1 Samuel 2:9
He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) He will keep the feet.—This was the comforting deduction Hannah drew from the circumstances of her life: this the grave moral reflection the Spirit of the Lord bade her put down for the support and solace of all true servants of the Eternal in coming ages. Seeing that Jehovah of Israel governs the world, the righteous have nothing really to fear; it is only the wicked and rebellious who have reason to be afraid. The Babylonian Talmud has the following comment on these words:—“If any man has passed the greater part of his years without sin, he will sin no more. If a man has been able to resist the same temptation once or twice, he will sin no more; for it is said (1Samuel 2:9), ‘He will keep the feet of his saints.’”—Treatise Yoma, fol. 38, Colossians 2.

By strength shall no man prevail.—The same thought is expressed very grandly by the prophet, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6). The Holy Ghost, in one of the sublime visions of St. Paul, taught the suffering apostle the same great truth, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2Corinthians 12:9).

1 Samuel 2:9. He will keep the feet of his saints — That is, will both uphold their steps or paths, and direct their counsels and actions, that they may not fall into ruin, nor wander into those fatal errors into which wicked men daily run. The wicked shall be silent in darkness — They who used to open their mouths wide in speaking against heaven and against the saints, shall be so confounded with the unexpected disappointment of all their hopes, and with God’s glorious appearance and operations for his people, that they shall be put to silence, and have their mouths quite stopped: and this in darkness, both internal, in their own minds, not knowing what to do or say; and external, through outward troubles, distress, and calamities. For by strength shall no man prevail — Namely, against God, or against his saints, as the wicked are ready to think they shall do, because of their great power, wealth, and numbers.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.See an instance in 1 Samuel 2:36. See, too, in Ezekiel 13:19, another example of hire paid in bread.

Ceased - i. e. were at rest, did no work. The general sense is expressed by the translation of the Latin Version, "they were filled."

8. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill—The dunghill, a pile of horse, cow, or camel offal, heaped up to dry in the sun, and used as fuel, was, and is, one of the common haunts of the poorest mendicants; and the change that had been made in the social position of Hannah, appeared to her grateful heart as auspicious and as great as the elevation of a poor despised beggar to the highest and most dignified rank.

inherit the throne of glory—that is, possesses seats of honor.

The feet, i.e. the steps or paths, their counsels and actions, he will

keep, i.e. both uphold, that they may not fall, at least, into mischief or utter ruin; and direct and preserve from wandering, and from those fatal mistakes and errors that wicked men daily run into.

Shall be silent; shall be put to silence: they who used to open their mouths wide against heaven, and against the saints, shall be so confounded with the unexpected disappointment of all their hopes, and with God’s glorious appearance and operations for his people, that they shall have their months quite stopped, and sit down in silent amazement and consternation: see Isaiah 15:1 Jeremiah 8:14 47:5,6.

In darkness; both inward, in their own minds, which are wholly in the dark, perplexed by their own choice and counsels, not knowing what to say or do; and outward, in a state of deepest distress and misery.

By strength shall no man prevail, to wit, against God, or against his saints, as the wicked were confident they should do, because of their great power, and wealth, and numbers; whereas God’s people were mean, and impotent, and helpless. And particularly, Peninnah shall not prevail against me by that strength which she hath, or thinks to have, from her numerous offspring. But it is to bc observed, that although Hannah takes the rise of this song from her own condition, yet she extends her thoughts and words further, even to the usual methods of God’s providence in the government of the world. He will keep the feet of his saints,.... Now follow promises and prophecies of future things respecting the Israel of God, either in a literal or spiritual sense. By "his saints" are meant not angels, though they are his Holy Ones, but men, and a body of them; who though unholy in themselves, nor can they make themselves holy, yet are made so by the grace of God, in consequence of electing grace, by which they are chosen to be holy, from Christ the source and spring of all holiness, by the Holy Spirit of God, as the efficient cause, and which is done in the effectual calling; hence they live holy lives and conversations, though not altogether without sin in the present state. The word also signifies such to whom God has been kind and gracious, and on whom he has bestowed blessings of goodness, and who are bountiful and beneficent to others. These are the Lord's, whom he has set apart for himself, and has sanctified in Christ, and by his Spirit; and of these he is keeper, not angels, nor ministers of the word, nor themselves, but the Lord himself is the keeper of them; and who is an able, faithful, tender and compassionate, constant and everlasting keeper of them; and particularly he keeps their "feet"; he indeed keeps their whole persons, their bodies and souls; the members of their bodies, and the powers of their souls, their head, their heart, their affections, from turning aside from him; he guides, directs, and orders all their actions and goings; he keeps their feet in his own ways, where he has guided them; he keeps them in Christ the way, and in all the paths of faith, truth, righteousness, and holiness, and in the way everlasting: he keeps them from falling; for though they are liable to fall into sin, and by temptation, and from a lively exercise of grace, yet not totally and finally; they are secured from it by his love to them; the promises he has made them; his power exerted on their behalf; their being in the hands of Christ, and the glory of all the three Persons concerned herein:

and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; sin has spread darkness over all human nature; every man is born and brought up in darkness, and walks in it: a state of unregeneracy is a state of darkness, in which wicked men continue; and they are in the dark about God, the perfections of his nature, his mind and will, word and worship; about Christ, and the way of life, peace, and salvation by him; about their own state and condition by nature, and the danger they are in; about the nature and necessity of regeneration; and about the Scriptures, and the doctrines of the Gospel; and living and dying; in such a state, darkness, blackness of darkness, is their portion forever: so the Targum,"the wicked in hell in darkness shall be judged:''and it is said they shall be "silent" in it; they are quiet, easy, and content in the state of natural darkness in which they are; they neither do nor will understand; they do not care to come to the light, but shun the means of light and knowledge; they have nothing to say of God, of Christ, of the Spirit of God, or of divine things; they can talk enough of evil things, and pour them out in great plenty, but not of any good; and when their evils are charged upon them by the law, their mouths are stopped, and they pronounced guilty, and have nothing to say why justice and judgment should not take place; and so they will be silent and speechless at the great day of judgment. Some interpret it, they shall be "cut off in darkness"; so Kimchi and Ben Melech; that is, by death, by the hand of God, by the sword of justice:

for by strength shall no man prevail; which is a reason both why God will keep his saints, and why the wicked shall be silent, or cut off and perish: with respect to good men, they are not saved, kept, and preserved by their own strength; they are not saved without a righteousness, without regeneration, without repentance towards God, and faith in Christ; neither of which they can perform in their own strength: nor can a saint keep himself from, or prevail over his spiritual enemies of himself, not over sin, nor Satan, nor the world; but it is by the power of God that he is kept through faith unto salvation: and with respect to wicked men, these shall not prevail by their strength over good men, or the church, who are built upon a rock, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail; nor can the wicked so prevail by their strength as to hinder their being cut off, and cast into outer darkness; they have no power over the spirit to retain it in the day of death; and whether they will or not, they shall be cast into hell, and go into everlasting punishment.

He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. It is Jehovah who guards His chosen ones from stumbling in their walk through life (Psalm 56:13; Psalm 91:12); It is He who leaves the wicked to languish in adversity (Job 5:14) or perish miserably (Psalm 31:17; Psalm 55:23); for apart from Him or in opposition to Him human strength is impotence (Zechariah 4:6).

his saints] Rather, His beloved, or, His chosen. The Heb. word means (a) one who is the object of mercy, and does not in itself imply holiness of character, but is used of Israel as the covenant people, the objects of Jehovah’s lovingkindness: (b) in an active sense, merciful, of God (Jeremiah 3:12): of men (2 Samuel 22:26).

shall be silent] “Shall be silenced,” or, “perish.”Verse 9. - The feet of his saints. The Hebrews written text (ch'tib) has his saint, sing.; but the word really means not saint, i.e. one sanctified and holy, but pious, i.e. one lovingly disposed towards God. The sense, therefore, is not affected by the number, but the sing. is more forcible "He will guard the steps, the earthly course, of each one that loveth him;" while over against this watchful providence, ever exerted for the safe keeping of all who love the light, stands God's punitive justice, whereby the wicked are finally brought down to the dark silence of the grave. For they had only human strength and prowess upon which to depend, and no man can sustain himself in the manifold conflict of life without help from above. 2 None is holy as the Lord; for there is none beside Thee;

And no rock is as our God.

3 Speak ye not much lofty, lofty;

Let (not) insolence go out of thy mouth!

For the Lord is an omniscient God,

And with Him deeds are weighed.

God manifests himself as holy in the government of the kingdom of His grace by His guidance of the righteous to salvation (see at Exodus 19:6). But holiness is simply the moral reflection of the glory of the one absolute God. This explains the reason given for His holiness, viz., "there is not one (a God) beside thee" (cf. 2 Samuel 22:32). As the holy and only One, God is the rock (vid., Deuteronomy 32:4, Deuteronomy 32:15; Psalm 18:3) in which the righteous can always trust. The wicked therefore should tremble before His holiness, and not talk in their pride of the lofty things which they have accomplished or intend to perform. גּבהה is defined more precisely in the following clause, which is also dependent upon אל by the word עתק, as insolent words spoken by the wicked against the righteous (see Psalm 31:19). For Jehovah hears such words; He is "a God of knowledge" (Deus scientiarum), a God who sees and knows every single thing. The plural דּעות has an intensive signification. עללות נתכּנוּ לא might be rendered "deeds are not weighed, or equal" (cf. Ezekiel 18:25-26; Ezekiel 33:17). But this would only apply to the actions of men; for the acts of God are always just, or weighed. But an assertion respecting the actions of men does not suit the context. Hence this clause is reckoned in the Masora as one of the passages in which לא stands for לו (see at Exodus 21:8). "To Him (with Him) deeds are weighed:" that is to say, the acts of God are weighed, i.e., equal or just. This is the real meaning according to the passages in Ezekiel, and not "the actions of men are weighed by Him" (De Wette, Maurer, Ewald, etc.): for God weighs the minds and hearts of men (Proverbs 16:2; Proverbs 21:2; Proverbs 24:12), not their actions. This expression never occurs. The weighed or righteous acts of God are described in 1 Samuel 2:4-8 in great and general traits, as displayed in the government of His kingdom through the marvellous changes which occur in the circumstances connected with the lives of the righteous and the wicked.

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