1 Samuel 2:20
And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give you seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD. And they went to their own home.
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(20, 21) And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife. . . . And the Lord visited Hannah.—The blessing of Eli, a blessing which soon bore its fruit in the house of the pious couple,—his training of Samuel, and unswerving kindness to the boy (see following chapter),—his sorrow at his priestly sons’ wickedness,—his passionate love for his country, all indicate that the influence of the weak but loving high priest was ever exerted to keep the faith of the people pure, and the life of Israel white before the Lord. There were evidently two parties at Shiloh, the head-quarters of the national religion: the reckless, unbelieving section, headed by Hophni and Phinehas; and the God-fearing, law-loving partisans of the old Divine law, under the influence of the weak, but religious, Eli. These latter kept the lamp of the loved faith burning—though but dimly—among the covenant people until the days when the strong hand of Samuel took the helm of government in Israel.

1 Samuel 2:20-21. Eli blessed Elkanah, &c. — This benediction given in his character of high-priest, and that by a divine suggestion, was followed by the desired effect, and verified what Hannah had uttered in her prophetical song. The Lord visited Hannah — None are losers by what they dedicate to the Lord, or employ in such a manner as is pleasing in his sight. The child Samuel grew — Not only in age and stature, but especially in wisdom and goodness. Before the Lord — Not only before men, who might easily be deceived, but in the presence and judgment of the all-seeing God. This will generally be the case with those children whose parents dedicate them early to the Lord, and endeavour to instil into their minds the true and genuine principles of piety and virtue.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.A little coat - The robe of the ephod was also one of the garments worn by the High Priest (see Exodus 28:31 note). This pointed mention of the ephod and the robe as worn by the youthful Samuel, seems to point to an extraordinary and irregular priesthood to which he was called by God in an age when the provisions of the Levitical law were not yet in full operation, and in which there was no impropriety in the eyes of his contemporaries, seeing that nonconformity to the whole Law was the rule rather than the exception throughout the days of the Judges. 20. Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife—This blessing, like that which he had formerly pronounced, had a prophetic virtue; which, before long, appeared in the increase of Hannah's family (1Sa 2:21), and the growing qualifications of Samuel for the service of the sanctuary. As their superior, and God’s high priest, Eli blessed them in God’s name, and they received his blessing by faith, which made it effectual, 1 Samuel 2:21.

Seed, i.e. a child, or rather children, as the event showed.

For the loan which is lent to the Lord, or, for the petition, i.e. the thing desired, to wit, the child; which she, thy wife, asked of the Lord; or, for the Lord, as 1 Samuel 1:28, to whom accordingly she hath given them. And therefore as she asked him not so much for herself, for she seldom sees him, as for the Lord, to whose service she hath wholly devoted him; so now I pray that God would give you other children, for both your comfort and enjoyment. And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife,.... Not only the first time they brought Samuel to him, and left him with him; but every year they came to worship, as the Jewish commentators mostly interpret it:

and said, the Lord give thee seed of this woman; children by her, year after year:

for the loan which is lent to the Lord; instead of Samuel, who was asked of the Lord and given to him again; and as they were thereby in some measure deprived of him, and could not always enjoy him, and be delighted with him, Eli prayed for them, and gave them his benediction as a priest, that they might be favoured with other children, who might be of delight and service to them when in old age:

and they went unto their own home; at Ramah, as in 1 Samuel 2:11 or to his place (r), Elkanah's; hence Kimchi concludes that Hannah was of another city originally; but the Targum is,"to their place;''and indeed, what was now the place or home of the one, was of the other.

(r) "in locum suum", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius, &c.

And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD. And they went unto their own home.
20. for the loan which is lent] Better as in the margin, in return for the petition which she asked for Jehovah: i.e. in place of Samuel, for whom she prayed in order to dedicate him to God. Cp. 1 Samuel 1:11; 1 Samuel 1:27-28, and note on 1 Samuel 2:28.

unto their own home] Lit., “to his (Elkanah’s) place.” Cp. Genesis 18:33.Verses 20, 21. - The Lord give thee seed, etc. The manner in which Eli blesses Elkanah shows that this surrender of a very young child to religious service was not looked upon as imposing a burden upon the sanctuary, but as the bestowal of a valued gift. Loan and lent by no means give the whole sense, which is in fact beyond the power of our language to express; for the Hebrew is remarkable for its manner of saying a great deal in a few words, by using them indefinitely. Besides the sense, then, of lending the child to God, the Hebrews also conveys the idea of Samuel having been obtained by prayer, but by prayer for Jehovah. Hannah had not asked simply for a son, but for a son whom she might dedicate to God. And now Eli prays that Jehovah will give her children to be her own (see on ch. 1:28). ELI'S COMPLICITY IN THE SINS OF HIS SONS (vers. 22-26). "And the right of the priests towards the people was (the following)." Mishpat signifies the right which they had usurped to themselves in relation to the people. "If any one brought a sacrifice (זבח זבח כּל־אישׁ is placed first, and construed absolutely: 'as for every one who brought a slain-offering'), the priest's servant (lit. young man) came while the flesh was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, and thrust into the kettle, or pot, or bowl, or saucepan. All that the fork brought up the priest took. This they did to all the Israelites who came thither to Shiloh."
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