Poole on 1 Samuel 2:4: Hannah's Song, Part 4

Verse 4:[1] (Ps. 37:15, 17; 76:3) The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.



[The bow of the mighty is overcome, קֶ֥שֶׁת גִּבֹּרִ֖ים חַתִּ֑ים] A bow, mighty men are broken (Montanus). The bow of the broken mighty, that is, the broken bow. For, sometimes to two substantives is subjoined an adjective agreeing with the latter, while it ought to agree with the first; thus in Exodus 25:5, skins, of rams dyed red,[2] that is, skins dyed red. Thus some take that in Genesis 4:10, the voice of the bloods of thy brother are צֹעֲקִים/crying to me,[3] that is, crying, so that it might be referred to the voice; yet others refer it to the bloods. The voice of the bloods crying (Glassius’ “Grammar” 52). Thus the voice of Princes are hidden,[4] in the place of, is hidden (Drusius). The bow and the mighty were broken (Pagnine, Vatablus, similarly Kimchi in Drusius). The bow of the powerful was weak (Septuagint). The bows of giants will be broken (Syriac, similarly the Arabic). With the bow the mighty or strong are worn out (Junius and Tremellius, Drusius). Hebrew: the bow of the strong, an Hypallage[5] (Junius, Drusius). As if it were בַּקֶּשֶׁת, by the bow. But that would have been better expressed, גִּבוֹרֵי קֶשֶׁת, the mighty of bow, or with the bow (Drusius). The bow of the mighty was worn out (Tigurinus). The bow with the mighty was worn out. God wears out the mighty with their arms (Munster). The bow of the strong, individually they are worn out. The singular bow is joined with a plural to denote a collection of individuals (Piscator). Perhaps the Singular is in the place of the Plural, as it is often the case; or the singular noun is signifying a multitude, as in pars in frusta secant,[6] a part divides into crumbs. Grammarians call it Synthesis (Drusius). The sense: Arms are of no advantage to the strong; those that were only seeming to be superior are conquered at once; and those that were conquered are made superior (Vatablus). Bow is here set down for power, especially martial, as in Psalm 37:15; 44:6; 46:9. For, formerly the greatest might of war was posited in Arrows; especially among the Easterners, even indeed among the Israelites, 2 Samuel 1:18; 1 Chronicles 12:1, 2 (Mendoza). Properly, the biting tongue of Peninnah, which was shooting mockery and grimaces (as if arrows) at Hannah, she calls a bow (Lapide out of Lyra).


The bows of the mighty men are broken: This notes either, 1. The strength of which they boasted. See Psalm 44:6; 46:9. Or, 2. Their malicious or mischievous designs. See Psalm 7:12; 11:2; 37:14. Or, 3. Their virulent tongues, which are compared to bows that shoot their arrows, even bitter words; as it is said Psalm 64:3: compare Jeremiah 9:3. Or, 4. Their procreating virtue, which may well be compared to a bow, both because it is called a man’s strength, Genesis 49:3, and because children, which are the effects of it, a