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Poole on 1 Samuel 1:8: Elkanah's Attempt to Comfort

Verse 8:[1] Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I (Ruth 4:15) better to thee than ten sons?



[Am not I better to thee than ten sons?] That is, many sons (Drusius, Piscator). A Synecdoche of species (Piscator). A certain number is put for an uncertain number. Thus in Isaiah 4:1, seven women (Drusius). That is to say, Shouldest thou not value me more highly than ten sons? or, Am I not able to furnish for thee more benefits than ten sons? For I love thee most vehemently (Vatablus). In matrimonial concord there is more good than even in fertility (Grotius). He alludes here to Peninnah’s ten sons, which he had (Hebrews in Lapide).


Am not I better to thee than ten sons?: Oughtest thou not to value my hearty love to thee, more than the having of as many sons as Peninnah hath? She would willingly change conditions with thee.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֙אמֶר לָ֜הּ אֶלְקָנָ֣ה אִישָׁ֗הּ חַנָּה֙ לָ֣מֶה תִבְכִּ֗י וְלָ֙מֶה֙ לֹ֣א תֹֽאכְלִ֔י וְלָ֖מֶה יֵרַ֣ע לְבָבֵ֑ךְ הֲל֤וֹא אָֽנֹכִי֙ ט֣וֹב לָ֔ךְ מֵעֲשָׂרָ֖ה בָּנִֽים׃

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Dec 23, 2019

George Swinnock's The Christian Man's Calling: '"The Lord grant," saith Naomi, "that each of you may find rest in the house of her husband," Ruth 1:9. Rest, not rigour; courtesy, not cruelty; a competent maintenance, not a niggardly allowance, is expected in the house of a husband. Whilst thou livest, let her maintenance be according to thy wealth. Thou wilt not, possibly, under-keep thy cattle, and why shouldst thou under-keep thy wife? When thou diest, let her be left so that she may live like thy wife; and do not, as one saith, beat her when thou art dead, by causing her, through thy churlishness, to want, or to hang upon the cradle. Jesus Christ gave his church his ow…


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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Dec 23, 2019

Andrew Gray's "The Usefulness of Faith": 'Faith helpeth Christians to see there is much in Christ, to make up any loss or disadvantage that they have; if ye lose your son, or your choicest contentment in the world, faith will say such a word as Elkanah said to Hannah, 1 Samuel 1:8,—Is not Christ better to thee than ten sons? The choicest contentments ye can lose—(this is, faith's divinity),—Christ is worth a hundred of them; and so this maketh the soul to be ashamed of its impatience, and to give over its fretting at the excellent and wise dispensations of God.'

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Dec 23, 2019

Thomas Boston's "Mutual Duties of Husbands and Wives": 'Sympathising with one another in all their crosses, and griefs, and joys, whether of body or mind. Being one flesh they must shew it this way. It is a common duty we owe to all, "to weep with them that weep, and rejoice with them that rejoice;" and so both their griefs and joys should be mutual, in a special manner; otherwise they will be as jarring strings in an instrument that mars the harmony, 1 Samual 1:8. And they must bear with one another's infirmities, covering them with the mantle of love, Galatians 6:2.'

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Dec 23, 2019


Matthew Henry: 'Elkanah said what he could to her to comfort her. She did not upbraid him with his unkindness in marrying another wife as Sarah did, nor did she render to Peninnah railing for railing, but took the trouble wholly to herself, which made her an object of much compassion. Elkanah showed himself extremely grieved at her grief (1 Samuel 1:8): Hannah, why weepest thou? [1.] He is much disquieted to see her thus overwhelmed with sorrow. Those that by marriage are made one flesh ought thus far to be of one spirit too, to share in each other's troubles, so that one cannot be easy while the other is uneasy. [2.] He gives her a loving reproof fo…

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