1 Samuel 1:10
And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD, and wept sore.
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1 Samuel 1:10. She was in bitterness of soul — Oppressed with grief, which returned when she was alone, and thought of her barrenness, which made her pray, with many tears, for a child. They had newly offered their peace- offerings, to obtain the favour of God; and in token of their communion with him, they had feasted upon the sacrifice: and now it was proper to put up her prayer, in virtue of the sacrifice. For the peace-offerings typified Christ’s mediation, as well as the sin-offerings: since by this not only atonement is made for sin, but an answer to our prayers obtained.1:9-18 Hannah mingled tears with her prayers; she considered the mercy of our God, who knows the troubled soul. God gives us leave, in prayer, not only to ask good things in general, but to mention that special good thing we most need and desire. She spoke softly, none could hear her. Hereby she testified her belief of God's knowledge of the heart and its desires. Eli was high priest, and judge in Israel. It ill becomes us to be rash and hasty in censures of others, and to think people guilty of bad things while the matter is doubtful and unproved. Hannah did not retort the charge, and upbraid Eli with the wicked conduct of his own sons. When we are at any time unjustly censured, we have need to set a double watch before the door of our lips, that we do not return censure for censure. Hannah thought it enough to clear herself, and so must we. Eli was willing to acknowledge his mistake. Hannah went away with satisfaction of mind. She had herself by prayer committed her case to God, and Eli had prayed for her. Prayer is heart's ease to a gracious soul. Prayer will smooth the countenance; it should do so. None will long remain miserable, who use aright the privilege of going to the mercy-seat of a reconciled God in Christ Jesus.After they had eaten ... - Rather, "after she had eaten and after she had drunk," which is obviously right. Hannah, in the bitterness of her spirit, could not enjoy her feast, and so, after eating and drinking a little, she arose and went to the temple, leaving her husband and Peninnah and her children at table, where she still found them on her return 1 Samuel 1:18.

Upon a seat ... - Rather, "upon the throne," the pontifical chair of state 1 Samuel 4:13, which was probably set at the gate leading into the inner court of the tabernacle.

The temple of the Lord - The application of the word temple to the tabernacle is found only here, 1 Samuel 3:3; and Psalm 5:7; and the use of this word here is thought by some an indication of the late date of the composition of this passage.

1Sa 1:9-18. Hannah's Prayer. She was in bitterness of soul, i.e. oppressed with grief, as that phrase is used, Job 7:11 10:1 Ruth 1:20. And she was in bitterness of soul,.... Because of her barrenness, and the taunts and reflections she had met with on that account; her life was bitter to her, she could take no pleasure in any of the comforts of it:

and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore; her prayer was with strong crying and tears; it was very fervent and affectionate; she prayed most vehemently, and wept bitterly. This perhaps was about the time of the evening sacrifice, about three or four o'clock in the afternoon; seeing it was after dinner that she arose up and went to prayer in the house of God, at the door of the tabernacle, or near it, as it should seem by the notice Eli took of her, who sat there.

And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.
Verses 10, 11. - She... prayed unto the LORD. Kneeling down in the inner court, but within sight of Eli, whose throne in the porch probably overlooked the whole inner space, Hannah prays unto "Jehovah of Sabaoth" for a male child. Her humility appears in her thrice calling herself Jehovah's handmaid; her earnestness in the threefold repetition of the entreaty that Jehovah would look on her, and remember her, and not forget her. With her prayer she also makes a twofold vow in case her request is granted. The son given her is, first, to serve not for a stipulated number of years, as was the law with the Levites (Numbers 4:3), but for life; and, secondly, he is to be a Nazarite. We gather from Numbers 6:2 that Moses found this singular institution in existence, and only regulated it, and admitted it into the circle of established and legalised ordinances. Essentially it was a consecration to God, a holy priesthood, but not a sacrificing priesthood nor one by right of birth, as the Aaronic, but personal, and either for a limited period, or for life. During the continuance of the vow, a Nazarite might

(1) partake of no produce of the vine, signifying thereby abstinence from self-indulgence and carnal pleasure. He might

(2) take no part in mourning for the dead, even though they were his nearest relatives, because his holier duties raised him above the ordinary joys and sorrows, the cares and occupations of every day life. Lastly, no razor might come upon his head, the free growing hair being at once the distinctive mark by which all men would recognise his sacred calling, and also a sign that he was not bound by the usual customs of life. By Hannah's first vow Samuel was devoted to service in the sanctuary, by the second to a holy consecrated life. This institution remained in existence unto our Lord's days; for John the Baptist was also consecrated to God as a Nazarite by his mother, though not as Samuel, also given to minister in the temple. "And it came to pass, the day, and he offered sacrifice" (for, "on which he offered sacrifice"), that he gave to Peninnah and her children portions of the flesh of the sacrifice at the sacrificial meal; but to Hannah he gave אפּים אחת מגה, "one portion for two persons," i.e., a double portion, because he loved her, but Jehovah had shut up her womb: i.e., he gave it as an expression of his love to her, to indicate by a sign, "thou art as dear to me as if thou hadst born me a child" (O. v. Gerlach). This explanation of the difficult word אפּים, of which very different interpretations have been given, is the one adopted by Tanchum Hieros., and is the only one which can be grammatically sustained, or yields an appropriate sense. The meaning face (facies) is placed beyond all doubt by Genesis 3:19 and other passages; and the use of לאפּי as a synonym for לפני in 1 Samuel 25:23, also establishes the meaning "person," since פּנים is used in this sense in 2 Samuel 17:11. It is true that there are no other passages that can be adduced to prove that the singular אף was also used in this sense; but as the word was employed promiscuously in both singular and plural in the derivative sense of anger, there is no reason for denying that the singular may also have been employed in the sense of face (πρόσωπον). The combination of אפּים with אחת מגה in the absolute state is supported by many other examples of the same kind (see Ewald, 287, h). The meaning double has been correctly adopted in the Syriac, whereas Luther follows the tristis of the Vulgate, and renders the word traurig, or sad. But this meaning, which Fr. Bttcher has lately taken under his protection, cannot be philologically sustained either by the expression פניך נפלוּ (Genesis 4:6), or by Daniel 11:20, or in any other way. אף and אפּים do indeed signify anger, but anger and sadness are two very different ideas. But when Bttcher substitutes "angrily or unwillingly" for sadly, the incongruity strikes you at once: "he gave her a portion unwillingly, because he loved her!" For the custom of singling out a person by giving double or even large portions, see the remarks on Genesis 43:34.
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