Count not your handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken till now.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Samuel 1:16. Count not thy handmaid for a daughter of Belial, &c. — A Scripture phrase for a wicked person. Thus, when we are unjustly censured, we should endeavour not only to clear ourselves, but to satisfy our brethren, by giving them a just and true account of what they misapprehended.1 Samuel 1:2 and note. She means that wine was not the cause of her present discomposure, but grief of heart. For a daughter of Belial; for such a wicked monster, as a drunken woman is. The oppression of my spirits hath forced me to speak, and that so liberally at this time, for the case of my sinking heart. 1 Samuel 25:17. Drunkenness in man is au abominable crime, but much more in a woman. The Romans (a) forbad wine to women, and drunkenness in them was a capital crime, as adultery, or any other; and indeed a drunken woman is liable to all manner of sin:
for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto; out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak, whether it is matter of trouble or of joy; the heart of Hannah was full of grief, and her mouth full of complaints, on which she long dwelt, in order to give vent thereunto, and ease herself.Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)16. a daughter of Belial] Rather, a worthless, or, wicked woman. Our translators have wrongly treated this word as a proper name in the historical books, but not elsewhere, though the alternative is generally given in the margin. It means worthlessness, and according to the usual Hebrew idiom a son or daughter of worthlessness signifies “a worthless man or woman,” and with positively bad sense, a lawless, ungodly, wicked person. If “naughty,” by which the word is rendered in Proverbs 6:12, had retained its archaic sense, it would be a fair equivalent. “Belial,” or more correctly “Beliar,” is used by St Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:15 as a name of Satan, the personification of all lawlessness and worthlessness. Milton naturally follows the E. V. in regarding Belial as the name of a spirit.
“Belial, than whom a spirit more lewd
Feel not from heaven, … to him no temple stood,
Or altar smoked, yet who more oft than he
In temples and at altars, when the priest
Turns atheist, as did Eli’s sons, who filled
With lust and violence the house of God.”
Paradise Lost, I. 490, ff.
grief] Lit. “provocation” (cp. 1 Samuel 1:6), or “vexation” as the consequence of provocation.1 Samuel 1:9-11. "After the eating at Shiloh, and after the drinking," i.e., after the sacrificial meal was over, Hannah rose up with a troubled heart, to pour out her grief in prayer before God, whilst Eli was sitting before the door-posts of the palace of Jehovah, and vowed this vow: "Lord of Zebaoth, if Thou regardest the distress of Thy maiden, and givest men's seed to Thy maiden, I will give him to the Lord all his life long, and no razor shall come upon his head." The choice of the infinitive absolute שׁתה instead of the infinitive construct is analogous to the combination of two nouns, the first of which is defined by a suffix, and the second written absolutely (see e.g., וזמרת עזּי, Exodus 15:2; cf. 2 Samuel 23:5, and Ewald, 339, b). The words from ועלי onwards to נפשׁ מרת form two circumstantial clauses inserted in the main sentence, to throw light upon the situation and the further progress of the affair. The tabernacle is called "the palace of Jehovah" (cf. 1 Samuel 2:22), not on account of the magnificence and splendour of the building, but as the dwelling-place of Jehovah of hosts, the God-king of Israel, as in Psalm 5:8, etc. מזוּזה is probably a porch, which had been placed before the curtain that formed the entranced into the holy place, when the tabernacle was erected permanently at Shiloh. נפשׁ מרת, troubled in soul (cf. 2 Kings 4:27). תבכּה וּבכה is really subordinate to תּתפּלּל, in the sense of "weeping much during her prayer." The depth of her trouble was also manifest in the crowding together of the words in which she poured out the desire of her heart before God: "If Thou wilt look upon the distress of Thine handmaid, and remember and not forget," etc. "Men's seed" (semen virorum), i.e., a male child. אנשׁים is the plural of אישׁ, a man (see Ewald, 186-7), from the root אשׁ, which combines the two ideas of fire, regarded as life, and giving life and firmness. The vow contained two points: (1) she would give the son she had prayed for to be the Lord's all the days of his life, i.e., would dedicate him to the Lord for a lifelong service, which, as we have already observed at 1 Samuel 1:1, the Levites as such were not bound to perform; and (2) no razor should come upon his head, by which he was set apart as a Nazarite for his whole life (see at Numbers 6:2., and Judges 13:5). The Nazarite, again, was neither bound to perform a lifelong service nor to remain constantly at the sanctuary, but was simply consecrated for a certain time, whilst the sacrifice offered at his release from the vow shadowed forth a complete surrender to the Lord. The second point, therefore, added a new condition to the first, and one which was not necessarily connected with it, but which first gave the true consecration to the service of the Lord at the sanctuary. At the same time, the qualification of Samuel for priestly functions, such as the offering of sacrifice, can neither be deduced from the first point in the vow, nor yet from the second. If, therefore, at a later period, when the Lord had called him to be a prophet, and had thereby placed him at the head of the nation, Samuel officiated at the presentation of sacrifice, he was not qualified to perform this service either as a Levite or as a lifelong Nazarite, but performed it solely by virtue of his prophetic calling.
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