1 Samuel 2:11
And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child did minister unto the LORD before Eli the priest.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(11-36) The Service of the boy Samuel in the Sanctuary—The Dissolute Life of the Sons of Eli—The Doom of the House of Ithamar.

(11) Elkanah went to Ramah.—These simple words just sketch out what took place after Hannah left her boy in Shiloh. Elkanah went home, and the old family life, with its calm religious trustfulness, flowed on in the quiet town of “Ramah of the Watchers” as it did aforetime; the only disturbing sorrowful element was removed in answer to the mother’s prayers, and little children grew up (1Samuel 2:21) round Hannah and Elkanah. But the life of the dedicated child Samuel was a different one; he lived under the shadow of the sanctuary, ministering with his child powers before the altar of the Invisible, and trained, we may well assume, in all the traditions and learning of Israel by the old high priest. The word “minister is the official term used to signify the duties performed by priests and Levites in connection with the service of God.

1 Samuel 2:11-12. The child did minister unto the Lord — As soon as he was capable, and in a way agreeable to his tender years, as in lighting the lamps, or in singing and playing on instruments of music. Before Eli the priest — That is, under the inspection and by the direction of Eli. The sons of Eli were sons of Belial — Very wicked men, Deuteronomy 13:13; being ungodly, profane, covetous, and guilty of violence and filthy lusts. They knew not the Lord — They had no experimental and practical knowledge of his justice or mercy, of his holiness or grace, of his power, or love, or faithfulness; no saving acquaintance with his divine perfections, or with the relations in which he stands to his people; they neither honoured, loved, nor served him.

2:11-26 Samuel, being devoted to the Lord in a special manner, was from a child employed about the sanctuary in the services he was capable of. As he did this with a pious disposition of mind, it was called ministering unto the Lord. He received a blessing from the Lord. Those young people who serve God as well as they can, he will enable to improve, that they may serve him better. Eli shunned trouble and exertion. This led him to indulge his children, without using parental authority to restrain and correct them when young. He winked at the abuses in the service of the sanctuary till they became customs, and led to abominations; and his sons, who should have taught those that engaged in the service of the sanctuary what was good, solicited them to wickedness. Their offence was committed even in offering the sacrifices for sins, which typified the atonement of the Saviour! Sins against the remedy, the atonement itself, are most dangerous, they tread under foot the blood of the covenant. Eli's reproof was far too mild and gentle. In general, none are more abandoned than the degenerate children of godly persons, when they break through restraints.The word "minister" is used in three senses in Scripture:

(1) of the service or ministration of both priests and Levites rendered unto the Lord Exodus 28:35, Exodus 28:43 :

(2) of the ministrations of the Levites as rendered to the priests, to aid them in divine Service Numbers 3:6 :

(3) of any service or ministration, especially one rendered to a man of God, as that of Joshua to Moses Numbers 11:28.

The application of it to Samuel as ministering to the Lord before Eli the priest accords "most exactly" with Samuel's condition as a Levite.

11. the child did minister unto the Lord before Eli the priest—He must have been engaged in some occupation suited to his tender age, as in playing upon the cymbals, or other instruments of music; in lighting the lamps, or similar easy and interesting services. In some way agreeable to his tender years, as in singing, or playing upon instruments of music, as they used then to do in God’s service; or lighting the lamps, or some other way. For I suppose Samuel was not brought to the tabernacle in such tender years as some think; of which See Poole "1 Samuel 1:22".

Before Eli the priest, i.e. under the inspection and by the direction and instruction of Eli.

And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house,.... Of which see 1 Samuel 1:19. This was after he had offered the sacrifices at the feast, worshipped the Lord, and Hannah had delivered her prayer or song of praise, and both had committed Samuel to the care of Eli, and left him with him:

and the child did minister unto the Lord before Eli the priest; he not only read in the book of the law, but learned to sing the praises of God vocally, and to play upon an instrument of music used in the service of God in those times, and to light the lamps in the tabernacle, and open and shut the doors of it, and the like; which were suitable to his age, and which might not be quite so tender as some have thought; or this may respect some small beginnings in the ministry of the sanctuary, in which he gradually increased under the inspection, guidance, and instruction of Eli, which is meant by ministering before him; the Targum is,"in the life of Eli the priest;''he began his ministration before his death.

And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child did minister unto the {i} LORD before Eli the priest.

(i) In all that Eli commanded him.

Verse 11. - The child did minister. Left by his parents at Shiloh, Samuel ministered unto the Lord; that is, certain duties were allotted him to perform suited to his age; but few at first, when he was but three years old, but increasing in importance as time went on; for the words refer to the whole period of his service, until Eli's death. At first Samuel would be but a scholar, for, as we have mentioned on 1 Samuel 1:21, there were, no doubt, regulations for the training of children devoted to the service of the sanctuary. The peculiarity about Samuel was that he was devoted for life, for possibly it was a not uncommon practice for young persons to receive some training at Shiloh; just as we find that Samuel himself subsequently gathered youths round him at Naioth in Ramah for educational purposes. Learning practically was confined to the priesthood, and we can scarcely imagine that the knowledge which Phinehas and the family of Aaron brought with them out of Egypt would be allowed to perish. Samuel certainly had himself received careful instruction (see on 1 Samuel 10:25), and this could scarcely have happened if the training of young persons had not been part of the priests' duties at Shiloh. This then explains why Samuel was brought to Eli at so tender an age, and why the charge of so young a child was undertaken without a murmur. Before Eli means under his general superintendence. Everything done at Shiloh was done before Eli, as being the chief ruler there. 1 Samuel 2:11Samuel the servant of the Lord under Eli. Ungodliness of the sons of Eli. - 1 Samuel 2:11 forms the transition to what follows. After Hannah's psalm of thanksgiving, Elkanah went back with his family to his home at Ramah, and the boy (Samuel) was serving, i.e., ministered to the Lord, in the presence of Eli the priest. The fact that nothing is said about Elkanah's wives going with him, does not warrant the interpretation given by Thenius, that Elkanah went home alone. It was taken for granted that his wives went with him, according to 1 Samuel 1:21 ("all his house"). את־יחוה שׁרת, which signifies literally, both here and in 1 Samuel 3:1, to serve the Lord, and which is used interchangeably with יי את־פּני שׁרת (1 Samuel 2:18), to serve in the presence of the Lord, is used to denote the duties performed both by priests and Levites in connection with the worship of God, in which Samuel took part, as he grew up, under the superintendence of Eli and according to his instruction.
1 Samuel 2:11 Interlinear
1 Samuel 2:11 Parallel Texts

1 Samuel 2:11 NIV
1 Samuel 2:11 NLT
1 Samuel 2:11 ESV
1 Samuel 2:11 NASB
1 Samuel 2:11 KJV

1 Samuel 2:11 Bible Apps
1 Samuel 2:11 Parallel
1 Samuel 2:11 Biblia Paralela
1 Samuel 2:11 Chinese Bible
1 Samuel 2:11 French Bible
1 Samuel 2:11 German Bible

Bible Hub

1 Samuel 2:10
Top of Page
Top of Page