Now Hannah, she spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Now Hannah, she spake in her heart.—Eli was watching the worshippers, and, as Bunsen well remarks, was struck with dismay at her silent earnestness, such heartfelt prayer being apparently not usual at that time, and remembering the condition of the moral life in the precincts of the sanctuary over which he ruled with so weak and vacillating a rule, and how sadly frequent were disorders at the sacrificial meal, at once suspected that the weeping, praying one was a drunken woman. He, however, quickly atoned for his unworthy suspicion.Judges 11:30; Judges 21:5; 1 Samuel 14:24.) For the law of vows in the case of married women, see Numbers 30:6-16; and for the nature of the vow, see the marginal references. Her voice was not heard; partly, to avoid the suspicion of vain-glory; partly, because she would not have others acquainted with her barrenness, which was matter of reproach; and partly, because she would not disturb others, who at this solemn feast were probably employed there in the same work.
Eli thought she had been drunken, because of the multitude of her words, and those uncouth gestures and motions of her face and body, which the vehemency of her passion and her fervency in prayer, caused in her, as it doth frequently in others; and because she was but newly come from a feast, wherein the manner was to eat and drink liberally, (though not to excess.) which he knew very well, both from the general custom of that season, and from the time of the day.
only her lips moved; as her heart spoke, and sent up her petitions, as if she had used words and phrases in form:
but her voice was not heard: that she might not seem to be ostentatious in her prayer, and that she might not interrupt others in their devotions; and she knew that her voice was not necessary with respect to God:
therefore Eli thought she had been drunken; by the motions she made, and gestures she used, as if she was muttering something to herself, and by her long continuance therein, and it being after a feast she had been at with her husband, and the rest of the family; from all which Eli concluded this must be her case.Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. Eli thought she had been drunken] Silent prayer was not usual at the time. Eli’s ready suspicion makes it probable that such excesses were not uncommon at the sacrificial feasts. His hasty and uncharitable judgment points to some of the defects of his character.
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