The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.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.
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.
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.
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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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 1:11.), and said, "For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath granted me my request which I asked of Him: therefore I also make him one asked of the Lord all the days that he liveth; he is asked of the Lord." וגם אנכי: I also; et ego vicissim (Cler.). השׁאיל, to let a person ask, to grant his request, to give him what he asks (Exodus 12:36), signifies here to make a person "asked" (שׁאוּל). The meaning to lend, which the lexicons give to the word both here and Exodus 12:36, has no other support than the false rendering of the lxx, and is altogether unsuitable both in the one and the other. Jehovah had not lent the son to Hannah, but had given him (see 1 Samuel 1:11); still less could a man lend his son to the Lord. The last clause of 1 Samuel 1:28, "and he worshipped the Lord there," refers to Elkanah, qui in votum Hannae consenserat, and not to Samuel. On a superficial glance, the plural ישׁתּחווּ, which is found in some Codd., and in the Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic, appears the more suitable; but when we look more closely at the connection in which the clause stands, we see at once that it does not wind up the foregoing account, but simply introduces the closing act of the transference of Samuel. Consequently the singular is perfectly appropriate; and notwithstanding the fact that the subject is not mentioned, the allusion to Samuel is placed beyond all doubt. When Hannah had given up her son to the high priest, his father Elkanah first of all worshipped before the Lord in the sanctuary, and then Hannah worshipped in the song of praise, which follows in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.
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