1 Samuel 3:15
And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) And opened the doors.—This is another notice which indicates that the sanctuary of Shiloh was enclosed in a house or temple. We have no record of the building of the first house of the Lord, but from the references contained in the record of Samuel’s childhood it is clear that the sacred Tabernacle had been for some time enclosed by, and perhaps covered in with, permanent buildings.

Feared.—“Here was Samuel’s first experience of the prophet’s cross: the having unwelcome truth to divulge to those he loved, honoured, and feared. Jeremiah felt this cross to be an exceedingly heavy one” (Jeremiah 15:10; Jeremiah 17:15-18; Jeremiah 20:7-18).—Speaker’s Commentary.

1 Samuel 3:15. Opened the doors — Although the tabernacle, while it was to be removed from place to place in the wilderness, had no doors, but consisted only of curtains, and had hangings before the entrance, instead of doors; yet when it was settled in one place, as now it was in Shiloh, it was enclosed within some solid building which had doors and posts, and other parts, belonging to it. Feared to show Eli the vision — The matter of the vision or revelation, partly from the reverence he bore to his person, to whom he was loath to be a messenger of such sad tidings; partly lest, if he had been hasty to utter it, Eli should think him guilty of arrogancy or secret complacency in his calamity.

3:11-18 What a great deal of guilt and corruption is there in us, concerning which we may say, It is the iniquity which our own heart knoweth; we are conscious to ourselves of it! Those who do not restrain the sins of others, when it is in their power to do it, make themselves partakers of the guilt, and will be charged as joining in it. In his remarkable answer to this awful sentence, Eli acknowledged that the Lord had a right to do as he saw good, being assured that he would do nothing wrong. The meekness, patience, and humility contained in those words, show that he was truly repentant; he accepted the punishment of his sin.Opened the doors - We learn thus incidentally the nature of some of Samuel's duties. This duty was quite Levitical in its character. In the interval between Josh and David, when the tabernacle was stationary for the most part, it may have lost something of its "tent" character, and among other changes have had doors instead of the hanging.

Samuel feared to show Eli the vision - Here was Samuel's first experience of the prophet's cross: the having unwelcome truth to divulge to those he loved, honored, and feared. Compare the case of Jeremiah Jer 15:10; Jeremiah 17:15-18; Jeremiah 20:7-18.

5-18. he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me—It is evident that his sleeping chamber was close to that of the aged high priest and that he was accustomed to be called during the night. The three successive calls addressed to the boy convinced Eli of the divine character of the speaker, and he therefore exhorted the child to give a reverential attention to the message. The burden of [the Lord's message] was an extraordinary premonition of the judgments that impended over Eli's house; and the aged priest, having drawn the painful secret from the child, exclaimed, "It is the Lord; let him do what seemeth him good." Such is the spirit of meek and unmurmuring submission in which we ought to receive the dispensations of God, however severe and afflictive. But, in order to form a right estimate of Eli's language and conduct on this occasion, we must consider the overwhelming accumulation of judgments denounced against his person, his sons, his descendants—his altar, and nation. With such a threatening prospect before him, his piety and meekness were wonderful. In his personal character he seems to have been a good man, but his sons' conduct was flagrantly bad; and though his misfortunes claim our sympathy, it is impossible to approve or defend the weak and unfaithful course which, in the retributive justice of God, brought these adversities upon him. Opened the doors of the house of the Lord: although the tabernacle, whilst it was to be removed from place to place in the wilderness, had no doors, but consisted only of curtains, and had only hangings before the entrance, instead of doors; yet when it was settled in one place, as now it was in Shiloh, where it had been for a long time, it is more than probable, both from this place, and by comparing 1 Samuel 1:9 2 Samuel 6:17, and from the nature and reason of the thing, that it was enclosed within some solid building, which had doors, and posts, and other parts belonging to it.

The vision, i.e. the matter of the vision or revelation, partly from the reverence and respect he bore to his person, to whom he was loth to be a messenger of such sad tidings; partly lest if he had been hasty to utter it, Eli might think him guilty of arrogancy or secret complacency in his calamity, which was like to tend to Samuel’s advancement. And not being commanded by God to acquaint Eli herewith, he prudently suspended the publication of it till a fit occasion were offered, which he might reasonably expect in a very little time, knowing that Eli would be greedy to know the matter of that revelation, the preface whereof he was acquainted with; and that it would be less offensive, and therefore more useful to Eli, when he saw that Samuel was not puffed up with it, nor forward to vent it, until Eli forced it from him.

And Samuel lay until the morning,.... It is not said he slept; it can hardly be thought he should, when it is considered what a new, strange, and uncommon thing had befallen him; what honour had been conferred on him a child, that the Lord should vouchsafe to speak and communicate his mind to him, and what dreadful things were said of Eli's family; all which must greatly affect his mind, and keep him waking: however, he lay musing thereon until morning, and then arose:

and opened the doors of the house of the Lord; as he had used to do, and which was the business of the Levites; though he had been so highly honoured, he was not elated with it, nor thought himself above so low and mean an employment in the house of God; nor did he run to Eli or others, boasting of what he had met with that night, but modestly and carefully attended to what was his common and constant employment every morning:

and Samuel feared to show Eli the vision; the vision of prophecy, as the Targum; what God had foretold should befall him and his family, lest he should be grieved on more accounts than one; partly because he, an old man, an high priest, and judge of Israel, was overlooked and neglected, and the prophecy was delivered to a child, and not to him; and partly because of the sad things that should come upon his family.

And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to show Eli the vision.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15–18. The Message delivered to Eli

15. the doors of the house of the Lord.] As the tabernacle was closed by a curtain only, we must suppose that the doors of the enclosure in which it stood are meant. See note on 1 Samuel 1:9. We here learn incidentally the nature of the service which Samuel performed at Shiloh. He acted as a subordinate Levite. Cp. 1 Chronicles 15:23; Psalm 84:10.

Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision] He naturally shrank from delivering the fatal message to one whom he loved and revered.

Verse 15. - Samuel... opened the doors. In Exodus 26:36; Exodus 36:37, the word used, though translated door, really means an opening, protected by a hanging curtain. The word used here means double or folding doors of wood, and we must therefore conclude that solid buildings had grown up round the tabernacle (see on 1 Samuel 1:9), and a wall for its defence in case of invasion, or the assault of predatory tribes. The confiding the keys of these enclosures to Samuel shows that he was no longer a mere child, or he would have been incapable of holding a position of such high trust (on the key as an emblem of authority see Isaiah 22:22). Vision, as noticed above on ver. 10, means something seen by a person awake and in full possession of his senses. 1 Samuel 3:15Samuel then slept till the morning; and when he opened the doors of the house of Jehovah, he was afraid to tell Eli of the revelation which he had received. Opening the doors of the house of God appears to have been part of Samuel's duty. We have not to think of doors opening into the holy place, however, but of doors leading into the court. Originally, when the tabernacle was simply a tent, travelling with the people from place to place, it had only curtains at the entrance to the holy place and court. But when Israel had become possessed of fixed houses in the land of Canaan, and the dwelling-place of God was permanently erected at Shiloh, instead of the tents that were pitched for the priests and Levites, who encamped round about during the journey through the desert, there were erected fixed houses, which were built against or inside the court, and not only served as dwelling-places for the priests and Levites who were officiating, but were also used for the reception and custody of the gifts that were brought as offerings to the sanctuary. These buildings in all probability supplanted entirely the original tent-like enclosure around the court; so that instead of the curtains at the entrance, there were folding doors, which were shut in the evening and opened again in the morning. It is true that nothing is said about the erection of these buildings in our historical books, but the fact itself is not to be denied on that account. In the case of Solomon's temple, notwithstanding the elaborate description that has been given of it, there is nothing said about the arrangement or erection of the buildings in the court; and yet here and there, principally in Jeremiah, the existence of such buildings is evidently assumed. מראה, visio, a sign or vision. This expression is applied to the word of God which came to Samuel, because it was revealed to him through the medium of an inward sight or intuition.
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