Poole on 1 Samuel 2:27: The Judgment against Eli's House, Part 1

Verse 27:[1] (1 Kings 13:1) And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, (Ex. 4:14, 27) Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house?

[But a man of God came] Some say that it was Elijah; others, an Angel in human form. The Hebrews think that it was Phinehas;[2] others, Elkanah (Vatablus). But it is uncertain who it was (Lapide). The Scripture does not say (Sanchez, Menochius). Therefore, let us also pass over it in silence. The Jews themselves are undecided on this point (Drusius). The more recent Rabbis maintain that this was Elkanah; the more ancient, Phinehas (Lapide). He was a certain man, sent by God, a certain prophet, a godly man (Vatablus). Eli is charged twice, here, and in the following chapter, lest it should appear that he is punished with the cause unmentioned (Mendoza).

[אִישׁ־אֱלֹהִים] A vir/man, or homo/man, of God (Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius). A certain man of the Lord (Syriac). Or, by the name of the Lord (Arabic). A prophet of the Lord (Jonathan). That is, Samuel, whose calling is explained by ὑστέρωσιν/hysterosis in the following chapter. Now, in this way Samuel spoke modestly of himself and his administration (Junius). He came, etc. Prophets, in the exercise of their office, are greater than kings and priests (Grotius).

A man of God, that is, a prophet or preacher sent from God. See 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 3:17; 2 Peter 1:21. Who this was is not revealed by God, and therefore it is vain to inquire, and impossible to determine.

[Was I not openly revealed? הֲנִגְלֹ֤ה נִגְלֵ֙יתִי֙] The difficulty of this passage arises from the הֲ, which properly denotes a simple question, which among the Hebrews is wont to deny, while the sense here seems to require an affirmation. Some take הֲנִגְלָה, did he reveal?, for הֲלוֹא נִגְלָה, did he not reveal? (Dieu). Thus they translate it, did I not by manifesting manifest? (Pagnine). Annon (nonne [Piscator], numquid non[3] [Munster]) have I not been manifestly revealed? (Tigurinus, Munster, Piscator, Dutch). There is an ellipsis of the adverb of negation (Piscator). So also Mercerus on Job 20:4.[4] הֲזֹ֣את יָ֭דַעְתָּ, knowest thou this?, he takes for הֲלוֹא זוֹאת יָדַעְתָּ, knowest thou not this?, certainly in a suitable sense. Thus הֲ has been put in the place of הֲלוֹא in 2 Samuel 23:19, מִן־הַשְּׁלֹשָׁה֙ הֲכִ֣י נִכְבָּ֔ד, of the three was he not the most renowned? that is, he was the most honorable, as Jonathan has it. Thus in Genesis 27:36, הֲכִי֩ קָרָ֙א שְׁמ֜וֹ יַעֲקֹ֗ב, Is not his name called Jacob? In which place Jonathan has, his name is properly called Jacob. For the כִּי, which is conjoined with הֲ, is not to be thought to effect a negation here. It only serves for interrogation. Thus some interpreter, in 1 Kings 16:31,וַיְהִי֙ הֲנָקֵ֣ל לֶכְתּ֔וֹ בְּחַטֹּ֖אות יָרָבְעָ֣ם, and it was, was it not a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam? And, although it might appear harsh to understand the negation; yet we advise that the same thing happens in an Arabism; and whether has been put in the place of is it not; with Golius himself also agreeing, who of all Europeans is doubtlessly the greatest expert in Arabic.[5] See what things we noted concerning that הֲ on Jeremiah 7:9.[6] Junius thus, Did I therefore plainly reveal myself? The sense is indeed suitable, but the supplement is uncommon and too free. Let the learned consider, is not this interrogation able to express the disposition of a penitent. In revealing have I not revealed? which is to say, have I not revealed myself to thy family? and was I so inconsiderate, that I would do so? and perhaps Rabbi Joseph Kimchi,[7] as his son David testifies, meant this, when he said that it is a ה of admiration, or of stupefaction; as if God Himself was surprised and astounded that He had furnished such blessing to this family. Rabbi Levi maintains that it is a ה of verification, but taken interrogatively, as in Genesis 17:17, as in Genesis 17:17, shall a son be born?[8] that is, he shall certainly be born. Thus, did I reveal? that is, I certainly revealed myself. This is harsh, and perhaps unusual. For thus the Hebrews are wont to affirm, not by a simple interrogation, but with a negation added. And it is not doubtful that the interrogation in Genesis 17:17 is of admiration. Still, I do not deny that the ה here is of verification, but without the force of interrogation; I set forth two other passages of this sort. One, out of 1 Kings 16:31, וַיְהִי֙ הֲנָקֵ֣ל, and it was certainly a light thing, etc.: the other, out of Proverbs 24:28,אַל־תְּהִ֣י עֵד־חִנָּ֣ם בְּרֵעֶ֑ךָ וַ֜הֲפִתִּ֗יתָ בִּשְׂפָתֶֽיךָ׃, Be not a witness without cause against thy neighbor: For thou shouldest c