1 Samuel 2:36
And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left in your house shall come and crouch to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and shall say, Put me, I pray you, into one of the priests' offices, that I may eat a piece of bread.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1 Samuel 2:36. Every one that is left in thy house — That remains of thy family, not being cut off; shall crouch to him for a piece of silver, &c. — Shall humble himself to Zadok, or the high-priests of his line, begging a small relief in the great poverty to which he shall be reduced. Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests’ offices, &c. — Or, Put me into somewhat belonging to the priesthood, as it is in the Hebrew; that is, Give me the meanest pension that is allowed to those priests who are prohibited from officiating, or some part, of what belongs to the priests. See 2 Kings 23:9; Ezekiel 44:13. This was fulfilled in the days of Abiathar, who, for treason, was not only put out of his office, but sent to live upon his own farm in the country; and not suffered to enjoy the portion given to the priests at the temple, 1 Kings 2:26-27. Through this, his posterity fell into extreme want, in which the just judgment of God may be observed, in that the children of those who were so wanton, that they would not be content unless they had the choicest parts of the sacrifices for their portion, should fall into so low a condition as to beg their bread! 2:27-36 Those who allow their children in any evil way, and do not use their authority to restrain and punish them, in effect honour them more than God. Let Eli's example excite parents earnestly to strive against the beginnings of wickedness, and to train up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. In the midst of the sentence against the house of Eli, mercy is promised to Israel. God's work shall never fall to the ground for want of hands to carry it on. Christ is that merciful and faithful High Priest, whom God raised up when the Levitical priesthood was thrown off, who in all things did his Father's mind, and for whom God will build a sure house, build it on a rock, so that hell cannot prevail against it.A piece - The word is only found here; but is thought to be connected in etymology and in meaning with the "Gerah," the smallest Hebrew coin, being the twentieth part of the shekel. The smallness of the sum asked for shows the poverty of the asker. 32. thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation—A successful rival for the office of high priest shall rise out of another family (2Sa 15:35; 1Ch 24:3; 29:22). But the marginal reading, "thou shalt see the affliction of the tabernacle," seems to be a preferable translation. Crouch to him, in way of humble supplication. See 1 Kings 2:26;

A morsel of bread; whereas before they were so nice and delicate, that my liberal allowance could not satisfy them, but they must have their meat raw and fat, &c., above, 1 Samuel 2:13-16; so the punishment is suited to the nature of their sin.

Into one of the priests’ offices; into the meanest office belonging to it. See Ezekiel 44:10,11, &c.

Quest. How could they be reduced to so great straits, seeing, though they lost the high priesthood, they still were inferior priests, and had a right to those plentiful provisions which belonged to that order?

Answ. First, They might be degraded, not only from the office of the high priest, but also from that of the inferior priests, and consequently might forfeit and lose all the privileges belonging to their office. Secondly, This might be from the tyranny and violence of some of the succeeding priests of Eleazar’s line towards that other line, which had long stood in competition with them, and had for a season got away the priesthood from them; for this text only relates the matter of fact, but doth not express an approbation of it. And it shall come to pass, that everyone that is left in thine house,.... That is not cut off by death, the few remains of Eli's posterity in succeeding times, after the high priesthood was removed out of his family into another; so that they were reduced at best to common priests, and these, as it should seem, degraded from that office for their maladministration of it, or scandalous lives:

shall come and crouch to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread; which Grotius interprets of their coming to God, and bowing themselves before him, and praying to him for the smallest piece of money to cast into the treasury, and for a morsel of bread to be accepted as an offering, instead of a bullock, sheep, lamb, or even a bird, which they were not able to bring; but the meaning is, that such should be the low estate of Eli's family, when another, even Zadok, was made high priest, that they should come and humble themselves before him, as the Targum expresses it, beseeching him to give them a piece of silver, even the smallest piece, that is, as the word signifies, a "gerah" or "meah", about a penny or three halfpence of our money, the twentieth part of a shekel, Ezekiel 45:12 and a piece of bread, not a whole loaf, but a slice of it, to such extremity would they be brought:

and shall say, put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests' offices, that I may eat a piece of bread; or into one of the wards of the priests; their custodies or courses, as the Targum; with which the Jewish commentators generally agree, and of which there were twenty four; see 1 Chronicles 24:4, and there are some traces of them in the New Testament, see Luke 1:5, but these were regular priests, who were in those courses, and had a sufficient maintenance for them, and had not barely a piece of bread to live on, or just enough to keep them from starving, as the phrase denotes; wherefore this must be understood, as before hinted, of priests degraded from their office, on some account or another, and reduced to poverty and want; and therefore, that they might be kept from starving, would solicit the high priest in those days, and beg that he would put them in some inferior post under the priests, to do the meanest offices for them, slay the sacrifices for them, wash their pots, open and shut up doors, and the like, that so they might have a living, though a poor one; and this may reasonably be thought to be the case of Eli's posterity, in process of time, after Abiathar was deposed from the high priest's office, and was ordered to go and live upon his fields and farm at Anathoth, 1 Kings 2:26 with which compare Ezekiel 44:10. This, as Ben Gersom observes, was a fit punishment, and a righteous retaliation on Eli's posterity, that they should be brought to crouch to others, and be glad of a morsel of bread, who had behaved so imperiously towards the Lord's people, and had taken away their flesh from them by force; and, not content with their allowance, took the best pieces of the sacrifices, to make themselves fat with them.

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left in thine house shall come and {a} crouch to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and shall say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests' offices, that I may eat a piece of bread.

(a) That is, will be inferior to him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
36. crouch] Lit. bow himself down.

a piece of silver] The Heb. word means such a coin as beggars would receive.

a morsel of bread] Rather, a cake of bread. The same word is used in 1 Samuel 10:3 (E. V. loaves), and denotes a round flat cake or loaf.Verse 36. - Piece of silver is lit. a small silver coin got by begging and the word marks the extreme penury into which the race of Eli fell Gathered round the sanctuary at Shiloh, they were the chief sufferers by its ruin, and we have noticed how for a time they fall entirely out of view. During the miserable period of Philistine domination which followed, Samuel became to the oppressed nation a centre of hope, and by wise government he first reformed the people internally, and then gave them freedom from foreign rule. During this period we may be sure that he did much to raise from their misery the descendants of Eli, and finally Ahiah, Eli's grandson, ministers as high priest before Saul. Though his grandson, Abiathar, was deposed from the office by Solomon, there is no reason for imagining that the family ever again fell into distress, nor do the terms of the prophecy warrant such a supposition.



For this reason, the saying of the Lord, "Thy house (i.e., the family of Eli) and thy father's house (Eli's relations in the other lines, i.e., the whole priesthood) shall walk before me for ever" (Numbers 25:13), should henceforth run thus: "This be far from me; but them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be despised." The first declaration of the Lord is not to be referred to Eli particularly, as it is by C. a Lapide and others, and understood as signifying that the high-priesthood was thereby transferred from the family of Eleazar to that of Ithamar, and promised to Eli for his descendants for all time. This is decidedly at variance with the fact, that although "walking before the Lord" is not a general expression denoting a pious walk with God, as in Genesis 17:1, but refers to the service of the priests at the sanctuary as walking before the face of God, yet it cannot possibly be specially and exclusively restricted to the right of entering the most holy place, which was the prerogative of the high priest alone. These words of the Lord, therefore, applied to the whole priesthood, or the whole house of Aaron, to which the priesthood had been promised, "for a perpetual statute" (Exodus 29:9). This promise was afterwards renewed to Phinehas especially, on account of the zeal which he displayed for the honour of Jehovah in connection with the idolatry of the people at Shittim (Numbers 25:13). But even this renewed promise only secured to him an eternal priesthood as a covenant of peace with the Lord, and not specially the high-priesthood, although that was included as the culminating point of the priesthood. Consequently it was not abrogated by the temporary transfer of the high-priesthood from the descendants of Phinehas to the priestly line of Ithamar, because even then they still retained the priesthood. By the expression "be it far from me," sc., to permit this to take place, God does not revoke His previous promise, but simply denounces a false trust therein as irreconcilable with His holiness. That promise would only be fulfilled so far as the priests themselves honoured the Lord in their office, whilst despisers of God who dishonoured Him by sin and presumptuous wickedness, would be themselves despised.

This contempt would speedily come upon the house of Eli.

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