Dave Burnette's Commentary

1 Samuel Chapter 2

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Samuel, Nathan, & Gad 
Date Penned: (931-975 BC)
Overview: Samuel, Israel's Last Judge (c 1-31)
Theme: Eli and Samuel (c 1-7)
Message: Hannah's Prayer of Thanks (v 1-22)

1 Samuel 2 Commentary

(2:1) Hannah is Thankful - Hannah praised God for his answer to her prayer for a son. Her confidence in God's sovereignty and her thankfulness for everything he had done are the themes of her poetic prayer. Mary, the mother of Jesus, modeled her own praise song, called the Magnificat, after Hannah's prayer (Luke 1:46-55). Like Hannah and Mary, we should be confident in God's ultimate control over the events in our lives, and we should be thankful for the ways God has blessed us. By praising God for all good gifts, we acknowledge his ultimate control over all the affairs of life.

(2:2) Hannah Praises God - Hannah praised God for being a Rock-firm, strong, and unchanging. In our fast-paced world, people come and go, and circumstances change. It's difficult to find a solid foundation that will not change. Those who devote their lives to achievements, causes, or possessions try to find security in what is finite and changeable. The possessions that we work so hard to obtain will all pass away. But God is always present. Hope in him. He will never fail.

(2:3) Hannah Leaves Judgement to the Lord - No doubt as Hannah said these words, she was thinking of Peninnah's arrogance and rebuking. Hannah did not have to get even with Peninnah. She knew that God is all-knowing and that he will judge all sin and pride. Hannah wisely left judgment up to God. Resist the temptation to take justice into your own hands. God will weigh your deeds as well as the deeds of those who have wronged you.

(2:10) Hannah Sees God's Character - Because we live in a world where evil abounds and where war and terrorism always threaten, we may forget that God is in control. Hannah saw God as (1) solid as a rock (2:2), (2) the one who knows what we do (2:3), (3) sovereign over everything and everyone (2:4-8), and (4) the supreme Judge who administers perfect justice (2:10). Remembering God's sovereign control helps us put both world and personal events in perspective.

(2:11,18) Samuel Helps Eli - Samuel "did minister unto the LORD before Eli the priest." In other words, Samuel was Eli's helper or assistant. In this role, Samuel's responsibilities would have included opening the tabernacle entrances each morning (35), cleaning the furniture, and sweeping the floors. As he grew older, he would have assisted Eli in offering sacrifices. Wearing a special linen garment like those worn by the priests (in Hebrew called an ephod) showed that he was a priest-in-training. Because Samuel was Eli's helper, he was God's helper too. When we serve others- even in carrying out ordinary tasks--we are serving God. In God's service, every job has dignity.

(2:12-36) Eli's Sons Misuse their Position - The law stipulated that the needs of all the Levites were to be met through the people's tithes (Numbers 18:20-24; Joshua 13:14.33). Because Eli's sons were priests, they were to be provided for in this way. But Eli's sons took advantage of their position to satisfy their lust for power, sex, possessions, and control. Their contempt and arrogance toward both people and worship undermined the integrity of the whole priesthood. Their evil ways contrasted sharply with young Samuel's attitudes and values, which showed complete commitment to God. Eli knew that his sons were evil, but he did little to correct or stop them, even when the integrity of God's sanctuary was threatened. As the high priest, Eli should have responded by banishing or even executing his sons Numbers 15:22-31). No wonder he chose not to confront the situation. But by ignoring their selfish actions, Eli let his sons ruin their own lives and the lives of many others. It can be especially hard to confront serious sin issues in the lives of those closest to us. But there are times when serious problems must be confronted, even if the process and consequences will be painful.

(2:13-17) Eli's Sons Mishandle the Offering - What were Eli's sons doing wrong? They were taking parts of the sacrifices before they were offered to God on the altar. They were also eating meat before the fat was burned off, A which was against God's law (Leviticus 3:3-5). In effect, Eli's sons were treating God's offerings with contempt. Offerings were given to show honor and respect to God while seeking forgiveness for sins, but through their irreverence, Eli's sons were actually sinning while making the offerings. To add to their sins, they were also sleeping with the women who served at the tabernacle (1 Samuel 2:22). Like Eli's sons, some religious leaders look down on the faith of ordinary people and treat their offerings to God casually or even with contempt. God harshly judges those who lead his people astray or scorn what has been devoted to him Numbers 18:32).

(2:13-14) The Fleshook - This fleshhook was a utensil used in the tabernacle to handle the sacrificial meat. Made of bronze (Exodus 27:3), it usually had three prongs to hook the meat as it was put on the altar or cooked in a boiling pot. Eli's sons used this fleshhook to take more meat from the pot than was due them. Though the burnt offerings were burned completely on the altar, some of the other offerings were cooked and shared among the priests and worshipers in a celebration feast. So in addition to other sins, Eli's sons were stealing more than their share of meat from the families worshiping at the tabernacle.

(2:17) Samuel Ministers Before the Lord - Samuel was a young child, and yet he "ministered before the LORD." Children can often serve God just as effectively as adults. God will use anyone who is willing to learn from him and serve him. He has no age limits. We shouldn't discount the faith of a child or let age keep anyone from serving God. (See also the note on 1 Timothy 4:12).

(2:18) Samuel wore a special linen garment, in Hebrew called an ephod. These long, sleeveless vests made of plain linen were worn by all priests. The high priest's ephod carried special significance. It was embroidered with a variety of bright colors. Attached to it was the breastplate, a bib-like garment with gold embroidered shoulder straps. Twelve precious gemstones were attached to the breastplate, each stone representing one of the tribes of Israel. This breastplate also provided a pouch to hold the Urim and the Thummim, two small objects used to determine God's will in certain national matters.

(2:21) God Honored Hannah - God honored the desires of faithful Hannah. We never hear about Peninnah or her children again, but Samuel was used mightily by God. God also gave Hannah five children in addition to Samuel. God often blesses us in ways we do not expect. Hannah didn't dare expect to have a child at her age, much less six children! Fight the temptation to resent God's timing when he tells you to wait. His blessings might not be immediate, but he will bless us if we are faithful to do what he says in his Word.

(2:23-25) Don't Ignore God's Warnings on Sin - Eli's sons knew better, but they continued to disobey God deliberately by cheating, seducing, and robbing the people. Therefore, God planned to execute them. Any sin is wrong, but sin carried out deliberately and deceitfully, especially in a religious context, is the worst kind. When we sin out of ignorance, we deserve punishment. But when we sin intentionally, the consequences will be more severe. Don't ignore God's warnings about sin. When we find ourselves continuing in habitual sin, we need to reach out to God and other believers to seek forgiveness and find help in turning from it.

(2:25) God Withdrew His Presence - Does our loving God really will or want to put people to death? Consider the situation in the tabernacle. A person would make an offering in order to have sin forgiven, and Eli's sons would steal the offering and make a sham of the person's repentant attitude. God, in his love for Israel, could not permit this situation to continue. He allowed Eli's sons to die as a result of their own boastful presumption. They took the ark into battle, thinking it would protect them. But God withdrew his protection, and the wicked sons of Eli were killed (4:4-11).

(2:26) God's Hand is on Samuel - The record of Samuel's growth and maturity compares to the description of Jesus in Luke 2:52. God's hand was certainly on him.

(2:29) Eli Fails to Discipline His Sons - Eli had a difficult time raising his sons. He apparently did not take any strong disciplinary action with them when he became aware of their wrongdoing. But Eli was not just a father trying to handle his rebellious sons; he was the high priest ignoring the sins of priests under his supervision. As a result, the Lord took the necessary disciplinary action that Eli would not. Eli was guilty of honoring his sons above God by letting them continue their sinful actions. Is there a situation in your life, family, or work that you allow to continue even though you know it is wrong? If so, you may become as guilty as those engaged in the wrong act. Honor God more highly than anything else, and don't wait for him to intervene for you.

(2:31-36) Predictions Are Fulfilled - For the fulfillment of this prediction, see 1 Kings 2:26-27. Here, Solomon removed Abiathar from his position, thus ending Eli's line. Then God raised up Zadok, a priest under David and then high priest under Solomon. Zadok's line was probably still in place as late as the days of Ezra.



Dave Burnette's Life Application

Winning Our Children to the Lord


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue in the book of 1st Samuel with Chapter 2, and we see Hannah's response to the Lord answering her prayer of giving her a son, Samuel. In her response, she fulfills her promise to God and offers prayers of thanks. As a result, we see the heart of the child Samuel bent to the Lord. In making an application, we see the fruit of a parent dedicating her heart and actions to the Lord. A child whose heart is bent to the Lord. I have seen this in my own life as my children have a heart that is bent toward the Lord from them seeing us serve the Lord and them seeing that the Lord is real. How about you? Do you set an example in your relationship with the Lord before the ones you love? Let us learn from Hannah and our text today in winning our children's hearts to the Lord.


1 Samuel 2

1 Samuel 2

 1And 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.

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

 3Talk 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.

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

 5They 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.

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

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

 8He 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.

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

 10The 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.

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

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

 13And 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;

 14And 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.

 15Also 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.

 16And 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.

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

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

 19Moreover 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.

 20And 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.

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

 22Now 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.

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

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

 25If 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.

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

 27And 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?

 28And 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?

 29Wherefore 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?

 30Wherefore 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.

 31Behold, 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.

 32And 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.

 33And 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.

 34And 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.

 35And 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.

 36And 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.