Poole on 1 Samuel 2:34, 35: The Judgment against Eli's House, Part 7

Verse 34:[1] And this shall be (1 Kings 13:3) a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; (1 Sam. 4:11) in one day they shall die both of them.

[Now, this shall be a sign unto thee] A divine testimony to confirm this denunciation (Piscator). And that sign that shall happen to thy two sons shall be to thee a sign that what things I say are true (Vatablus). The beginning of thy calamities shall be at the death of thy sons, from which thou shalt know that the rest are certainly coming (Malvenda out of Junius).

This shall be a sign unto thee, to wit, of the certain truth of those sad predictions; and it was fulfilled, 1 Samuel 4:11.

Verse 35:[2] And (1 Kings 2:35; 1 Chron. 29:22; Ezek. 44:15) I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and (2 Sam. 7:11, 27; 1 Kings 11:38) I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before (Ps. 2:2; 18:50) mine anointed for ever.

[And I will raise me up a Priest, etc.] How? By inclining the hearts of the Kings, to whom the right of choosing the High Priest belonged, but of the family of Aaron, as long as it was existing. The Sanhedrin had the same right, when there were not Kings (Grotius). Now, it is said that he is to be raised up; either, 1. Because he, who was not previously a Priest, was newly to be made one (Tostatus). Or, rather, 2. As if the sense were, the Priests of the house of Eleazar had been intermitted, and buried in a certain manner; but now (says he) they shall be restored to life again, and shall be raised up (Menodza). But who is this Priest, whom He will raise up? Responses: 1. Samuel (thus Augustine and Gregory in Lapide). But repugnant to this opinion are: 1. the Family of Samuel. He was not of the posterity of Aaron. 2. His Age. For Samuel was young when Eli died (Lapide). God did not give to Samuel a faithful house.[3] For his sons declined after avarice[4] (Mendoza). 2. Zakok (thus Lapide, Grotius, Sanchez, Mendoza, Menochius, Junius, Piscator, Malvenda, Munster, Drusius). See 1 Chronicles 29:22 (Piscator).

[A faithful priest] Or reliable. Thus nearly all: constant (Junius and Tremellius), which is to say, Even if concerning thee and thine I am going to do as I have denounced, nevertheless I am going to fulfill continually my promise, concerning which above in verse 30 (Junius).

A faithful priest, to wit, of another line, as is necessarily implied by the total removal of that office from Eli’s line, before threatened. The person designed is Zadok, one eminent for his faithfulness to God and to the king, who, when Abiathar, the last of Eli’s line, was deposed by Solomon, was made high priest in his stead, 1 Kings 2:27, 35; 1 Chronicles 29:22. That shall do according to that which is in mine heart; and shall not dishonour or disobey me to gratify his sons, as thou hast done.

[I will build him a faithful house] A sure house; that is, I will give to him a most ample and numerous family, which shall make it to old age (Vatablus, similarly Mendoza). A sure house, because his posterity remained in this office until Ezra the Priest (Drusius), indeed, until the end of the law (Mendoza out of Tostatus). To build a house in Hebrew is put in the place of to give posterity. See Exodus 1:21; Deuteronomy 25:9; Ruth 4:11; 2 Samuel 7:27. Just as, vice versa, material edifices are called in Scripture daughters, Numbers 21:25,[5] and often elsewhere: and the founders of cities are called their fathers, 1 Chronicles 2:23, 50 (Mendoza).

I will build him a sure house, that is, give him a numerous posterity, as that phrase is used, Exodus 1:21; 2 Samuel 7:11; 1 Kings 11:38, and confirm that sure covenant of an everlasting priesthood made to Phinehas, of Eleazar’s line, Numbers 25:13, and interrupted for a little while by Eli, and his, of the line of Ithamar, unto him and his children for ever. And this was manifestly verified until the Babylonish captivity, Ezekiel 44:15; and there is no reason to doubt of its continuance in the same line till Christ came.

[And he shall walk before my Christ (thus the Septuagint, Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Grotius), or, to the face of my Christ (Montanus),וְהִתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ לִפְנֵֽי־מְשִׁיחִ֖י] So that he might ceaselessly walk before mine anointed (Junius and Tremellius). And he shall minister before mine anointed (Jonathan). But who is this anointed one? Response 1: Christ. Before Christ Jesus, our High Priest (Junius, Malvenda). Whose type and minister, and vicar, as it were, he was, as are all High Priests on earth (Malvenda). Response 2: the King. He shall walk, that is, he shall discharge the Priestly office before the King, to whom I will have given the kingdom (Vatablus). Before Solomon, solemnly anointed as king. Now, he is called anointed, 1. Because God established him as King, with his elder brothers excluded. 2. Because God made use of Solomon to punish the sins of Eli. For which reason Cyrus is called anointed, Isaiah 45:1, because he took vengeance upon the Babylonians for the divine injuries, etc. (Mendoza). 3. Because he shadowed forth our Savior in his kingdom. He is said to walk before the king, because it was his office to teach the King, and to deliver to him the law written;[6] or perhaps, because (as the Chaldean noted) he would be a minister to the King with respect to teaching and education. For it is not written tha the King ought to be before the Priest, except only when he was seeking an oracle; for then was he standing in a place somewhat unworthy before the Priest (Martyr).

He shall walk, that is, minister as high priest. Before mine anointed; either, first, Before king Solomon, who was anointed king, 1 Kings 1:39, and before the succeeding kings, who are commonly called anointed, or the Lord’s anointed, as 1 Samuel 12:3, 5; 24:6, 10; Psalm 89:38, 51; Lamentations 4:20. Or rather, secondly, Before Jesus Christ; first, Because this title of Anointed, or Christ, or Messias, (both which words signify only the Anointed,) is most frequently and eminently ascribed to Christ, both in the Old and New Testament, and therefore it is most reasonable to understand it of him, when there is nothing in the text or context which determines it to any other. Secondly, Christ is the main scope and design, not only of the New, but of the Old Testament, which in all its types and ceremonies represented Christ; and particularly, the high priest was an eminent type of Christ, and did represent his person, and act in his name and stead, and did mediately what John Baptist did immediately, go before the face of the Lord Christ; and when Christ did come, that office and officer was to cease. Thirdly, The high priest is seldom or never said to walk or minister before the kings of Israel or Judah, but constantly before the Lord, and consequently before Christ, who as he was God blessed for ever, Romans 9:5, was present with, and the Builder and Governor of, the ancient church of Israel, as is manifest from Acts 7:35; 1 Corinthians 10:4; Hebrews 3:3-6, and many other places; and their temple is particularly called his temple, Malachi 3:1, because all the temple worship was performed in his presence, and had a special respect unto him, and therefore the high priest is most properly said to walk before him.

[1] Hebrew: וְזֶה־לְּךָ֣ הָא֗וֹת אֲשֶׁ֤ר יָבֹא֙ אֶל־שְׁנֵ֣י בָנֶ֔יךָ אֶל־חָפְנִ֖י וּפִֽינְחָ֑ס בְּי֥וֹם אֶחָ֖ד יָמ֥וּתוּ שְׁנֵיהֶֽם׃ [2] Hebrew: וַהֲקִימֹתִ֥י לִי֙ כֹּהֵ֣ן נֶאֱמָ֔ן כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר בִּלְבָבִ֥י וּבְנַפְשִׁ֖י יַעֲשֶׂ֑ה וּבָנִ֤יתִי לוֹ֙ בַּ֣יִת נֶאֱמָ֔ן וְהִתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ לִפְנֵֽי־מְשִׁיחִ֖י כָּל־הַיָּמִֽים׃ [3] 1 Samuel 2:35b: “…and I will build him a sure house (בַּ֣יִת נֶאֱמָ֔ן)…” [4] See 1 Samuel 8:1-5. [5] Numbers 21:25: “And Israel took all these cities: and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all the villages thereof (וּבְכָל־בְּנֹתֶיהָ, and in all the daughters thereof).” [6] See Deuteronomy 17:18, 19.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.




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