King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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1 Samuel 2

Hannah’s song of thanksgiving. (1-10) The wickedness of Eli’s sons, Samuel’s ministry. (11-26) The prophecy against Eli’s family. (27-36)

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Hannah’s song of thanksgiving

1 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.

2 There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.

4 The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.

5 They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.

6 The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.

7 The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.

8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s, and he hath set the world upon them.

9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

The wickedness of Eli’s sons, Samuel’s ministry

11 And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child did minister unto the LORD before Eli the priest.

12 Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.

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 fleshhook of three teeth in his hand;

14 And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither.

15 Also before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw.

16 And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force.

17 Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.

18 But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod.

19 Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

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. And they went unto their own home.

21 And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD.

22 Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

23 And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.

24 Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD’s people to transgress.

25 If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them.

26 And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men.

The prophecy against Eli’s family

27 And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house?

28 And did I choose him 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? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel?

29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?

30 Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

31 Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house.

32 And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever.

33 And the man 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.

34 And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them.

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: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.

36 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left in thine house shall come and crouch to him 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.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Rejoiced. Sept. and Chal. “been strengthened.” Anna composed this canticle at the nativity of her son; or rather at his presentation in the tabernacle. She foretells the reign and glory of the Messias, and of his church. S. Aug. de C. xvii. 4. — Horn. The horn in the Scripture signifies strength, power, and glory: so the horn is said to be exalted, when a person receives an increase of strength or glory. Ch. — So Horace (3 Ode, 21.) says, addis cornua pauperi.Enlarged. Chal. “I have opened my mouth, to speak great things against my enemies.” She has Phenenna principally in view, and compares her present glory with her former distress. C. — I may boast more on account of Samuel, than my rival can of her numerous offspring. M.

Ver. 2. Holy. This is frequently a title of God, the holy one of Israel. Isai. i. 4. and v. 19. He is essentially holy. — Strong. Heb. “no rock like,” &c. The rocks of Palestine were the common fortresses of the nation, having caverns to which the people fled for refuge. Hence God is often called a rock, (C.) as non can afford such protection. H. Ps. xvii. 2. Deut. xxxii. 15.

Ver. 3. Old. Heb. hathak means also, “hard things.” D. — “Let arrogance come out of your mouth,” to return no more. Yet most people supply the negation from the former member; “Let not arrogance or hard things.” Chal. “blasphemy,” &c. C. — Cease to praise idols, as you have done. W. — Use not the malevolent language to which you have been accustomed. — Knowledge. The secrets of hearts are open to him. — And to him. Heb. “and by him actions are weighed,” as in scales; (H.) or, “thoughts (and actions) are not established.” Sym. The Syr. and Arab. also read the negation, “there are not pretexts before him;” or, “are not actions founded upon him?” Will he not execute what he has wisely designed, in spite of opposition? H. — Sept. “and God prepares his thought;” C. (epitedeumata autou) or, “what is convenient for him.” H. — They have read lu, “of him,” instead of la, “not,” as they are authorized to do by the Keri, (or various readings in the margin) and by several Heb. MSS. The Prot. think rightly, and suppose that la, “not,” has been omitted, “Let not arrogancy;” because we find it in Chal. Sept. Syr. and Arab. versions. Lu is substituted for la, v. 16. When some have been pressed with the argument of variations, called Keri, they have said that they were rather explanations of obscure words in the text: but is there any obscurity in lu, “to him,” and la, “not;” or can they explain each other? Leusden answers in the affirmative, v. 16! Kennicott.

Ver. 4. Overcome. Heb. “broken.” Sept. “he has weakened the bow,” having deprived it of its elasticity.

Ver. 5. Many. Heb. “seven,” which is often used in the same sense. Anna had never more than six children; (C.) whereas Phenenna had perhaps ten. C. i. 8. and iii. 21. H. — The Rabbins pretend that she lost one every time that Anna brought forth. But the text says nothing of the kind. It only insinuates at most, that she had no more. This admirably represents the state of the Synagogue, compared to the Christian Church. S. Aug. sup. C. W. — The blessed Virgin conveys the same idea in other words. Luke i. M.

Ver. 6. Hell, (infernos,) “the lower regions.” God calls us out of this world, or restores the dead to life, as he thinks proper. H. — He easily makes the greatest prosperity succeed extreme distress, which is often denoted by death, hell, &c. So Seneca says, Mortis habet vices—Lentis cum trahitur vita gemitibus. The prodigal son is said to have come to life again, when his father received him, contrary to his expectations. Luke xv. 24. Ps. xxix. 4. &c. C.

Ver. 7. Exalteth. The same instances of God’s power and providence are related, Ps. cxii. 7. Luke i. 52. M. — Hesiod (op.) says, “Jupiter easily gives or takes away power,” &c.

Ver. 8. World. The Hebrews represented the earth as resting on a firm basis, or on pillars, or turning on poles. Ps. ciii. 5. Prov. viii. 25. &c. The magistrates of the earth may be also thus designated, as the world is entrusted to their care. God compares Jeremias to an iron pillar. Jer. i. 18. Apoc. iii. 12. C. — The last sentence is omitted in the Sept..

Ver. 9. Saints. Heb. “kind, merciful, pious ones;” (C.) those to whom he shews mercy, and who comply with his will in assisting others. Sept. “Granting their petition to those who ask him, and he has blessed the years of the just, because man is not strong by his own strength.” H. — Silent: condemned to death. Mox etiam Lemures animas dixere silentes. Ovid, Fast. v. Loca nocte silentia late. Virg. vi. Unable to act as they had done, and ashamed of themselves, (C.) they seek for the most obscure retreat, where they may not behold the glory of those whom they have despised. They will pray that the hills would fall upon them, and hide them from the indignation of the Lamb. H.

Ver. 10. Him. Sept. “The Lord will render his adversary weak. The holy Lord. Let not the prudent boast of his prudence,” &c. (H. which seems to be added from Jer. ix. 23. C.) “The Lord has mounted the heavens, and thundered. He judges the ends of the earth, and gives power to those who rule, as kings, over us,” &c. H. — Heavens. This prediction against the Philistines was exactly verified. C. vii. 10. It denotes the protection which God grants to his servants. Ps. xvii. 8. 14. — Christ. Chaldee, and the best interpreters, understand this of the Messias: “He will multiply the kingdom of his Messias.” Jonathan. — Anna might also have David in view, who was one of his most express figures. C. — But neither he, nor Solomon, ever ruled over all the earth, as Christ will. Ps. ii. 18. W. — Zachary seems to allude to this text. Luke i. 69. C. — The empire of Christ rose from the smallest beginnings. M.

Ver. 11. Ramatha. Heb. Rama. Sept. Alex. “and they left him there before the Lord, and went away to Armathaim.” H.

Ver. 12. The Lord, whom they denied by their works. Tit. i. 16.

Ver. 13. Nor the office. The Vulg. repeats the negation from the preceding sentence. Others translate, “The priests’ custom with the people was,” &c. or, “the pretended right of the priests,” &c. They neither performed their duty towards God, (C.) nor were they content with what the law authorized them to receive from the people. H. — Servant, or son; perhaps Ophni or Phinees. — Boiling. In the heroic times, the meat was never boiled, but roasted. Athen. i. 10. and Servius; though Hesiod asserts the contrary, v. 748. C. — Abulensis (q. 8.) observes that the person who offered the victim, boiled the parts which belonged to himself, as well as the priest’s share. But, whereas in the peace-offerings, only the breast and the right shoulder fell to the priest, these rapacious men took whatever they pleased. M.

Ver. 14. Pan. Heb. has also four terms, but their precise meaning cannot be determined. The vessels were of different forms, or intended for various uses.

Ver. 15. Raw. Here are two other abuses. The fat ought first to have been burnt, in honour of the Lord; and the meat should have been boiled, in order that the priest might not be taken off from his sacred functions; as custom, it seems, had determined, though the law be silent on this head.

Ver. 16. Desireth. The Laic gives an example of moderation and zeal, to which the priest might well have paid some deference. The former is willing to abandon his goods, provided the honour of God be not neglected. H.

Ver. 17. Lord. People, seeing that the law was not observed, refrained from presenting victims. M. — They are but too apt to follow the bad example of their teachers. H. — Hence God punishes the smallest faults of his ministers, with great severity, since they withdraw people from his service, by their scandalous behaviour, and are guilty of a more horrid sacrilege than those who laid violent hands on the Lord of majesty. S. Bern. ser. i. Nothing brings a greater discredit on religion. C.

Ver. 18. Ephod. It was not, therefore, peculiar to priests, 2 K. vi. 14.

Ver. 19. Coat. Heb. mehil, the outer garment. Hence it appears that the parents of the people consecrated to the Lord, furnished them with clothes, till they were able to serve the tabernacle, otherwise they would have been a burden to it. C.

Ver. 20. Lent. This was in reply to what Anna had said. C. i. 28. H. — God always gives back with interest. M.

Ver. 21. Lord. He behaved well in the tabernacle, (C.) notwithstanding the ill example of Heli’s own sons. H.

Ver. 22. Waited, like an army of guards. Ex. xxxvii. 8. The Rabbins pretend that these priests only sent away these women who came to be purified, and allowed them to return to their husbands before the appointed time, and thus caused the latter to offend. These authors are generally very fertile in discoveries. C. — The virgins or widows gave themselves up to work for the tabernacle. M. — The sons of Heli found an opportunity in the sacred practices of religion to gratify their passions. Perhaps some false pastors in the Church of Christ may have imitated their perversity. A man of the character of Mr. Crowley, a late deserter of the Catholic faith, judging of others by the corruption of his own heart, would hence insinuate that they all take these liberties, or at least that it is “a miracle,” if they can admit females to confession, without yielding to such base temptations. If this be a miracle, we may confidently hope that wonders have not ceased, otherwise among his other malicious remarks, he would surely have adduced some proofs of his assertion, from the records of past ages. But in reality he seems to be little acquainted (though he pretends to have been converted by it, &c. and falsely asserts it is kept from laymen) either with history or with the Bible, having read perhaps little more than what his Catechism set before him; and this he boldly contradicts, as if he supposed that this “Thoughts” would have more weight than the decisions of the Fathers and of the whole Church. If he can find a professor of Maynooth, and another or two Irish priests, disposed to follow his example, (which we need not believe on his assertion) what would this prove? Yet Mr. Slack lays great stress on this man’s authority, in his late defence of Wesley. Letters to R. Campion, Esq. Whitby, 1811. So ready are the enemies of the Catholic faith to scrape together every idle remark that may tend to defame the mother Church! So eager are infidels to reject the faith, on account of the misconduct of some of its degenerate professors! H. — The best of fathers have often very profligate children, as the latter take pride in the honours of their family, and expect to obtain the same without trouble. Grot.

Ver. 23. People. They could not refrain from complaining of the iniquity of his children, how much soever they might revere him. Though he was not a witness himself of their abominations, such an uproar must have convinced him that they were guilty. H. — The Fathers in general blame the lenity of the high priest, who ought not only to have rebuked, but also to have put a stop to the crying sins of his sons, by the utmost severity. C.

Ver. 25. Who shall pray for him. By these words Heli would have his sons understand, that by their wicked abuse of sacred things, and of the very sacrifices which were appointed to appease the Lord, they deprived themselves of the ordinary means of reconciliation with God; which was by sacrifices. The more, because as they were the chief priests, whose business it was to intercede for all others, they had no other to offer sacrifice and make atonement for them. Ch. — We need not, however, consider the words of Heli as an oracle of God. Sanchez. — In human transactions, a person would find more difficulty in obtaining pardon, when the judge himself had received the injury. Sept. instead of appeased, have “and they shall pray for him.” M. — Some may be found to plead his cause, but if he offend the judge, who will undertake to be his advocate? What medicines shall be used, when those, which God has appointed, are trodden under foot? H. — By persevering in such wickedness, no redress can be expected: and indeed, the infinite distance between God and man, would place an insuperable obstacle to a reconciliation, if Jesus Christ had not undertaken the cause even of the most desperate sinner. C. — Because the Lord would slay them. In consequence of their manifold sacrileges, he would not soften their hearts with his efficacious grace, but was determined to destroy them. Ch. — They had filled up the measure of their crimes; and, though God wills not the death of a sinner, they had treasured up to themselves wrath, which he will now display. We might also translate ci, “therefore,” (Noldius. Ose. ix. 15, &c.) or “that.” They would not be convinced that the threat of their father would be executed. Schmid. C. — Sins directly against God, and which hinder his service, are remitted with greater difficulty, though to all true penitents pardon is promised. Ezec. xxxiii. God did not take away the free will of Ophni and Phinees, but left them to their own obstinacy, and justly punished them. See S. Aug. c. Jul. v. 3. W. — They had already rendered themselves unworthy of extraordinary graces. T. S. Tho. 1 p. q. 23, n. 3.

Ver. 26. And men. Thus he is, in some degree, compared with our Saviour. Luke ii. 52. When one minister prevaricates, God presently raises up another, so that he never abandons his Church. H.

Ver. 27. A man. His name is unknown. Some say it was Elcana, Samuel or an angel, &c. The Rabbins suppose that Phinees performed this office. But he was long ago dead, (C.) or he would still have enjoyed the high priesthood instead of Heli. — Father’s. Aaron was the chief both of the house of Eleazar and of Ithamar, and was selected by God to be his ambassador and priest. H. — His posterity held the high priesthood till after the reign of Herod. T.

Ver. 28. Ephod, and all the pontifical attire. H. — The high priest wore a different sort of ephod from that of other people. C. — All the, &c. Even of the holocausts, the priests received the skin. M.

Ver. 29. Away, by scandalizing the people, and causing them to neglect offering the appointed victims. H. — To eat. Heli seems to have refrained from divesting his sons of their high office, that the riches of his family might not be impaired. C. — Avarice is the root of many evils, and those who seek to become rich fall into many snares. Poverty soon overtook the descendants of Heli, while the immediate perpetrators of the wickedness were punished with death. H.

Ver. 30. Ever. God had promised the priesthood to Aaron’s seed (C.) as long as the Jewish religion should subsist. H. — He had also selected the branch of Eleazar, to recompense the zeal of Phinees; (Num. xxv. 13,) and yet we find that the house of Ithamar had possession for a time of the high priesthood. We know not when or by what means by obtained it. The promises of God to them were surely only conditional; and some think that they only meant, that as He had permitted them to acquire this high dignity, so it was an earnest that he would not deprive them of it, unless they proved unworthy. But it is generally supposed that God had expressed his determination of this head. Heli, Achitob, Achias, Achimelech, and Abiathar, (C.) were the only pontiffs of the family of Ithamar. The last was obliged to resign to (H.) Sadoc, under the reign of Solomon, 3 K. ii. 27. Some suppose that Heli usurped this dignity, (Capel) when he entered upon the civil administration, as the people thought none more fit for the office, in a time of trouble. Bertram. — Others think that the descendants of Eleazar forfeited this honour by their crimes or indolence, or because they were not of sufficient age. But this reason would not have excluded them for ever. The Scripture, therefore, insinuates that Heli was appointed by God, and that his descendants would have enjoyed his office, if they had not offended. C. — These promises were of a conditional nature both to Phinees and to Heli, and Sadoc, v. 35. See Num. xxv. &c. H. — God never changes. M.

Ver. 31. Arm, strength or children. I will slay some; others I will reduce to extreme want. Some explain it of the ark, which was the protection of Israel. C. — Old man, to govern. D. — It is often a title of dignity. But the four succeeding pontiffs did not live long. In the course of little more than 100 years, the last was deposed. C.

Ver. 32. Thy rival. A priest of another race. This was partly filled when Abiathar, of the race of Heli, was removed from the priesthood, and Sadoc, who was of another line, was substituted in his place. But it was more fully accomplished in the New Testament, when the priesthood of Aaron gave place to that of Christ. Ch. — Some suppose that this rival was Samuel, in whom this prediction was partly fulfilled, though more completely in Christ. Bede, q. M. — Heli saw not in person the exaltation of Eleazar’s family. Heb. and other version are very much embarrassed here. C. — Prot. “and thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel.” H.

Ver. 33. Spent. Hence we may learn to adore the depth of God’s judgments, who knows how to punish both in life and death. — Part. Sept. “the most exalted of thy house shall fall by the sword of men.”

Ver. 35. Faithful often denotes what shall continue a long time. Isai. xxxiii. 16. and lv. 3. C. — But in the conduct of Sadoc, we find nothing reprehensible. M. — This faithful priest pointed out the Christian priesthood, as the sequel shews. C. — All days. He shall perform his office. H. — Anointed, king Solomon. M. — The priests of the new law ought always to have Christ in view. C.

Ver. 36. Bread; like the poorest sort of people. M. — Being degraded, they shall ask the other priests to offer sacrifice for them. Heb. “shall bend before him for a piece of silver, and for a morsel of bread.” He shall humbly intreat to be employed as a priest, in order to get a livelihood. — The piece of silver. Heb. agorath, probably denotes the gerah, the smallest coin, or what was given for a day’s wages. Agor means to hire, in Chal. Syr. &c. Hence the Greek, agorazo, “I purchase.” — Office. The priests served in their turns; (1 Par. xxiv.) so that the descendants of Heli must have been entitled to a subsistence. But whether God punished them, by requiring that they should ask the high priest for this, as for a favour, or this was required of all the inferior priests before they could be employed, or whether, in fine, the descendants of Abiathar were reduced to the condition of Levites, or wholly degraded, we know not. See 4 K. xxiii. 9. Ezec. xliv. 10. C. — They may petition for a part of the victims which fell to the share of the priests, (M.) and might be eaten by any that was not defiled. H.