1 Samuel 7:9
And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly to the LORD: and Samuel cried to 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. Purification of Israel from idolatry. - Twenty years passed away from that time forward, while the ark remained at Kirjath-jearim, and all Israel mourned after Jehovah. Then Samuel said to them, "If ye turn to the Lord with all your heart, put away the strange gods from the midst of you, and the Astartes, and direct your heart firmly upon the Lord, and serve Him only, that He may save you out of the hand of the Philistines." And the Israelites listened to this appeal. The single clauses of 1 Samuel 7:2 and 1 Samuel 7:3 are connected together by vav consec., and are not to be separated from one another. There is no gap between these verses; but they contain the same closely and logically connected thought,

(Note: There is no force at all in the proofs which Thenius has adduced of a gap between 1 Samuel 7:2 and 1 Samuel 7:3. It by no means follows, that because the Philistines had brought back the ark, their rule over the Israelites had ceased, so as to make the words "he will deliver you," etc., incomprehensible. Moreover, the appearance of Samuel as judge does not presuppose that his assumption of this office must necessarily have been mentioned before. As a general rule, there was no such formal assumption of the office, and this would be least of all the case with Samuel, who had been recognised as an accredited prophet of Jehovah (1 Samuel 3:19.). And lastly, the reference to idols, and to their being put away in consequence of Samuel's appeal, is intelligible enough, without any express account of their falling into idolatry, if we bear in mind, on the one hand, the constant inclination of the people to serve other gods, and if we observe, on the other hand, that Samuel called upon the people to turn to the Lord with all their heart and serve Him alone, which not only does not preclude, but actually implies, the outward continuance of the worship of Jehovah.)

which may be arranged in one period in the following manner: "And it came to pass, when the days multiplied from the time that the ark remained at Kirjath-jearim, and grew to twenty years, and the whole house of Israel mourned after Jehovah, that Samuel said," etc. The verbs ויּרבּוּ, ויּהיוּ, and ויּנּהוּ, are merely continuations of the infinitive שׁבת, and the main sentence is resumed in the words שׁמוּאל ויּאמר. The contents of the verses require that the clauses should be combined in this manner. The statement that twenty years had passed can only be understood on the supposition that some kind of turning-point ensued at the close of that time. The complaining of the people after Jehovah was no such turning-point, but became one simply from the fact that this complaining was followed by some result. This result is described in 1 Samuel 7:3. It consisted in the fact that Samuel exhorted the people to put away the strange gods (1 Samuel 7:3); and that when the people listened to his exhortation (1 Samuel 7:4), he helped them to gain a victory over the Philistines (1 Samuel 7:5.). ינּהוּ, from נהה, to lament or complain (Micah 2:4; Ezekiel 32:18). "The phrase, to lament after God, is taken from human affairs, when one person follows another with earnest solicitations and complaints, until he at length assents. We have an example of this in the Syrophenician woman in Matthew 15." (Seb. Schmidt). The meaning "to assemble together," which is the one adopted by Gesenius, is forced upon the word from the Chaldee אתנהי, and it cannot be shown that the word was ever used in this sense in Hebrew. Samuel's appeal in 1 Samuel 7:3 recalls to mind Joshua 24:14, and Genesis 35:2; but the words, "If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts," assume that the turning of the people to the Lord their God had already inwardly commenced, and indeed, as the participle שׁבים expresses duration, had commenced as a permanent thing, and simply demand that the inward turning of the heart to God should be manifested outwardly as well, by the putting away of all their idols, and should thus be carried out to completion. The "strange gods" (see Genesis 35:2) are described in 1 Samuel 7:4 as "Baalim." On Baalim and Ashtaroth, see at Judges 2:11, Judges 2:13. לב הכין, to direct the heart firmly: see Psalm 78:8; 2 Chronicles 30:19.

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