Poole on 1 Samuel 2:33: The Judgment against Eli's House, Part 6

Verse 33:[1] And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age (Heb. men[2]).



[Nevertheless, I shall not completely remove a man, etc.,וְאִ֗ישׁ לֹֽא־אַכְרִ֤ית לְךָ֙ מֵעִ֣ם מִזְבְּחִ֔י לְכַלּ֥וֹת וגו״] And a man I shall not cut off (or, shall not banish [Vatablus, Septuagint], shall not remove [Syriac]) to thee from my altar, to consume thine eyes, etc. (Montanus, similarly Munster, Tigurinus, Osiander, Castalio). But he, whom I shall not cut off to thee (that is, from thine [Dutch]) from mine altar, understanding, would be (or, shall be [English]) for the consuming of thine eyes, etc. (Junius and Tremellius, Dutch). He would be, that is, if thou wert living at that time (Piscator, Malvenda); that is to say, in addition to the calamity that I shall sen in thine own time, the future condition of thine offspring is not going to be better; for it is going to be taken off by a violent death, 1 Samuel 22:17. But I shall reserve Abiathar from that slaughter to endure great calamities, 1 Kings 2:26 (Junius). There will always be some one of thy grandsons attending upon my altar, etc. (Vatablus). That is to say, I am going to remove from thee the High Priesthood, which thou hast by privilege: I will permit to thee, or to thy posterity, a Priesthood of the second order, which thou wast possessing by hereditary right (Mendoza). Therefore, they shall live for some time, so that they might be to thee for great sorrow; which is more clearly explained in the following words (Grotius). This shall not be for blessing or grace; but so that they might prolong life unto misery. See Numbers 11:15, Kill me, rather than that I might see those things; and Psalm 59:11, Slay them not, O God, but cause that they might be scattered among thy people, so that all might see their calamity (Martyr, Drusius).


[But so that thine eyes might fail, etc., לְכַלּ֥וֹת אֶת־עֵינֶ֖יךָ וְלַאֲדִ֣יב אֶת־נַפְשֶׁ֑ךָ] To consume (or, to darken [Jonathan, Syriac, similarly the Arabic]) thine eyes, and to afflict thine heart with grief (Montanus, Pagnine, similarly Junius and Tremellius, English, Dutch, Piscator, Drusius). So that I might cause thine eyes to fail, etc. (Munster). [The Septuagint varies the person, so that his eyes might fail, and his soul slip away.] The eyes of thee, that is, of thy grandsons (Vatablus). So that I might cause thine eyes to melt, or to pine away, etc., because of envy in the midst of thy posterity; when they will see another discharging the Priesthood, which was pertaining to thy family (Vatablus). Now, eyes are said to sorrow, or to fail, when they see those things that painfully afflict the soul: this is the disease invidiorum, of the envious; hence invidere, to look upon, to envy, is derived from the casting of the eyes; and by a proverbial form the eye of the neighbor is called invidus/envious. Moreover, invidia/envy is the greatest of the torments. Hence that trite saying, to be broken, or burned, by envy (Sanchez). לַאֲדִיב, to grieve, is here put in the place of לְהַאֲדִיב;[3] just as לַעֲלוֹת, to offer, in verse 28 is in the place of לְהַעֲלוֹת, so also לַשְׁמִיד, to destroy, is in the place of לְהַשְׁמִיד (Drusius).


The man of thine, that is, those of thy posterity. From mine altar, that is, from attendance upon mine altar; whom I shall not destroy, but suffer to live, and wait at the altar. Shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart; shall be so forlorn and miserable, that if thou wast alive to see it, it would grieve thee at the very heart, and thou wouldst consume thine eyes with weeping for their calamities. So the phrase is like that of Rachel weeping for her children, Jeremiah 31:15, which were slain long after her death.



[And a great part of thine house shall die, when it comes to manly age, וְכָל־מַרְבִּ֥ית בֵּיתְךָ֖ יָמ֥וּתוּ אֲנָשִֽׁים׃] And all the multitude (or, increase [English], or, the alumni [Syriac]) of thine house shall die as men (Montanus, Pagnine, similarly Tigurinus), or, as youths (Jonathan), or, young (Arabic), or, at mature age (Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus, Castalio). When they matured as men; that is, in strength, or the flower of their age (Dutch, English); that is, when they first came to mature age, so that in their death they might inflict greater sorrow upon thee (Vatablus). When thine own are not far from their thirtieth year of age, then they shall hope that they are about to obtain the dignity of the Priesthood (at least of an inferior degree); but most shall be snatch away by an expected death, and their entire hope shall be frustrated (Osiander). And all that shall survive of thine house shall fall by the sword of men (Septuagint). No punishment is able to be severer than what is said to be enforced by the sword of men; who sometimes are wont to be crueler than even the very beasts. Certainly the posterity of Eli have been killed most cruelly with the sword of men, 1 Samuel 4:11; 22:18 (Mendoza). All the remaining offspring of thine house shall die, etc. (Junius and Tremellius). And all that are multiplied in thy house shall die as men (Tigurinus), or, if they be men (Munster). They do not certainly translate it, in virile age; for before this one is called אִישׁ, a man (whence the plural אֲנָשִׁים/men). A man is called אִישׁ in his twentieth year, says Rabbi Salomon; indeed, in the thirteenth year, Pesikta[4] 35:1, or the twelfth, when he is ready to learn the commandments of the law, Commentary on Aboth[5] 68. Or even in the ninth year, says Moses de Kotzi in his book of precepts, Mitzvot Gadol[6] 24:2 (Drusius). Certain interpreters thus: they shall die men, that is, consumed with hardship (certain interpreters in Malvenda).


The increase of thine house, that is, thy children. In the flower of their age; about the thirtieth year of their age, when they were to be admitted to the plenary administration of their office, Numbers 4:3, then they shall die.

[1] Hebrew: וְאִ֗ישׁ לֹֽא־אַכְרִ֤ית לְךָ֙ מֵעִ֣ם מִזְבְּחִ֔י לְכַלּ֥וֹת אֶת־עֵינֶ֖יךָ וְלַאֲדִ֣יב אֶת־נַפְשֶׁ֑ךָ וְכָל־מַרְבִּ֥ית בֵּיתְךָ֖ יָמ֥וּתוּ אֲנָשִֽׁים׃ [2] Hebrew: אֲנָשִׁים. [3] The expected Hiphil form. [4] There were a number of collections of Pesikta, Rabbinic homiletical Midrashim. [5] Pirkei Avoth is a tract of the Mishnah (Jewish oral law), relating ethical sayings of the Rabbis from the third century BC to the third century AD. [6] Moses de Kotzi (thirteenth century) was a French Jewish scholar. He wrote Sefer Mitzvot Gadol, a work on the positive and negative commandments of the Law.

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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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