The last Judge of Israel, Samuel
First and Second Samuel were originally (and still are in some Jewish bibles) a single book, but the Septuagint [LXX] translation, produced in the centuries immediately before Christ, divided Samuel into two books and this dividing of Samuel was adopted by other translators.
Like all of scripture the books of Judges, Samuel and Kings are filled with examples for our instruction. Some people initially timid but growing into their calling like Gideon; others lacking interest in their calling like Samson and still others being faithful from birth like Samuel.
While both families were faithful to God and brought up their children in a godly manner, the faithful Samuel is a sharp contrast to the spiritually weak Samson.
The ever faithful, ever enduring Samuel is an example of steadfast faithful righteousness which is too often overlooked in comparison to the fascinating deeds of others.
Samuel was the last Judge before the establishment of the permanent line of kings in Israel; and as the transitional Judge Samuel is given his own Book and a special place in the scriptures.
1 Samuel 1
The first two chapters of 1 Samuel cover the circumstances surrounding his birth and first introduction to Eli.
1 Samuel 1:1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite: 1:2 And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
This is likely a reference to one of the three annual pilgrim feasts
1:3 And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.
Hannah was given more than Peninnah because she was childless and yet beloved of her husband. The implication here is that Elkanah was a fair and righteous man who deeply loved Hannah and knowing her sadness sought to be extra kind to her.
1:4 And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions: 1:5 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.
It seems that Peninnah belittled Hannah because Hannah was childless; much like Hagar mocked Sarah and the rivalries between the wives of Jacob.
These kinds of rivalries where wives compete for their husband’s affections and the often jealousies of this type of relationship, are only some of the evils of polygamy. On the opposite emotional side; frustrated polygamous wives are often driven to lesbianism with the other wives and tempted to adultery with other men.
1:6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.
Hannah could not eat because of her upset over the provocations of Peninnah and her grief over her childlessness. The situation is one of extreme sorrow, shame and upset for Hannah.
1:7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat [was so distraught that she could not rejoice at the Feast].
Then Elkanah her husband tried to comfort Hannah; being very kind to her and loving her more than many sons.
1:8 Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?
Hannah was very tortured in spirit for her situation and desired a son more than anything in the world.
1:9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD. 1:10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.
Hannah then promised God that she would dedicate her son to be a Nazarite to serve God all his days; if God would only give her a son.
Hannah’s trial can be seen as typical of the trials of the spiritually called out person, who suffers much in this world and is often filled with many sorrows; yet will ultimately be delivered if we are faithful and put our trust in the Lord to faithfully live by every Word of God.
1:11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.
Hannah spoke quietly and privately before God.
1:12 And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. 1:13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.
Eli rebuked her for drunkenness not realizing the situation and the depth of Hannah’s despair.
1:14 And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. 1:15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.
She explains herself and Eli sends her away with a blessing that God might grant her request.
1:16 Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. 1:17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.
Hannah was encouraged and her spirit was revived.
1:18 And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.
They returned home and Hannah became pregnant.
1:19 And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her.
Samuel is translated as “Heard by God” or “God has heard” (from ‘shama’, “heard,” and ‘El’, God)
1:20 Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.
The term “yearly sacrifice” pins this down as the Passover, to be offered annually since no other sacrifice was commanded to be offered annually by individuals in scripture. All other festival sacrifices were to be offered by the priesthood on behalf of the whole nation; only the Passover was a commanded personal annual “Feast of the Lord” sacrifice to be eaten by the people.
1:21 And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.
Hannah remained at home until the child was weaned [natural weaning usually begins late in the first year and is completed at the age of approximately three years old]
1:22 But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.
Elkanah allowed her to remain home and blessed her and the child.
1:23 And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.
When the child was fully weaned he was taken to the tabernacle with a sacrifice by his family.
1:24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young. 1:25 And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.
Samuel was then presented to Eli
Consider the righteousness of Hannah that she kept her vow and gave up the son of her barrenness to Eli and the Eternal; and the righteousness and love of her husband that he initially approved of her vow and then gave up his son by his beloved Hannah.
1:26 And she said, Oh my lord [Eli], as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. 1:27 For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: 1:28 Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.
1 Samuel 2
Hannah’s prayer of rejoicing for Samuel the gift of God
This could be the prayer of EVERY person who is faithful to keep the whole Word of God! Almighty God will deliver his zealous faithful followers; while correcting those who turn away from zeal for his Word!
1 Samuel 2:1 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth [my words are fulfilled before my enemies] is enlarged over mine enemies;
because I rejoice in thy salvation.
Salvation is the gift of God to all those who follow and obey HIM!
2:2 There is none [as] holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
Let us repent of our proud arrogance of doing what we think is right in our own eyes; and turn to do what God teaches in his Word.
2:3 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 [all deeds are judged] actions are weighed.
2:4 The bows of the mighty men [enemy warriors; spiritually Satan and sin] are broken, and they [the faithful to God who stumble] that stumbled are girded with strength. 2:5 They that were full [the physically rich, who are spiritually poor; are driven to beg bread] have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased [the spiritually hungry are filled by our Mighty God]: so that the barren [we may think we are alone, but our faithfulness to the Eternal shall bear much fruit] hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.
Only the Eternal has the power of eternal death, and ONLY the Eternal has the power to give eternal life.
2:6 The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. 2:7 The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. 2:8 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, [the earth will be given to the spiritual pillars that stand firm on the solid foundation of the whole word of God] and he hath set the world upon them.
Man cannot prevail by his own ways or by his own strength.
2:9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness [the unrepentant shall see eternal death]; for by strength shall no man prevail.
Those who condemn the zealous and who will not keep the Word of God faithfully, who are permissive and compromising and lukewarm for keeping the whole Word of God have become his adversaries and shall be corrected and their pride crushed to contrition.
2:10 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 [God the Father] shall give strength unto his king [Messiah the king], and exalt the horn [the authority and power of Christ the Messiah the king] of his anointed.
These people knew of God by the family name of YHVH; they did not know of the difference between the Father and Son; and Judah does not understand that to this day.
Samuel was given to Eli to be taught the things of God, and to serve the Eternal.
2:11 And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child did minister unto the LORD before Eli the priest.
Eli had two sons who were wicked and selfish men: Like many church leaders of today, they lusted after the very best for themselves and abused the brethren.
2:12 Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.
These priests took for themselves the most and the best.
2:13 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; 2:14 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.
2:15 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.
If a person insists on obeying God these priests and many of today’s elders insist that they must be obeyed instead of God, and today the faithful for God are often forced out of the assemblies [Synagogue].
2:16 And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently [as God commanded], 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.
These two priests abhorred to offer to the Eternal what was God’s and instead took of the offerings for themselves in their greed, instead of doing God had commanded.
The same sin is committed wholesale in the Ekklesia today.
2:17 Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred [to give the offerings to God and kept overmuch for themselves] the offering of the LORD.
Samuel was faithful in serving the Eternal.
Consider that God may have inspired that whole situation surrounding the birth of Samuel, and that Hannah may have been barren and conceived Samuel by her supplication according to the plan and will of God!
2:18 But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod. 2:19 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.
Eli blessed Hannah for giving Samuel in service to God; implying that Samuel was a good and faithful lad. Here we see that despite any hardships in this life, if we overcome and are diligently faithful to keep the whole Word of God we shall ultimately be blessed.
2:20 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. 2:21 And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD.
Eli waxed old and he heard of the evils of his sons and how they refused to obey the instructions of God and lusted after the chief seats and best things; and took advantage of the women.
Things are no different today as many leaders and elders do the same things. Remember that spiritually these things are allegories of relationships with false doctrine, false prophecy and false religions. Without doubt many today compromise with the Word of God teaching many false things and seeking the best things and chief seats for themselves; and exalting personal gain above obedience to the whole Word of God.
2:22 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.
Eli then called his sons to account.
2:23 And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. 2:24 Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD’s people to transgress.
Then because they would not listen to their father and repent; YHVH who later became Jesus Christ judged them for their wickedness.
It is no different today and very many elders and leaders of today will be rejected by Christ, because we have rejected living by every Word of God for our own evil ways.
When we fall into the correction of Almighty God: Who can deliver us?
2:25 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 [of which] the LORD would slay them.
Samuel grew up faithful to the whole Word of God in sharp contrast to the two sons of Eli; and because of that difference in behavior there must have also been conflict between these wicked older men and the faithful young Samuel.
They must have made his life miserable; yet Samuel remained faithful to the Word of God.
2:26 And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men.
God sent a prophet to Eli the priest
2:27 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 [speaking of Eli as a descendant of Aaron], when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house? 2:28 And did I 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 [priests garment] before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel?
Eli is rebuked for allowing his sons to reject his criticism and for allowing them to continue to exercise the office of priests. Jesus Christ asks Eli why he honors his sons and does not honor God.
The leaders and elders of today’s spiritual Israel are also being warned; and they are rejecting the warnings to do what they think is right and to exalt themselves above what Almighty Gad says is right in his Word.
2:29 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?
Jesus Christ condemns those who are not faithful to God and do whatever they want instead of living by every Word of God.
2:30 Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father [Aaron], should walk before me [as my priests] for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me [that the wicked should be called God’s priests and elders]; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
Jesus Christ issues his judgment that Eli’s descendants shall be cut off from the altar of the Lord forever.
This is also a spiritual judgment that all those in spiritual Israel who are not zealous and faithful to learn, keep and teach the whole Word of God shall have NO PART in the resurrection to eternal life as part of the collective bride of Christ.
Make NO mistake, all those who seek the chief seats and are willing to willfully compromise with the Word of God: Are cut off from Almighty God and the resurrection to eternal life.
2:31 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.
All those who teach against a passionate zeal to learn and to live by every Word of God are cut off from God!
2:32 And thou [speaking to Eli who would not rebuke sin, and to all wicked men] shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: [the faithful to God shall be the enemies of the apostates and idolaters who insist on their own ways contrary to the Word of God] and there shall not be an old man [have eternal life] in thine house for ever. 2:33 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.
The judgment of Christ against today’s elders who do not strongly rebuke sin and cast out willful sinners is the same.
The two sons of Eli are condemned to die on the same day
2:34 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.
Here he prophesies of the resurrection of the zealously faithful, to the eternal priesthood of Melchizedek.
2:35 And I will raise me up a faithful priest [Jesus the Messiah and High Priest of our salvation after the order of Melchizedek], 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.
Then the physical descendants of Aaron will repent and beg to be reinstated into the physical priesthood; and the faithful sons of Zadok will yet serve in the Ezekiel Temple.
2:36 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.