|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:11-26 Samuel, being devoted to the Lord in a special manner, was from a child employed about the sanctuary in the services he was capable of. As he did this with a pious disposition of mind, it was called ministering unto the Lord. He received a blessing from the Lord. Those young people who serve God as well as they can, he will enable to improve, that they may serve him better. Eli shunned trouble and exertion. This led him to indulge his children, without using parental authority to restrain and correct them when young. He winked at the abuses in the service of the sanctuary till they became customs, and led to abominations; and his sons, who should have taught those that engaged in the service of the sanctuary what was good, solicited them to wickedness. Their offence was committed even in offering the sacrifices for sins, which typified the atonement of the Saviour! Sins against the remedy, the atonement itself, are most dangerous, they tread under foot the blood of the covenant. Eli's reproof was far too mild and gentle. In general, none are more abandoned than the degenerate children of godly persons, when they break through restraints.
Verses 20, 21. - The Lord give thee seed, etc. The manner in which Eli blesses Elkanah shows that this surrender of a very young child to religious service was not looked upon as imposing a burden upon the sanctuary, but as the bestowal of a valued gift. Loan and lent by no means give the whole sense, which is in fact beyond the power of our language to express; for the Hebrew is remarkable for its manner of saying a great deal in a few words, by using them indefinitely. Besides the sense, then, of lending the child to God, the Hebrews also conveys the idea of Samuel having been obtained by prayer, but by prayer for Jehovah. Hannah had not asked simply for a son, but for a son whom she might dedicate to God. And now Eli prays that Jehovah will give her children to be her own (see on ch. 1:28). ELI'S COMPLICITY IN THE SINS OF HIS SONS (vers. 22-26).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife,.... Not only the first time they brought Samuel to him, and left him with him; but every year they came to worship, as the Jewish commentators mostly interpret it:
and said, the Lord give thee seed of this woman; children by her, year after year:
for the loan which is lent to the Lord; instead of Samuel, who was asked of the Lord and given to him again; and as they were thereby in some measure deprived of him, and could not always enjoy him, and be delighted with him, Eli prayed for them, and gave them his benediction as a priest, that they might be favoured with other children, who might be of delight and service to them when in old age:
and they went unto their own home; at Ramah, as in 1 Samuel 2:11 or to his place (r), Elkanah's; hence Kimchi concludes that Hannah was of another city originally; but the Targum is,"to their place;''and indeed, what was now the place or home of the one, was of the other.
(r) "in locum suum", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius, &c.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife—This blessing, like that which he had formerly pronounced, had a prophetic virtue; which, before long, appeared in the increase of Hannah's family (1Sa 2:21), and the growing qualifications of Samuel for the service of the sanctuary.
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