Poole on 1 Samuel 1:18: Hannah's Faith-filled Reception of the Blessing

Verse 18:[1] And she said, (Gen. 33:15; Ruth 2:13) Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman (Eccl. 9:7) went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.



[Let her find grace] It is a Hebraism: Let me enter into this grace with thee, that thou mightest be willing to pray for me (Vatablus, similarly Drusius, Mendoza, Lyra, Menochius). As thou art already praying for me, so I ask that thou wouldest continue to do (Junius, Piscator). It appears more simply, I ask thee, that thou wouldest look upon me with impartial eyes, and not suspect ill of me (as previously); which grace I ask and consider to be of the utmost value. It appears to be an Aposiopesis[2] (Malvenda).


Grace in thy sight; that favourable opinion, and good will, and gracious prayer, which thou hast expressed on my behalf, be pleased to continue toward me.


[Her countenance was no more changed, וּפָנֶ֥יהָ לֹא־הָיוּ־לָ֖הּ עֽוֹד׃] And her faces were no longer to her[3] (Montanus, Malvenda). And her countenance was no longer disturbed (Syriac), or changed (Arabic). And her face was no longer, understanding, such (Dutch), or, sad (English, Junius and Tremellius, Piscator, Vatablus, Munster), or, as it was previously (Junius, Drusius), or, bad (Jonathan), that is, sad, sorrowful (Drusius). And her face did not any longer fall to her (Septuagint). See Genesis 4:5, 6[4] (Mendoza). Neither were her faces fallen any longer (Munster). And her anger was no longer to her (Pagnine). Hebrew: Her face was no longer to her. Metonymy of subject, and Synecdoche of genus. So elsewhere by face, an angry face is signified; as in Genesis 32:20, I will appease his face with the present[5] (Piscator). Faces in the plural number is often used among the Hebrews for sadness and anger; Psalm 21:9;[6] 34:16, the faces of the Lord are upon those doing evil[7] (Mendoza). Faces here is in the place of anger, or gravity (Martyr). It is able to be translated, and her sadness, etc. That grimacing face, which was displaying her sorrow, etc. (Vatablus). The sense: after her prayer and vow, she was of a sedate spirit, indeed, full of hope, so that she was always of a placid countenance thereafter (Menochius). From this passage Estius notes the force and efficacy of the priestly blessing, even if perhaps the priest was not altogether approved. For Eli was sharply reprehended by the Lord (Estius). Hannah received consolation from the mouth of the High Priest, and she, having been made cheerful, returned to the sacred feasts, and ate with cheer and joy according to the law of God[8] (Martyr).


Her countenance was no more sad; her heart being cheered by the priest’s comfortable words, and especially by God’s Spirit setting them home upon her, and assuring her that both his and her prayers should be heard, it quickly appeared in her countenance. Hebrew: her indignation, or vexation, (as the word face is sometimes understood, as Genesis 32:20; Ps 21:9; 34:16) was no more, that is, it vanished away.

[1] Hebrew: וַתֹּ֕אמֶר תִּמְצָ֧א שִׁפְחָתְךָ֛ חֵ֖ן בְּעֵינֶ֑יךָ וַתֵּ֙לֶךְ הָאִשָּׁ֤ה לְדַרְכָּהּ֙ וַתֹּאכַ֔ל וּפָנֶ֥יהָ לֹא־הָיוּ־לָ֖הּ עֽוֹד׃


[2] An aposiopesis is a sudden breaking off of dialogue.


[3] A woodenly literalistic rendering of the Hebrew.


[4] Genesis 4:5, 6: “But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell (וַֽיִּפְּל֖וּ פָּנָֽיו׃). And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen (וְלָ֖מָּה נָפְל֥וּ פָנֶֽיךָ׃)?”


[5] Genesis 32:20: “And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him (אֲכַפְּרָ֣ה פָנָ֗יו, I will appease his face) with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face (פָנָיו); peradventure he will accept of me.”


[6] Psalm 21:9: “Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine angerלְעֵ֪ת) פָּ֫נֶ֥יךָ, in the time of thy faces): the Lord shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.”


[7] Psalm 34:16: “The face of the Lord (פְּנֵ֣י יְ֭הוָה) is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.”


[8] See, for example, Deuteronomy 12:7, 12, 18.

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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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