|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:7-12 The Philistines invaded Israel. When sinners begin to repent and reform, they must expect that Satan will muster all his force against them, and set his instruments at work to the utmost, to oppose and discourage them. The Israelites earnestly beg Samuel to pray for them. Oh what a comfort it is to all believers, that our great Intercessor above never ceases, is never silent! for he always appears in the presence of God for us. Samuel's sacrifice, without his prayer, had been an empty shadow. God gave a gracious answer. And Samuel erected a memorial of this victory, to the glory of God, and to encourage Israel. Through successive generations, the church of God has had cause to set up Eben-ezers for renewed deliverances; neither outward persecutions nor inward corruptions have prevailed against her, because hitherto the Lord hath helped her: and he will help, even to the end of the world.
Verse 9. - And Samuel took a sucking lamb. Samuel now appears as priest, and makes intercession and atonement for them. The lamb was at least seven days old, for so the law required (Leviticus 22:27), but probably not much older; for the word, a rare one, occurring elsewhere only in Isaiah 65:25, means something small and tender: this then he offered for a burnt offering wholly unto Jehovah. The A.V. translates in this way because chalil, "whole," is masculine, while olah, "a burnt offering," is feminine; but chalil had in course of time come to be used as a substantive (Leviticus 6:23; Deuteronomy 13:16; Deuteronomy 33:10), and is really here in opposition to olah, and so the two together signify "a whole burnt offering," and clearly indicate that the lamb was entirely consumed by fire. Olah means that which ascends, and symbolised devotion and consecration to God. Chalil intensified this signification, and showed that all was God's, and no part whatsoever reserved for the priest or the offerer. And thus then Samuel's burnt offering implied that the people gave themselves unreservedly to Jehovah. And Jehovah heard him. Really, "Jehovah answered him," by the thunder mentioned in ver. 10. For thunder was regarded as God's voice (1 Samuel 2:10), and in Psalm 29. we have a poetic description of its majesty and power. Express mention is also made in Psalm 99:6 of Jehovah having thus answered the prayers of Moses (Exodus 19:19), and of Samuel.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Samuel took a sucking lamb,.... Which it might be, and yet more than eight days old, for under that it might not be sacrificed, Exodus 22:30.
and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the Lord; the whole of it was burnt, skin and all, whereas the skin was the priest's in other burnt offerings; and this is remarked (m) as one of the three things in which it differed from other offerings; the word being feminine, the Jews gather from hence, as Jarchi notes, that females might be offered at a private altar:
and Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel; not only offered a sacrifice for them, but prayed for them:
and the Lord heard him; and answered him, either by causing fire to come down on the sacrifice, by which it was consumed, or by the voice of thunder, which frightened and discomfited the Philistines; and the event of things manifestly showed it.
(m) Midrash Schemuel apud Abarbinel in loc.
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