Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Before. Chaldean, "in the days of Heli." The young Levite slept in an adjoining chamber, to wait on the high priest, not far from the sanctuary. --- Precious; that is, rare: (Challoner) as such things are generally more esteemed, (Haydock) which are granted to few. (Worthington) --- Some prophets had appeared under the former judges: but they were not so common as they were from the days of Samuel, till a little after the captivity. St. Peter ranks Samuel in the first place, Acts iii. 24. (Calmet) --- Vision. No prophet was publicly recognized, to whom the people might have recourse. (Menochius)
Out, towards morning, (Calmet; Exodus xxvii. 20.) when some of the lamps were to be extinguished. (Worthington) --- Samuel slept. Some would transpose these words to the end of the verse, as they think it improbable that Samuel should be in the place where the high priest himself could enter only once a year. (Vatable, &c.) --- But this change seems harsh and unnecessary, as Heli and Samuel might be in apartments contiguous to the holy place. (Sanctius; Menochius; Calmet) --- During the night none of the priests would be in the sanctuary, so that Heli might form a judgment that not of them had called Samuel. (Tirinus)
Him. He had not before an experimental knowledge of the manner in which God revealed his will to men. (Calmet)
Heareth; ready to comply with whatever may be required. (Haydock)
Times, (secundo:) a second time, or repeatedly, or mentioning the name twice, (Menochius) as God does sometimes in urgent cases, Genesis xxii. 11. (Haydock)
Tingle, through astonishment and fright, Jeremias xix. 3., and 4 Kings xxi. 12.
House, by the prophet, chap. ii. 27.
Wickedly. Septuagint, "were cursing God." This is one of the places which the Jews have corrected. (Du Hamel) --- Judge; or condemn and punish, Proverbs xix. 29. (Calmet) --- Chastise them, not in words only, or in a soft manner, as he had done. Hebrew, "because his sons made themselves despicable, and he did not frown upon them." (Haydock) --- Ciha denotes, to correct with a wrinkled face. (Menochius) --- Aquila, "he did not look black at them," nor avert his eyes with horror. All this iniquity was done publicly, and in his presence; (Calmet) and he suffered his children to proceed without any restraint. It is not sufficient to reprove, when a father can correct. (Haydock)
Sworn. We read not of an express oath; (Calmet) but the denunciation of God was equivalent. (Haydock) --- Iniquity, or punishment. Nothing could withhold the indignation of the Lord, in correcting the sinner, though he would shew mercy eternally to the penitent. But he saw the obstinacy of these priests, and their unhappy end. The sacrifices of the old law always presupposed suitable internal sentiments, to grant the remission of sin; and even for the avoiding of the legal punishments, they must have been offered in a true spirit of religion, which these abandoned wretches despised and neglected. (Calmet) --- God threatens that he will punish their crimes for ever, as he abominates the contempt of priest. (Tirinus)
Slept. Hebrew and Septuagint, "laid himself down to sleep." For how could he take any rest after such terrible threats? (Calmet) particularly as light was beginning to appear, when he was called by God, ver. 3. --- Doors. Some walls had probably been built, to enclose the curtains of the tabernacle. A priest would have been employed to open the sanctuary. (Calmet)
And so. Literally, "May God do these things to thee, and add these also." It is not certain that he mentioned the particular punishment, (Haydock) though it is most probable. The Scripture refrains from repeating them. (Grotius) --- Ruth i. 17. (Calmet)
Sight. Some of the Fathers think that these words proceeded from an habitual indifference, as he was not disposed to molest his sons any farther, let the consequences be what they might. (St. Gregory; St. Ephrem, &c.) --- But others believe, that Heli was actuated by the spirit of humanity and resignation, and saved his soul. (Calmet) See chap. iv. 18. --- Years. The author of the Concord. between the Books of Kings and of Chronicles, thinks Samuel was then 39. (Du Hamel)
Ground, unfulfilled. This may be understood of the words of the Lord, (Calmet) which Samuel had announced. His other predictions were constantly verified, so that he was justly regarded as a true prophet. (Haydock)
Faithful. Hebrew Neeman, may be a title of dignity, or may signify that Samuel was confirmed and continued to be a prophet. (Calmet) --- According to, or by. God revealed his will to him by word, and not by visions. (Sanchez) --- Israel. The whole people suffered along with their leaders. (Haydock) --- They were concerned in the prediction which was denounced against the house of Heli. (Menochius) --- Septuagint, "and Samuel was entrusted to the prophet of the Lord, to all Israel, from the ends of the earth to the ends: And Heli was very old, and his sons going went forward, and their way was wicked before the Lord." Thus they usher in the following catastrophe. (Haydock)