1 Samuel 7:9
And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him.
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1 Samuel 7:9. Samuel took a sucking lamb — For after a lamb was eight days old, it was fit to be sacrificed to God, Exodus 22:30; Leviticus 17:27. And offered it for a burnt-offering — For though he was not a priest, nor this place appointed for sacrifice, yet as a prophet he had authority from God to build an altar anywhere and offer sacrifices. Thus other holy men, Gideon and Manoah, were warranted to offer extraordinary sacrifices, in places which God had not before appointed. And thus we read of an altar he built in another place, 1 Samuel 7:17, as Elijah did in following times. And Samuel cried unto the Lord — He made intercession with the sacrifice. So Christ intercedes in virtue of his satisfaction. And in all our prayers we must have an eye to his great oblation, depending on him for audience and acceptance. And the Lord heard him — Probably God answered Samuel as he did Manoah, by sending fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice, in testimony of his acceptance of it.

7:7-12 The Philistines invaded Israel. When sinners begin to repent and reform, they must expect that Satan will muster all his force against them, and set his instruments at work to the utmost, to oppose and discourage them. The Israelites earnestly beg Samuel to pray for them. Oh what a comfort it is to all believers, that our great Intercessor above never ceases, is never silent! for he always appears in the presence of God for us. Samuel's sacrifice, without his prayer, had been an empty shadow. God gave a gracious answer. And Samuel erected a memorial of this victory, to the glory of God, and to encourage Israel. Through successive generations, the church of God has had cause to set up Eben-ezers for renewed deliverances; neither outward persecutions nor inward corruptions have prevailed against her, because hitherto the Lord hath helped her: and he will help, even to the end of the world.Samuel's preparation for intercessory prayer, namely, the offering up an atoning sacrifice, is most significant (compare Luke 1:9-10). The term here used for a "lamb" does not occur in the Pentateuch; indeed it is only found besides this place in Isaiah 65:25. The offering is in accordance with Leviticus 22:27.

The Lord heard him - Better as in margin. The "answer" was not simply the granting the asked-for deliverance, but the great thunder 1 Samuel 7:10, which was "the voice of the Lord," the same voice with which the Lord answered Moses Exodus 19:19; Psalm 99:6.

1Sa 7:7-14. While Samuel Prays, the Philistines Are Discomfited.

7-11. when the Philistines heard, &c.—The character and importance of the national convention at Mizpeh were fully appreciated by the Philistines. They discerned in it the rising spirit of religious patriotism among the Israelites that was prepared to throw off the yoke of their domination. Anxious to crush it at the first, they made a sudden incursion while the Israelites were in the midst of their solemn celebration. Unprepared for resistance, they besought Samuel to supplicate the divine interposition to save them from their enemies. The prophet's prayers and sacrifice were answered by such a tremendous storm of thunder and lightning that the assailants, panic-struck, were disordered and fled. The Israelites, recognizing the hand of God, rushed courageously on the foe they had so much dreaded and committed such immense havoc, that the Philistines did not for long recover from this disastrous blow. This brilliant victory secured peace and independence to Israel for twenty years, as well as the restitution of the usurped territory.

It might be a sucking lamb, though it was more than eight days old, and so that law, Exodus 23:19, was not violated.

Offered it; either himself by Divine instinct, which was a sufficient warrant; or rather by a priest, as Saul is afterwards said to have offered, 1 Samuel 13:9.

A burnt-offering wholly; burning all the parts of it, according to the law of the burnt-offerings; whereas in other offerings some parts were reserved.

The Lord heard him, as appears by the effects, the following thunder, and the overthrow of the Philistines’ host.

And Samuel took a sucking lamb,.... Which it might be, and yet more than eight days old, for under that it might not be sacrificed, Exodus 22:30.

and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the Lord; the whole of it was burnt, skin and all, whereas the skin was the priest's in other burnt offerings; and this is remarked (m) as one of the three things in which it differed from other offerings; the word being feminine, the Jews gather from hence, as Jarchi notes, that females might be offered at a private altar:

and Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel; not only offered a sacrifice for them, but prayed for them:

and the Lord heard him; and answered him, either by causing fire to come down on the sacrifice, by which it was consumed, or by the voice of thunder, which frightened and discomfited the Philistines; and the event of things manifestly showed it.

(m) Midrash Schemuel apud Abarbinel in loc.

And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him.
9. a sucking lamb] Which might not be less than seven days old, according to Leviticus 22:17.

for a burnt offering wholly unto the Lord] The whole animal was burnt upon the altar to denote the entire consecration to Jehovah of those who were pleading for deliverance.

and the Lord heard him] Better, answered him. Cp. Psalm 99:6, and note on 1 Samuel 7:5.

Verse 9. - And Samuel took a sucking lamb. Samuel now appears as priest, and makes intercession and atonement for them. The lamb was at least seven days old, for so the law required (Leviticus 22:27), but probably not much older; for the word, a rare one, occurring elsewhere only in Isaiah 65:25, means something small and tender: this then he offered for a burnt offering wholly unto Jehovah. The A.V. translates in this way because chalil, "whole," is masculine, while olah, "a burnt offering," is feminine; but chalil had in course of time come to be used as a substantive (Leviticus 6:23; Deuteronomy 13:16; Deuteronomy 33:10), and is really here in opposition to olah, and so the two together signify "a whole burnt offering," and clearly indicate that the lamb was entirely consumed by fire. Olah means that which ascends, and symbolised devotion and consecration to God. Chalil intensified this signification, and showed that all was God's, and no part whatsoever reserved for the priest or the offerer. And thus then Samuel's burnt offering implied that the people gave themselves unreservedly to Jehovah. And Jehovah heard him. Really, "Jehovah answered him," by the thunder mentioned in ver. 10. For thunder was regarded as God's voice (1 Samuel 2:10), and in Psalm 29. we have a poetic description of its majesty and power. Express mention is also made in Psalm 99:6 of Jehovah having thus answered the prayers of Moses (Exodus 19:19), and of Samuel. 1 Samuel 7:9When they had assembled together here, "they drew water and poured it out before Jehovah, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the Lord." Drawing water and pouring it out before Jehovah was a symbolical act, which has been thus correctly explained by the Chaldee, on the whole: "They poured out their heart like water in penitence before the Lord." This is evident from the figurative expressions, "poured out like water," in Psalm 22:15, and "pour out thy heart like water," in Lamentations 2:19, which are used to denote inward dissolution through pain, misery, and distress (see 2 Samuel 14:14). Hence the pouring out of water before God was a symbolical representation of the temporal and spiritual distress in which they were at the time, - a practical confession before God, "Behold, we are before Thee like water that has been poured out;" and as it was their own sin and rebellion against God that had brought this distress upon them, it was at the same time a confession of their misery, and an act of the deepest humiliation before the Lord. They gave a still further practical expression to this humiliation by fasting (צוּם), as a sign of their inward distress of mind on account of their sin, and an oral confession of their sin against the Lord. By the word שׁם, which is added to ויּאמרוּ, "they said "there," i.e., at Mizpeh, the oral confession of their sin is formally separated from the two symbolical acts of humiliation before God, though by this very separation it is practically placed on a par with them. What they did symbolically by the pouring out of water and fasting, they explained and confirmed by their verbal confession. שׁם is never an adverb of time signifying "then;" neither in Psalm 14:5; Psalm 132:17, nor Judges 5:11. "And thus Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpeh." ויּשׁפּט does not mean "he became judge" (Mich. and others), any more than "he punished every one according to his iniquity" (Thenius, after David Kimchi). Judging the people neither consisted in a censure pronounced by Samuel afterwards, nor in absolution granted to the penitent after they had made a confession of their sin, but in the fact that Samuel summoned the nation to Mizpeh to humble itself before Jehovah, and there secured for it, through his intercession, the forgiveness of its sin, and a renewal of the favour of its God, and thus restored the proper relation between Israel and its God, so that the Lord could proceed to vindicate His people's rights against their foes.

When the Philistines heard of the gathering of the Israelites at Mizpeh (1 Samuel 7:7, 1 Samuel 7:8), their princes went up against Israel to make war upon it; and the Israelites, in their fear of the Philistines, entreated Samuel, "Do not cease to cry for us to the Lord our God, that He may save us out of the hand of the Philistines." 1 Samuel 7:9. "And Samuel took a milk-lamb (a lamb that was still sucking, probably, according to Leviticus 22:27, a lamb seven days old), and offered it whole as a burnt-offering to the Lord." כּליל is used adverbially, according to its original meaning as an adverb, "whole." The Chaldee has not given the word at all, probably because the translators regarded it as pleonastic, since every burnt-offering was consumed upon the altar whole, and consequently the word כּליל was sometimes used in a substantive sense, as synonymous with עולה (Deuteronomy 33:10; Psalm 51:21). But in the passage before us, כּליל is not synonymous with עולה, but simply affirms that the lamb was offered upon the altar without being cut up or divided. Samuel selected a young lamb for the burnt-offering, not "as being the purest and most innocent kind of sacrificial animal," - for it cannot possibly be shown that very young animals were regarded as purer than those that were full-grown, - but as being the most suitable to represent the nation that had wakened up to new life through its conversion to the Lord, and was, as it were, new-born. For the burnt-offering represented the man, who consecrated therein his life and labour to the Lord. The sacrifice was the substratum for prayer. When Samuel offered it, he cried to the Lord for the children of Israel; and the Lord "answered," i.e., granted, his prayer.

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