1 Samuel 1:23
And Elkanah her husband said to her, Do what seems you good; tarry until you have weaned him; only the LORD establish his word. So the woman stayed, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.
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(23) Only the Lord establish his word.—No special word or promise of the Eternal in the case of the infant Samuel is recorded in this history; but there was an ancient Rabbinical tradition that a direct revelation respecting the future destiny of Samuel was made. “The Bath-kol (Daughter of the Voice) went forth, saying, There shall arise a just one, whose name shall be Samuel. Then every mother who bore a son called him Samuel; but when they saw his actions, they said, This is not Samuel. But when this one was born, they said, This is that Samuel, and this is what the Scripture means when it says, ‘The Lord confirmed his word that Samuel may be that just one.’”—Rashi.

If we decline to accept the Rabbinical tradition, Bunsen’s simple comment will explain the difficult words of the text, “establish his word”: that is, may the Lord fulfil what He designs with him, and has promised by his birth.

1 Samuel 1:23. Only the Lord establish his word — We do not read of any thing the Lord had spoken about this child: but, perhaps Elkanah looked upon what Eli had said as spoken by God, because he was God’s high-priest. The Hebrew, however, may be rendered with equal propriety, The Lord establish his work; that is, may he perfect what he hath begun, by making the child grow up, and become fit for God’s service, that he may be employed therein and accepted of God. For the word דברdabar, signifies any matter or thing, as well as word.1:19-28 Elkanah and his family had a journey before them, and a family of children to take with them, yet they would not move till they had worshipped God together. Prayer and provender do not hinder a journey. When men are in such haste to set out upon journeys, or to engage in business, that they have not time to worship God, they are likely to proceed without his presence and blessing. Hannah, though she felt a warm regard for the courts of God's house, begged to stay at home. God will have mercy, and not sacrifice. Those who are detained from public ordinances, by the nursing and tending of little children, may take comfort from this instance, and believe, that if they do that duty in a right spirit, God will graciously accept them therein. Hannah presented her child to the Lord with a grateful acknowledgment of his goodness in answer to prayer. Whatever we give to God, it is what we have first asked and received from him. All our gifts to him were first his gifts to us. The child Samuel early showed true piety. Little children should be taught to worship God when very young. Their parents should teach them in it, bring them to it, and put them on doing it as well as they can; God will graciously accept them, and will teach them to do better.Until the child be weaned - Hebrew mothers, as elsewhere in the East, usually suckled their children until the age of two complete years, sometimes until the age of three. 22. But Hannah went not up—Men only were obliged to attend the solemn feasts (Ex 23:17). But Hannah, like other pious women, was in the habit of going, only she deemed it more prudent and becoming to defer her next journey till her son's age would enable her to fulfill her vow. The Lord establish his word; either, first, The word of God made known to them by Eli, above, 1 Samuel 4:17, which being delivered by God’s high priest, and that in answer to his and his wife’s prayers, he took to be a kind of oracle sent from God. But that word was already fulfilled in the birth of a son. Or, secondly, Some other word or message from God to Elkanah or his wife concerning Samuel; for such revelations were frequent in those ages of the church, and were oft vouchsafed by God, concerning such children as were extraordinary persons, or in a special manner devoted to God; as concerning Isaac, Ge 18, and Samson, Judges 13:3,4, and John Baptist, Luke 1:13,14, &c., and others. And so it might be here, though it were not mentioned before, there being many such things in Scripture omitted in their proper places, which afterwards are expressed or implied upon other occasions. Or rather, thirdly, It may be rendered his matter, or thing, i.e. the business concerning the child, that which thou hast promised or vowed concerning him, that he may grow up, and be accepted and employed by God in his service; and that he, when he is fully grown, may not break thy vow, but confirm it. And Elkanah her husband said unto her, do what seemeth thee good,.... He spake like a kind and indulgent husband, knowing that she would not thereby break any law of God; and it might be more for her own health, and the health of the child, to stay longer:

tarry till thou have weaned him; when he would be more fit for the journey, and to be left behind:

only the Lord establish his word; which some understand of the prophecy of Eli that God would grant her request, which being delivered under the direction of the Spirit of God, is called his word; but this was already fulfilled, and established by Hannah's bearing a son: or the word "his" refers not to the Lord, but to Samuel, and so may respect the word which his mother spake concerning him; either when she made her vow, as Abendana, that he should be a perpetual Nazarite, and the Lord's as long as he lived: and so Elkanah wishes that he might have health and grow strong, and be fit for the service of the Lord, and live many years to perform it; or what she had just now said, as Abarbinel, that he should abide in the house of God for ever, or as long as he lived:

so the woman abode; at home, while Elkanah and his family went up to Shiloh:

and gave her son suck until she weaned him; did not put him out to a wet or dry nurse, but suckled him herself with what nature had provided for his nourishment, as becomes women to do, if their circumstances of health, and the provisions of nature, will admit of it.

And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish his {i} word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.

(i) Because her prayer took effect, therefore it was called the Lord's promise.

23. his word] No express promise of a son has been mentioned; Eli’s blessing in 1 Samuel 1:17 can scarcely be understood as such. But Samuel’s birth implied that Hannah’s prayer was heard, and Elkanah prays that it may receive a complete fulfilment. The Sept. reads “The Lord establish that which is gone forth out of thy mouth.”Eli then replied: "Go in peace, and the God of Israel give (grant) thy request (שׁלתך for שׁאלתך), which thou hast asked of Him." This word of the high priest was not a prediction, but a pious wish, which God in His grace most gloriously fulfilled.
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