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 certainly not deceive with thy lips. It appears that the ה with the Hateph-Pathah (ֲ) has the same sense in these three passages; and that it either augments the affirmation, or is completely idle, as it appeared in these passages to the Septuagint Translators and the Chaldean Paraphrasts. [He could have added both the Syriac and the Arabic.] For the confirmation of this opinion, see what things we have observed at greater length on Jeremiah 7:9; 31:20[9] (Dieu). It is the manner of the letter ה, that it is superfluous in this sense; thus Rabbi Isaiah. The ה in הֲנִגְלֹה is not the ה of interrogation; but it denotes the truth of the matter, as in 1 Kings 21:19, Hast thou killed, etc.?[10] that is, thou hast actually killed (Drusius out of Kimchi).

Did I plainly appear? did I indeed show such a favor, and appear so evidently and gloriously to thee, and for thee, and is this thy requital?

[Unto the house of thy father] That is, of Aaron (Tostatus, Lapide, Sanchez, Menochius, Lyra, Vatablus, Drusius, Junius). It is likely that this happened, when, in Exodus 4:27, God called Aaron, and made him and interpreter for Moses (Menochius, similarly Malvenda, Mendoza). Rabbi Salomon and Rabbi Levi testify that Aaron prophesied in Egypt (Drusius). God is not wont to bring up as a reproach things graciously given, James 1:5; but He does cast them in the teeth of the ungrateful, so that both the gravity of the fault and the equity of the punishment might appear (Mendoza).

[When he was in Egypt in the house of Pharaoh, בִּֽהְיוֹתָ֥ם בְּמִצְרַ֖יִם לְבֵ֥ית פַּרְעֹֽה׃] When they were in Egypt, in the house of Pharaoh (Pagnine, similarly the Septuagint, Munster, Dutch). Unto the posterity of thy father, namely, Levi, living in Egypt in the house of Pharaoh (Castalio). You will say, God did not first reveal Himself to Moses in Egypt, but in the desert, Exodus 3:1. Responses: 1. In Egypt is put in the place of near Egypt. 2. Or the sense is that that revelation was not made to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, but while the Hebrews were in Egypt (Mendoza). While they, that is, the children of Israel, were in Egypt (Vatablus, Dutch, Osiander, Piscator): of the number of which was thy father (Piscator). Others: when they were in Egypt, subject to the house of Pharaoh (Munster, similarly Junius and Tremellius, Septuagint, Jonathan). All Egypt is called the house of Pharaoh, because it was his possession (Mendoza). The Israelites are said to have been in his house, either because they were serving the prefects of his house in the making of bricks (Martyr). Or, because they were under his dominion and tyranny (Dutch). He begins with a commemoration of blessings, so that He might show him to be ungrateful: which is generally the case in rebukes of this sort (Vatablus). Princes are wont to despise men of humble condition. But God received the Israelites, when they were in the most abject condition (Martyr).

Unto the house of thy father, that is, unto Aaron the chief of thy father’s house.When they were in Egypt: see Exodus 4:27. Pharaoh’s house, that is, either, 1. In Pharaoh’s land; the whole kingdom being, as it were, one great family, whereof Pharaoh was the master. Or, 2. In Pharaoh’s court, where Aaron might probably be at the time of this revelation, either to answer to some accusation against him or his brethren, or to beg some relaxation of the rigour, or for some other occasion.

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּבֹ֥א אִישׁ־אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶל־עֵלִ֑י וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלָ֗יו כֹּ֚ה אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה הֲנִגְלֹ֤ה נִגְלֵ֙יתִי֙ אֶל־בֵּ֣ית אָבִ֔יךָ בִּֽהְיוֹתָ֥ם בְּמִצְרַ֖יִם לְבֵ֥ית פַּרְעֹֽה׃ [2] That is, Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron. [3] Annon, nonne, and numquid non are all ways of introducing a question expecting a positive answer. [4] Job 20:4, 5: “Knowest thou this (הֲזֹ֣את יָ֭דַעְתָּ; not must be supplied) of old, since man was placed upon earth, that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?” [5] Jacobus Golius (1596-1667) was a Dutch Reformed Orientalist. He served as Professor of Mathematics and Arabic at Leiden (1629-1667). Golius was first the pupil, then the successor, of Erpenius. His Lexicon Arabico-Latinum was probably his most important contribution. [6] Jeremiah 7:9: “Will ye steal (הֲגָנֹב), murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not…” [7] Rabbi Joseph Kimchi (1105-1170) was a commentator and the father of David Kimchi. He lived in the southern portion of France and was influenced by the Spanish Rabbis. He wrote commentaries on the entire Old Testament, focusing on a literal, grammatical analysis of the text. [8] Genesis 17:17: “Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old (הַלְּבֶ֤ן מֵאָֽה־שָׁנָה֙ יִוָּלֵ֔ד)? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?” [9] Jeremiah 31:20a: “Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant childהֲבֵן֩ יַקִּ֙יר לִ֜י אֶפְרַ֗יִם) אִ֚ם יֶ֣לֶד שַׁעֲשֻׁעִ֔ים)?…” [10] 1 Kings 21:19: “And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou killed (הֲרָצַחְתָּ), and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.”

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