4:10-1110So the Philistines fought and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent; and the slaughter was very great, for there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers.11And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.; Psa 78:59-6159When God heard, He was filled with wrath
And greatly abhorred Israel;
60So that He abandoned the dwelling place at Shiloh,
The tent which He had pitched among men,
61And gave up His strength to captivity
And His glory into the hand of the adversary.
). Later Shiloh is destroyed and the ark disappeared, captured by the enemies (Jer 7:1212“But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I made My name dwell at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel.; 26:66then I will make this house like Shiloh, and this city I will make a curse to all the nations of the earth.”‘“). The few years Eli will still be alive will be tormented by what is promised to him here. Always the thought of this judgment will occupy him. He will have no joy in his last years of life.

The man of God also tells him the death of both his sons. Here their names are mentioned. Phinehas bears the same name as a former family member. That member of the family, however, has behaved completely faithful to the LORD when sin has entered the people (Num 25:7-137When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he arose from the midst of the congregation and took a spear in his hand,8and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the body. So the plague on the sons of Israel was checked.9Those who died by the plague were 24,000.10Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,11“Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel in that he was jealous with My jealousy among them, so that I did not destroy the sons of Israel in My jealousy.12Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give him My covenant of peace;13and it shall be for him and his descendants after him, a covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the sons of Israel.’”). That Phinehas was the son of Eleazar.


God Provides a Faithful Priest

35But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed always.

After the announcements of judgment in the previous verses now follows a promise of the LORD. It is based on nothing but His own sovereign proposal. He Himself will appoint a faithful, reliable priest. Faithfulness contrasts sharply with the unfaithfulness of Eli and his sons.

First of all, we can apply that to Samuel. Then it is of application to Zadok, who will become a priest instead of Abjathar. Abjathar is the last descendant of Eli’s house. Solomon deprives him of the priesthood (1Kgs 2:26-2726Then to Abiathar the priest the king said, “Go to Anathoth to your own field, for you deserve to die; but I will not put you to death at this time, because you carried the ark of the Lord GOD before my father David, and because you were afflicted in everything with which my father was afflicted.”27So Solomon dismissed Abiathar from being priest to the LORD, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD, which He had spoken concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.). It is taken from Abjathar because he is in connection with Adonia who has proclaimed himself king (1Kgs 1:77He had conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest; and following Adonijah they helped him.), while Zadok does not participate in it (1Kgs 1:88But Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and the mighty men who belonged to David, were not with Adonijah.). Above all, it applies to the Lord Jesus as the King-Priest.

The “enduring house” is the house of David (1Sam 25:2828Please forgive the transgression of your maidservant; for the LORD will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD, and evil will not be found in you all your days.). The “anointed” often refers to the priest, but here it is the king according to God’s thoughts. The priest will stand before the anointed king. We see this in this book, where the emphasis is on the king after God’s heart. The priesthood is exercised in the presence of the kingship. The Lord Jesus is both. He is both King and Priest. In Him the kingship and priesthood unite completely. In Him it is as God intended.


The Remnant of Eli’s House

36Everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread and say, “Please assign me to one of the priest’s offices so that I may eat a piece of bread.”‘“

What this verse says we see in Abjathar, who will serve David (1Sam 22:2020But one son of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David.; 23:99Now David knew that Saul was plotting evil against him; so he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.”; 30:77Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, “Please bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David.). He represents all those who escape judgment. They will depend on the grace of the new priest. They will appeal to that grace.


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