But Hannah went not up; for she said to her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Until the child be weaned.—Weaning, we know, took place very late among the Hebrews. From 2 Maccabees 7:27, it appears that Hebrew mothers were in the habit of suckling their children for three years. The mother proposed, when the weaning had taken place, to leave her son as a servant of the sanctuary, there to remain all his life.
On the late period of weaning among the Oriental nations, Kalisch refers to the Persian custom of suckling boys two years and two months, and girls two years.1 Samuel 1:22. I will not go up till the child be weaned — Not only from the breast, but from the mother’s knee and care, and childish food. She was not bound by the law to go up with her husband; and therefore, though she had been wont to go, she resolved, as became a prudent woman, to stay at home, till the child was so far grown up, as not only to be strong enough to accompany her, but capable of being instructed in the service of the tabernacle, and of being useful therein. For, it seems, as soon as he was brought thither he worshipped God, (1 Samuel 1:28,) and, soon after, ministered to Eli, 1 Samuel 2:11.Hannah went not up, to wit, at that sacred anniversary feast, to which she went up before but now did not, because she could not with satisfaction to her mind and conscience appear before the Lord empty, or without paying her vow; nor bring her child thither to God, and then carry him away from God to her own house. Nor did she sin by not going up; for the women were not obliged go up at the solemn feasts, but the men only, Exodus 23:17.
Until the child be weaned; not only from the breast and the milk, which was done within two or three years at most, but also from the mother’s knee and care, and from childish food; till the child be something grown up, and fit to do some service in the tabernacle for it seems, that as soon as he was brought up, he worshipped God, 1 Samuel 1:28, and presently after ministered to Eli, 1 Samuel 2:11. And this may further appear from the very nature of the vow, which must needs design a service and an advantage to the tabernacle, and not a burden and encumbrance, as it would have been if a young child had been brought up to it, and left upon it.
That he may appear before the Lord, and there abide forever; that when once he is presented to the Lord, he may continue in his service as long as he liveth, as is said 1 Samuel 1:28.
for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned: which, according to Jarchi, was at the end of twenty two months; but others say at the end of twenty four months, or two years, as Kimchi and Ben Melech; and sometimes a child was three years old before it was weaned, and sometimes longer, which very probably was the case here; See Gill on Genesis 21:8. Comestor (d) observes, there was a three fold weaning of children in old times; the first from their mother's milk, when three years old; the second from their tender age, and care of a dry nurse, when seven years old; the third from childish manners, when at twelve years of age; and that it is this last and metaphorical weaning which is here meant, when Samuel was twelve years of age, and fit to serve in the temple; but the proper sense is best, since she is said to bring him when weaned: her reason for it seems to be this, because had she went up with her sucking child, she must have brought him back again, since he would not be fit to be left behind, and would be entirely incapable of any kind of service in the sanctuary; and according to the nature of her vow, she could not think of bringing him back again, after she had once entered him there:
and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord; and minister in the service of the sanctuary in what might be suitable to his age; there and then she would present him, and give him up to the Lord, as she had promised she would:
and there abide for ever; that is, as long as he lived; for her vow was that he should be a Nazarite all the days of his life, and be separated to the service of God as long as he had a being in the world.But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22. until the child be weaned] He would then be two or three years old. It is still a common practice in the East to suckle children for two years: and in ancient times they were sometimes not weaned till three years old. See 2Ma 7:27, “O my son, have pity upon me that gave thee suck three years and nourished thee.” The weaning was made an occasion of festivity (Genesis 21:8). The objection has been made that so young a child would have been troublesome to Eli, but there were women engaged in the tabernacle service (1 Samuel 2:22), to whose care he might have been committed. It was important that he should be dedicated as soon as possible. The house of God was to be the only home he knew; the earliest impressions of his boyhood were to be those of the sanctuary.
for ever] Equivalent to “as long as he liveth” of 1 Samuel 1:28.Psalm 42:5). Do not count thine handmaid for a worthless woman, for I have spoken hitherto out of great sighing and grief." לפני נתן, to set or lay before a person, i.e., generally to give a person up to another; here to place him in thought in the position of another, i.e., to take him for another. שׂיה, meditation, inward movement of the heart, sighing.
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