1 Samuel 2:36
And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left in thine house shall come and 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.
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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.



1 Samuel 2:36Whoever, on the other hand, should still remain of Eli's house, would come "bowing before him (to get) a silver penny and a slice of bread," and would say, "Put me, I pray, in one of the priests' offices, that I may get a piece of bread to eat." אגורה, that which is collected, signifies some small coin, of which a collection was made by begging single coins. Commentators are divided in their opinions as to the historical allusions contained in this prophecy. By the "tried priest," Ephraem Syrus understood both the prophet Samuel and the priest Zadok. "As for the facts themselves," he says, "it is evident that, when Eli died, Samuel succeeded him in the government, and that Zadok received the high-priesthood when it was taken from his family." Since his time, most of the commentators, including Theodoret and the Rabbins, have decided in favour of Zadok. Augustine, however, and in modern times Thenius and O. v. Gerlach, give the preference to Samuel. The fathers and earlier theologians also regarded Samuel and Zadok as the type of Christ, and supposed the passage to contain a prediction of the abrogation of the Aaronic priesthood by Jesus Christ.

(Note: Theodoret, qu. vii. in 1 Reg. Οὐκοῦν ἡ πρόῤῥησις κυρίως μὲν ἁρμόττει τῷ σωτὴρι Χριστῷ. Κατὰ δὲ ἱστορίαν τῷ Σαδούκ, ὅς ἐκ τοῦ Ἐλεάζαρ κατάγων τὸ γένος τὴν ἀρχιερωσύνην διὰ τοῦ Σολομῶνος ἐδέξατο. Augustine says (De civit. Dei xvii. 5, 2): "Although Samuel was not of a different tribe from the one which had been appointed by the Lord to serve at the altar, he was not of the sons of Aaron, whose descendants had been set apart as priests; and thus the change is shadowed forth, which was afterwards to be introduced through Jesus Christ." And again, 3: "What follows (1 Samuel 2:35) refers to that priest, whose figure was borne by Samuel when succeeding to Eli." So again in the Berleburger Bible, to the words, "I will raise me up a faithful priest," this note is added: "Zadok, of the family of Phinehas and Eleazar, whom king Solomon, as the anointed of God, appointed high priest by his ordinance, setting aside the house of Eli (1 Kings 2:35; 1 Chronicles 29:22). At the same time, just as in the person of Solomon the Spirit of prophecy pointed to the true Solomon and Anointed One, so in this priest did He also point to Jesus Christ the great High Priest.")

This higher reference of the words is in any case to be retained; for the rabbinical interpretation, by which Grotius, Clericus, and others abide, - namely, that the transfer of the high-priesthood from the descendants of Eli to Zadok, the descendant of Eleazar, is all that is predicted, and that the prophecy was entirely fulfilled when Abiathar was deposed by Solomon (1 Kings 2:27), - is not in accordance with the words of the text. On the other hand, Theodoret and Augustine both clearly saw that the words of Jehovah, "I revealed myself to thy father's house in Egypt," and, "Thy house shall walk before me for ever," do not apply to Ithamar, but to Aaron. "Which of his fathers," says Augustine, "was in that Egyptian bondage, form which they were liberated when he was chosen to the priesthood, excepting Aaron? It is with reference to his posterity, therefore, that it is here affirmed that they would not be priests for ever; and this we see already fulfilled." The only thing that appears untenable is the manner in which the fathers combine this historical reference to Eli and Samuel, or Zadok, with the Messianic interpretation, viz., either by referring 1 Samuel 2:31-34 to Eli and his house, and then regarding the sentence pronounced upon Eli as simply a type of the Messianic fulfilment, or by admitting the Messianic allusion simply as an allegory.

The true interpretation may be obtained from a correct insight into the relation in which the prophecy itself stands to its fulfilment. Just as, in the person of Eli and his sons, the threat announces deep degradation and even destruction to all the priests of the house of Aaron who should walk in the footsteps of the sons of Eli, and the death of the two sons of Eli in one day was to be merely a sign that the threatened punishment would be completely fulfilled upon the ungodly priests; so, on the other hand, the promise of the raising up of the tried priest, for whom God would build a lasting house, also refers to all the priests whom the Lord would raise up as faithful servants of His altar, and only receives its complete and final fulfilment in Christ, the true and eternal High Priest. But if we endeavour to determine more precisely from the history itself, which of the Old Testament priests are included, we must not exclude either Samuel or Zadok, but must certainly affirm that the prophecy was partially fulfilled in both. Samuel, as the prophet of the Lord, was placed at the head of the nation after the death of Eli; so that he not only stepped into Eli's place as judge, but stood forth as priest before the Lord and the nation, and "had the important and sacred duty to perform of going before the anointed, the king, whom Israel was to receive through him; whereas for a long time the Aaronic priesthood fell into such contempt, that, during the general decline of the worship of God, it was obliged to go begging for honour and support, and became dependent upon the new order of things that was introduced by Samuel" (O. v. Gerlach). Moreover, Samuel acquired a strong house in the numerous posterity that was given to him by God. The grandson of Samuel was Heman, "the king's seer in the words of God," who was placed by David over the choir at the house of God, and had fourteen sons and three daughters (1 Chronicles 6:33; 1 Chronicles 25:4-5). But the very fact that these descendants of Samuel did not follow their father in the priesthood, shows very clearly that a lasting house was not built to Samuel as a tried priest through them, and therefore that we have to seek for the further historical fulfilment of this promise in the priesthood of Zadok. As the word of the Lord concerning the house of Eli, even if it did not find its only fulfilment in the deposition of Abiathar (1 Kings 2:27), was at any rate partially fulfilled in that deposition; so the promise concerning the tried priest to be raised up received a new fulfilment in the fact that Zadok thereby became the sole high priest, and transmitted the office to his descendants, though this was neither its last nor its highest fulfilment. This final fulfilment is hinted at in the vision of the new temple, as seen by the prophet Ezekiel, in connection with which the sons of Zadok are named as the priests, who, because they had not fallen away with the children of Israel, were to draw near to the Lord, and perform His service in the new organization of the kingdom of God as set forth in that vision (Ezekiel 40:46; Ezekiel 43:19; Ezekiel 44:15; Ezekiel 48:11). This fulfilment is effected in connection with Christ and His kingdom. Consequently, the anointed of the Lord, before whom the tried priest would walk for ever, is not Solomon, but rather David, and the Son of David, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.

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