1 Samuel 2

In this chapter the song of Hannah is recorded, #1Sa 2:1-10, and an account is given of the return of Elkanah and Hannah to their own home, and of the care she took yearly to provide a coat for Samuel, and of her being blessed with many other children, and of the growth and ministry of Samuel before the Lord, #1Sa 2:11,18-21,26, and of the wickedness of the sons of Eli, #1Sa 2:12-17, and of Eli's too gentle treatment of them when he reproved them for it, #1Sa 2:22-25 and of a sharp message sent him from the Lord on that account, threatening destruction to his house, of which the death of his two sons would be a sign, #1Sa 2:27-36. (Gill)

Though she had left her first born son at the house of the Lord, only to see him one time a year, Hannah's prayer here is one from an overflowing heart of gratitude for the goodness of God. She remembers her vow, and thanks the Lord for answering her plea.

How many have I met who make a vow to the Lord, and then if the vow works out, they forget their end of the vow. Then go on as though there were no agreement with the Lord. I am afraid that all of us have done that at one time or another. If so, we need the Lord to remind us of missed vows, and then give us the grace to go back and make them right.

In chapter one, we saw Hannah's distress, her vow and the Lord's answer. She finds her joy in the Lord by laying out her complaint before the Lord, and before she had her desire fulfilled by the Lord. Her adversary exposed her inner most problem, and when the problem was dealt with, the Lord gave her her hearts desire.

Notice Hannah's song:

I. Prayed and said... Her prayer was silent, but her rejoicing was said. We should keep our "bitter complaint" between us and the Lord, but our rejoicing should be loud enough that all know about God's goodness.

II. My heart rejoiceth... 1:25-18, through prayer, she found her joy. Thus, prayer enabled Hannah to place everything in the Lord's hands, and her countenance was no more sad. Her heart rejoices in the Lord, not in man. She thankfully, readily and gladly confessed that her blessing, answered prayer, came from God.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

III. mine horn is exalted in the Lord: Here is a strange custom we know nothing about, but should as we study Scripture.

Allusion is here made to a peculiarity in the dress of Eastern women about Lebanon, which seems to have obtained anciently among the Israelite women, that of wearing a tin or silver horn on the forehead, on which their veil is suspended. Wives, who have no children, wear it projecting in an oblique direction, while those who become mothers forthwith raise it a few inches higher, inclining towards the perpendicular, and by this slight but observable change in their headdress, make known, wherever they go, the maternal character which they now bear. (JFB)

Her reputation is saved and raised by having a son, and she gives God all the credit. See Psalms 127. I do not believe she is exalting herself over her adversary, which would not fit the context of Hannah. Rather, she is "boasting in the Lord" — that is, in what the Lord has done for her.

My mouth is enlarged, i.e. opened wide, to pour forth abundant praises to God, and to give a full answer to all the reproaches of mine adversaries; whereas before it was shut through grief and confusion.
Over mine enemies, i.e. more than theirs, or so as to get the victory over them, as she saith afterwards. Here she manifests her great prudence, and piety, and modesty, that she doth not name Peninnah, but only her enemies in the general. (Poole)

V. Because I rejoice... Her rejoicing was not over the good and perfect gift God gave, a son, but because I rejoice in thy salvation. She rejoiced not in the gift, but in the giver.

Anyone can rejoice in whatever situation or circumstance they find themselves. How? Because our rejoicing is in thy salvation. It is not in circumstances.

Hannah lists several things worth rejoicing about, none of which have any real dealings with answered prayer. What if we do not get our prayers answered? Do we lose our joy. If it is answered prayer that brings about joy, then we have no joy without answers. If it is salvation that brings about joy, then we can have joy all the time. Though the prayer is after the birth of Samuel, there is no mention of his birth as the cause of joy. All the joy is wrapped up in the Lord and his goodness.

Vv. 2-10.

Rejoice because:

A. None holy as the Lord. There is no unrighteousness in him, and his ways are always right.

Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

The pope's title, His Holiness is blasphemy.

God's holiness is shown in his government of his kingdom in his grace.

B. There is none beside thee...

Deuteronomy 4:35 Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him. 4:39 Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else. 9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

Deuteronomy, as well as Hannah's psalm, is given in the context of false gods as worshiped by the surrounding pagans. Those gods were and are nothing – less than nothing.

Psalms 100:3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Obviously, he alone knows what is best for us.

C. Rock like our God.

Deuteronomy 32:31 For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.

Our sure foundation is our Lord. See Matthew 7:24ff.

V. 2. Our God is holy, doing what is right and best for us in every situation. The many false gods of this world cannot be compared to him, for they are nothing, and hold no promise. The are clouds without rain:

Proverbs 25:14 Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.

(k) Which have an outward appearance, and are nothing within. (Geneva)

The false gods of our day – the state, higher education, money – promise many things, yet deliver nothing.

Our God alone is the firm foundation upon which we can build.

Based upon v. 2, we must come to:

V. 3. Put away pride. God's holiness should silence the wicked, and humble the proud. God of knowledge... He not only knows what is best for us, he knows what is in every heart:

Jeremiah 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

The Lord knows the heart of all men, and he judges in righteousness and holiness according to what is found in the heart.

By him actions are weighed. He is always the standard of comparison, and he is holy, v. 2.

V. 4. The strength of the mighty is weakness compared to our God:

Psalms 37:15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. 17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous. 46:9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.

2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

V. 5. Barren hath born... She talks of being happy or content in the Lord first. She does not say, "I rejoice in my seven children and that my adversary has waxed feeble." Rather, "I rejoice in thy salvation", and then all of these things.

V. 6. The Lord:
killeth and maketh alive
bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up
maketh poor, and maketh rich
bringeth low, and lifteth up
raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the begger to sit among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory
The Lord will keep the feet of his saints (in light), and the wicked shall be silent in darkness.

Then she gives probably the sum total of Scriptural teaching with v. 10:

for by strength shall no man prevail.

The Lord breaks his adversaries (it does not say, "our adversaries).
The Lord will thunder from heaven upon his adversaries.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth.
The Lord gives strength to his ordained ruler.

V. 8. The Lord's power and authority to preform the above is the pillars of the earth are his, upon which he established the world. In other words, he made and established it all, and he will control events as pleases him.

Obviously, we cannot say to the Lord, "Why do you have me here. Why are you allowing these things to happen...?"

Rather, we should be saying, "Here I am Lord. I have been bought with a price. Do with me as you and with history as you see fit."

V 11. Hannah's husband took his family home, leaving Samuel at the house of the Lord. Again, his age here seems to be old enough to understand and carry out duties in the tabernacle.

V. 12. Hophni and Phinehas, Eli's sons, knew not the Lord... They did not fear the Lord, and did not trouble themselves about him. Thus, no matter one's professed "love for the Lord," if he does not fear the Lord enough to follow, or obey, him, they knew not the Lord.

Vv. 13, 14. God's law concerning the sacrifice has been laid aside for custom. When every man does what is right in his own eyes, even the church is overrun with custom instead of the Word of God. God assigned the portion to the priests (Leviticus 7:29-34), which seems better to me than what custom claimed for them.

Vv. 15, 16. The law required the fat portions of the sacrifice in the altar-fire for the Lord. Leviticus 3:3-5. However, before this was done, the priest's servant came and demanded the fresh meat before the Lord's portion was offered. If the offerer protested that the Lord's was to receive his portion first, the servant would threaten him. Thus, taking the flesh of the sacrifice and roasting it before the offering was made was defined as a crime.

V. 17. This sin of the young men was very great before the Lord. Their evil actions caused men to dread making the offerings required of them by the Lord.

Thus, we have some serious implications here:

1) knowing and not doing is a serious sin. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22.

2) the priests' belly was their god, for their chief desire was to please their belly: For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. Romans 16:18 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) Philippians 3:19

3) These sons were gluttons. They were ruled by their appetites. Gluttony and drunkenness are identified together:

Deuteronomy 21:20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

V. 18. Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child... A child can serve the Lord. Notice that this was before the Lord called him. He is here because his parents placed him here. A child needs to be faithful in the house of God even before he or she can make that decision.

V. 19. His parents bore the expense of his being at the House of the Lord.

Vv. 20, 21. Though Eli was far short of what was required of him, he still blessed Elkanah and his wife, and his blessing stood. The Lord gave Hannah 5 more children.

Vv. 22-25. Eli's sons were doing wickedly, and Eli heard about it from the people. Rather than chastize them or at least remove them from the offices they held around the tabernacle, he simply mildly rebuked them. He pointed out to them that if they sinned against another man, they could get someone to judge, or arbitrate, entreat, for him. However, when one sins against God, no one can interpose as an arbitrator. Intercession cannot clear willful and continual sins against God. Eli's reproof made no impression upon them. Their hardness of heart had already moved the Lord to slay them.

One must wonder if the hardness of heart of God's people today is a sign that the Lord is moving to judge, even destroy them?

V. 26. Though Samuel was surrounded by wickedness, he remained pure, growing in favour both with the Lord, and also with men.

Vv. 27-36.

Before God sent the judgment spoken of in v. 25, he sends man of God to tell Eli what he was going to do:

First, notice why God will judge – honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?

Though we are told that Eli only found out about his sons wickedness with the woman, evidently, he partook in the results of their evils, as he also made himself fat with the chiefest of all the offerings. (Implied in 4:8, Eli was a fat man.)

Vv. 27, 28. Eli placed the desires of his sons before what he knew was required of him by the Lord. Eli knew his history, and how God chose his father, Levi, to serve in the Lord's house.

V. 29. However, Eli and his sons were not satisfied with the Lord's provision.

Second, the several points of judgment.


A) V. 30. God promised honour to those who would honour him by obedience. Conversely, those who despise him shall be lightly esteemed, or despised. (Thought little of, lack of respect, held in contempt, despised, &c.)

Obviously, Eli and his sons did not openly or formally despise God. Despise here implies "presumptuous disobedience of my commands; by defiling and disgracing my worship and ordinances, either by transgressing the rules I have given them therein, or by their ungodly and shameful conversation..." (Poole.)

Thus, among other things, presumptuous disobedience to what we know is required by God is to despise God.

B) The lives of his children will be shortened.

C) V. 32. And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation could mean:

1. Someone take his place of honour, which should have been a place of wealth. The tribe of Levi was to receive the tithes of Israel, which contained 12 tribes. Thus, that tribe should have 20% more income than the average Israelite. Samuel took Eli's place in the eyes of the people.

2. The enemy take over the areas that at one time belonged to God. Israel was defeated by the Philistines, the ark was captured, and his wicked sons killed.

3. Eli's posterity possessed the high priesthood to the time of Solomon before being transferred to another family. (2 Samuel 15:24, 17:15, 19:12, 20:25, 1 Kings 2:27.) God preserved Eli's posterity so it might see the prosperity of its enemies, and see itself destitute and despised.

Eli's "presumptuous disobedience" to the Lord's will had very far reaching effects. God's judgment extends even to distant generations, and manifests itself to sinners both in life and death; both in their own disgrace, and in the prosperity of their enemies." (Clarke)

Note: Is it any wonder that many try to dismiss the Old Testament as being irrelevant for our day. It promises both judgment and blessings for many generations to come, according to our obedience or disobedience to God.