|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:11-18 What a great deal of guilt and corruption is there in us, concerning which we may say, It is the iniquity which our own heart knoweth; we are conscious to ourselves of it! Those who do not restrain the sins of others, when it is in their power to do it, make themselves partakers of the guilt, and will be charged as joining in it. In his remarkable answer to this awful sentence, Eli acknowledged that the Lord had a right to do as he saw good, being assured that he would do nothing wrong. The meekness, patience, and humility contained in those words, show that he was truly repentant; he accepted the punishment of his sin.
Verse 13. - For I have told him, etc. These words may be translated, with the Septuagint and Vulgate, "For I have told him that I would judge his house," referring back to the message of the man of God; or, with the Syriac, "And I will show him that I do judge his house." Forever. I.e. finally; his house shall pass away. His sons made themselves vile. The verb used here invariably means to curse; but "they cursed themselves" does not, without straining, give a good sense. The Septuagint for "themselves" reads God, and the Syriac the people. Buxtorf says ('Lex. Rab.,' sub תִּקּוּן) that the right reading is me, and that this is one of eighteen places where the scribes have changed me into themselves or them. But while thus there is much uncertainty about the right text, the evidence is too uncertain to act upon, and it is best to translate, "His sons have brought a curse upon themselves," while acknowledging that the ordinary rendering would be "have cursed themselves." And he restrained them not. The Versions generally take the verb used here as equivalent to one differing only in having a softer medial consonant, כהה = כאה, and translate rebuked; but that really found in the Hebrew text signifies "to weaken, humble, reduce to powerlessness." The A.V. takes neither one verb nor the other in the rendering restrained. Eli ought to have prevented his sons from persisting in bringing disgrace upon God's service by stripping them of their office. Their wickedness was great, and required a stern and decisive remedy.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever,.... That is, bring his judgments upon them, which should continue on them to their utter destruction; this, as to the substance, he said before by the man of God:
for the iniquity which he knoweth; for the iniquity of his sons, which he thoroughly informed of, and fully acquainted with by others; and somewhat of which he must have been sensible of, and seen with his own eyes, and therefore was inexcusable:
because his sons made themselves vile; mean and contemptible in the sight of men, abhorred and accursed in the sight of God, by taking the flesh of the sacrifices of the people, which did not belong to them, who came to sacrifice, and by debauching the women that came to the door of the tabernacle for religious service. It is said this clause was originally written, "because his sons made light of me"; or cursed the Lord, and is one of the eighteen places called the correction of the Scribes, who corrected it as we have it; and it may be observed, the Septuagint version is, "because his sons spake ill of God"; or cursed him; however, this they did, they preferred their lusts, and the indulging of them, to the honour and glory of God: this Eli knew:
and he restrained them not; from their evil practices; he did not make use of his authority, neither as a father, and especially not as high priest, and the judge of Israel, who ought not only to have sharply reproved them, which he did not, but to have censured or punished them, and turned them out of their office: "or did not frown upon them" (t), as in the margin of our Bibles; he did not knit his brows, or wrinkle up his face, and by his countenance show his displeasure at their proceedings, but in an easy, smooth, gentle manner, expostulated with them about them.
(t) "et non contraxit frontem", Osiander; "non contraxit rugas", Belg. De Dieu.
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