Poole on 1 Samuel 1:9: Hannah's Visit to the Tabernacle, Part 1

Verse 9:[1] So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of (1 Sam. 3:3) the temple of the LORD.



[After she had eaten and drunk, אַחֲרֵ֛י אָכְלָ֥ה—וְאַחֲרֵ֣י שָׁתֹ֑ה] After to eat and after to drink[2] (Montanus). After they had eaten and drunk (Pagnine, similarly the Septuagint, Tigurinus Notes,[3] English). They suppose the ה to have been added[4] (Drusius). After she had eaten and and after she had drunk (Syriac, Arabic, Munster, Tigurinus). After he had eaten (Junius and Tremellius, Drusius, Dutch). אָכְלֺה in the place of אָכְלוֹ; verbatim, after to eat him. For Hannah was eating nothing. See verse 7 (Drusius). Others thus: after she had eaten (Mendoza, Piscator, similarly Castalio). For the word is feminine (Mendoza). And the following things are expressed concerning Hannah (Piscator). Therefore, Hannah yielded to the persuasions of her husband (Menochius, Sanchez), to whom she believes sin to be repugnant (Sanchez).



[In Shiloh] In the city of Shiloh; and indeed, if these were common meals, outside of the courtyard of the tabernacle; but if they were of the peace-offerings, then within the courtyard (Mendoza out of Tostatus). Either, in some private house; or, before the Lord, that is, in the entrance of the courtyard. See what things were said on those passages, Deuteronomy 12:18; 16:11 (Menochius).


After they had eaten, that is, Elkanah and his company, except Hannah. Or, she; for though at first she eat nothing, yet upon her husband’s invitation and encouragement she might eat afterwards; though the former may seem more probable.


[And with Eli the Priest sitting upon a stool before the posts of the temple,יֹשֵׁב֙ עַל־הַכִּסֵּ֔א עַל־מְזוּזַ֖ת הֵיכַ֥ל] He was sitting upon a throne (Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus) (on a throne [Drusius, Junius and Tremellius]; on a great throne [Vatablus]; upon a stool [Septuagint, Arabic], or, seat [Jonathan, Syriac]) upon or near, or, at a post of the temple (Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius); upon the threshold, or, thresholds, of the temple (Septuagint, Syriac, Arabic). By the posts at the side of the threshold, etc. (Jonathan). On a throne; for he was the High Priest; by a post, that is, by the second of the posts, that is, on the other side of the courtyard. Of the temple, that is, the place in which was the tabernacle of the Lord. By הֵיכָל/temple he understands the courtyard, or that entire edifice, which included the courtyard and the tabernacle of the covenant. To the priests it was lawful neither to eat nor to sit in the courtyard, but outside of the courtyard (Vatablus). The Tabernacle had three parts, any of which was called the Temple, Jeremiah 7:4: 1. the exterior courtyard; 2. the holy place; 3. the holy of holies. Eli was not sitting, 1. Before the posts of this third temple: For that holy place had been hallowed, not for sitting, but for sacrificing. 2. Not before the posts of the second temple; for into that place, which was a more external atrium, the common people were not entering: Whence Eli would not be able from that place ot observe the face of Hannah praying outside the atrium. 3. Therefore, he was before the posts of the first temple, or of the exterior courtyard (Mendoza). Question: To what end was Eli sitting there? Responses: 1. So that he might cheer his spirit by watching those passing by, etc. (Tostatus). 2. He chose this place, as public and common, into which men were wont to gather (Sanchez, similarly Tostatus). So that he might be available to those coming to the temple, and answer those seeking counsel; as it is gathered from the stool, which was set up, not a common seat, but after the manner of a throne, as it is evident from 1 Samuel 4:18. For the same reason Judges were formerly sitting in the gates of the city, Deuteronomy 16:18; Ruth 4:1; and elsewhere (Mendoza). The High Priest alone was sitting בעזרה, in the temple court. Not even the kings were sitting. He was sitting as Judge. It belongs properly to Judges to sit. Thou sittest for the tribunal as a just judge (Drusius). By the name of temple is understood the courtyard, which was around the tabernacle, for the temple was not yet built (Menochius). Eli was both Judge and High Priest, and was sitting in the vestibule, where was either a Judicial throne, or Pontifical chair (Sanchez).


Upon a seat, or throne; for it is manifest it was raised higher than ordinary, 1 Samuel 4:18. Here he might sit, either as the judge, or rather as high priest, to hear and answer such as came to him for advice, and to inspect and direct the worship of God as need was. By a post of the temple, that is, of the tabernacle, which is called the temple here, and 1 Samuel 3:3; 2 Samuel 22:7; Psalm 27:6; as, on the contrary, the temple is called the tabernacle, Jeremiah 10:20; Lamentations 2:6. And although this tabernacle was but a tent, yet it was supported by boards and posts, and especially at the entrance, by which Eli sat, even by the entrance into the outward court, otherwise he could not have seen Hannah. See more on 1 Samuel 3:15.

[1] Hebrew: וַתָּ֣קָם חַנָּ֔ה אַחֲרֵ֛י אָכְלָ֥ה בְשִׁלֹ֖ה וְאַחֲרֵ֣י שָׁתֹ֑ה וְעֵלִ֣י הַכֹּהֵ֗ן יֹשֵׁב֙ עַל־הַכִּסֵּ֔א עַל־מְזוּזַ֖ת הֵיכַ֥ל יְהוָֽה׃


[2] A woodenly literalistic rendering.


[3] The marginal notes in the Tigurinus Version are properly attributed to Vatablus, having been preserved by his students from his oral lectures.


[4] The expected form of the infinitive is אֲכֹל.

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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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