1 Samuel 2:4
The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.
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(4) The bows of the mighty men are broken.—God reverses human conditions, bringing low the wicked, and raising up the righteous.

Von Gerlach writes of these verses that “Every power which will be something in itself is destroyed by the Lord: every weakness which despairs of itself is transformed into power.” “The bows of the heroes,” that is to say, the heroes of the bow, the symbol of human power being poetically put first instead of the bearer of the symbol. The next line contains the antithesis: while the heroes rejoicing in their strength are shattered, the tottering, powerless ones are by Him made strong for battle.

1 Samuel 2:4. The bows of the mighty are broken — The strength of which they boasted. They that stumbled — Or, were weak and feeble. The great sense she had of God’s power, branches out itself into an humble acknowledgment of this glorious attribute, in divers instances. And, first, in vanquishing the most victorious; for bows were a principal part of warriors’ weapons, Psalm 44:6; and their girdles, being an important part of the military habit, are elegantly interpreted to signify strength and warlike prowess.

2:1-10 Hannah's heart rejoiced, not in Samuel, but in the Lord. She looks beyond the gift, and praises the Giver. She rejoiced in the salvation of the Lord, and in expectation of His coming, who is the whole salvation of his people. The strong are soon weakened, and the weak are soon strengthened, when God pleases. Are we poor? God made us poor, which is a good reason why we should be content, and make up our minds to our condition. Are we rich? God made us rich, which is a good reason why we should be thankful, and serve him cheerfully, and do good with the abundance he gives us. He respects not man's wisdom or fancied excellences, but chooses those whom the world accounts foolish, teaching them to feel their guilt, and to value his free and precious salvation. This prophecy looks to the kingdom of Christ, that kingdom of grace, of which Hannah speaks, after having spoken largely of the kingdom of providence. And here is the first time that we meet with the name MESSIAH, or his Anointed. The subjects of Christ's kingdom will be safe, and the enemies of it will be ruined; for the Anointed, the Lord Christ, is able to save, and to destroy.Any rock ... - The term rock as applied to God is first found in the song of Moses (see Deuteronomy 32:4 note), where the juxtaposition of rock and salvation in 1 Samuel 2:15, "he lightly esteemed the rock of his salvation," seems to indicate that Hannah was acquainted with the song of Moses. CHAPTER 2

1Sa 2:1-11. Hannah's Song in Thankfulness to God.

1. Hannah prayed, and said—Praise and prayer are inseparably conjoined in Scripture (Col 4:2; 1Ti 2:1). This beautiful song was her tribute of thanks for the divine goodness in answering her petition.

mine horn is exalted in the Lord—Allusion is here made to a peculiarity in the dress of Eastern women about Lebanon, which seems to have obtained anciently among the Israelite women, that of wearing a tin or silver horn on the forehead, on which their veil is suspended. Wives, who have no children, wear it projecting in an oblique direction, while those who become mothers forthwith raise it a few inches higher, inclining towards the perpendicular, and by this slight but observable change in their headdress, make known, wherever they go, the maternal character which they now bear.

This notes either,

1. The strength of which they boasted. See Psalm 44:6 46:9. Or,

2. Their malicious or mischievous designs. See Psalm 7:12 11:2 37:14. Or,

3. Their virulent tongues, which are compared to

bows that shoot their arrows, even bitter words; as it is said Psalm 64:3: compare Jeremiah 9:3. Or,

4. Their procreating virtue, which may well be compared to a bow, both because it is called a man’s strength, Genesis 49:3, and because children, which are the effects of it, and are as it were shot from that bow, are compared to arrows, Psalm 127:4,5. And this seems best to agree with the following verse.

They that stumbled; or, were weak, or feeble, in body and spirit, that had no strength to conceive, which was once Sarah’s case, Hebrews 11:11; or to bring forth, which was Israel’s condition under Hezekiah, 2 Kings 19:3.

Are girt with strength; are enabled both to conceive and to bring forth, as the church was, Isaiah 66:9.

The bows of the mighty men are broken,.... Hannah, from relating gracious experiences, and celebrating, the divine perfections of holiness, omniscience, and sovereignty, passes on to take notice of the dealings of God with men in providence and grace; bows are here put for all military arms, which men of might and war make use of, and which God can easily break in pieces, and so make war to cease in the earth, and hinder warlike men from doing what they design and attempt; they are enfeebled and weakened by him, and their hands cannot perform their enterprises: so the bows of Satan, and his principalities and powers, are broken, and his fiery darts are quenched, and the people of the Lord enabled to stand against him, and wrestle with him and them, being strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, as it follows:

and they that stumbled are girt with strength; who, through weakness, are ready to stumble at everything they meet with in the way; yet, being girded with strength by the Lord, are able to do great exploits, as David did, that being his case, Psalm 18:29, so such as are weak in grace, in faith, in knowledge, and ready to stumble at every trial and exercise, let it come from what quarter it will; yet being girded by the Lord with strength, are able to exercise grace, perform duty, go through every service they are called to, whether in a way of doing or suffering, to bear the yoke and cross of Christ, to oppose every enemy, to walk on in the ways of God, and to persevere in faith and holiness to the end.

The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.
4. The bows of the mighty men are broken, &c.] The bow was one of the chief weapons of war (2 Samuel 1:22). Its being broken is a natural symbol of defeat. “To be girded with strength” (Psalm 18:39) is a figure derived from the practice of “girding up the loins” in preparation for active exertion.

4, 5. This knowledge and justice apportion to all their due, and reverse conditions of life contrary to all expectation. Sennacherib’s host is annihilated: Gideon’s handful triumphs.

1 Samuel 2:4 4 Bow-heroes are confounded,

And stumbling ones gird themselves with strength;

5 Full ones hire themselves out for bread,

And hungry ones cease to be.

Yea, the barren beareth seven (children),

And she that is rich in children pines away.

6 The Lord kills and makes alive;

Leads down into hell, and leads up.

7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich,

Humbles and also exalts.

8 He raises mean ones out of the dust,

He lifts up poor ones out of the dunghill,

To set them beside the noble;

And He apportions to them the seat of glory:


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