1 Samuel

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1 Samuel 2 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on 1 Samuel 2 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

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.

The SAB author seems to have forgotten verse 6 (1 Sam. 1:6) already. Peninnah is called her adversary there. If you read the first chapter, it becomes clear that Hannah's life must have been very miserable. And probably not just because of Peninnah, or Peninnah's children and friends.
Being without children was considered a curse in Israel. God had promised in Deut. 7:14 that “there shall not be a male or female barren among you", if Israel would keep his commandments.” If a woman was barren —the part of the barren male was usually readily forgotten— it was considered a special curse for a very grievous sin. If people accused Hannah of this, accussed her of being a sinner, she could not answer. Although she knew she had not done such a thing, the fact remained that she was barren. And she had not a thing to answer.
But now, with the birth of her first son, her mouth was open and she could answer her assailants. And even here, three thousand years after her death, her mouth is not stopped and she triumphs over those that call her kinky.

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.

"The Lord killeth...." -- every chance he gets.
This verse should be understood as the Lord had sent Hanna tribulations that were so heavy that they can be compared to being brought to the grave. She had lived in great misery, but was lifted up now.

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.

In Job (26:7) it is said that the earth sets upon nothing, but this verse says it sets upon pillars.
What is the earth set upon?
Poetry, a difficult concept.
But Hannah is probably not speaking about the physical earth here, but about earthly power. The pillars of the earth here denote those who rule, the princes of this earth. How mighty these rulers may appear, God rules over 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 adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them."
If God doesn't like you, he'll send a thunderstorm your way to break your body into little pieces.
I don't read here that the Lord will break those who he doesn't like. He will defeat his adversaries, that is sure. And that is a message of great joy for his people when they are being opposed, oppressed, or even tortured by the enemies of the Lord. Blessed are they who are persecuted (Matthew 5:11). But that implies that there are persecutors, and that there is someone who will defeat those persecutors.

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.

"And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived."
Did he get her pregnant in the usual way?

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.

The sons of Eli had sex with women "at the door of the tabernacle."
The phrase “at the door” refers to the place where the women assembled. It does not seem plausible it was the place where “they lay with the women”. But I suspect the SAB author knew that already.

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.

God will kill those who sin against him.
God's greatest punishment is when he hardens your hard. When your conscience does no longer speak when you sin. This is what happened here. Eli's sons had sinned so greatly, that God hardened their hearts so they would not listen, and not convert themselves and be saved. Sinners can be saved, even after terrible sins. But wow the day, when God closes the ears of sinners so they will not hear Him anymore.

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

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.

(2:31-34) If you piss him off, God will cut off your arm, consume your eyes, grieve your heart, and kill your sons and grandfathers.
This and the next verses are a poetic way of speaking of the gruesome destruction that will come upon Eli's house. Eli's sons were serial rapists, but the SAB author does not seem to think that this is worthy of punishment. And God gives advance warning. This announcement of punishment does not have to be a certainty! Look at the people from Nineveh. Jonah (Jonah 2) was send to preach the immininent destruction of Nineveh. It would be overthrown in forty days. Yet when they repented, God did it not.

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.