Poole on 1 Samuel 2:6: Hannah's Song, Part 6

Verse 6:[1] (Deut. 32:39; Job 5:18; Hos. 6:1; Tob. 13:2;[2] Wisd. 16:13[3]) The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.



[The Lord kills and vivifies] Note the order of the words. First, Sorrowful things are set before the happy, adverse things before the prosperous. Thus in Jeremiah 1:10, …to root out…and to plant. He proceeds from the threat of evils to the promise of good (Mendoza). God kills whom He wills, and preserves from death whom He wills. God is the Lord of life and death. This verse is able to be understood, either, 1. of diverse; that is to say, He kills one, but another He heals, whose life was despaired of: or, 2. of the same, that is to say, He kills him, and the same He recalls to life (Vatablus). He dies, whoever falls into disease or grave calamity. That is called the death of calamities (Drusius). Thus certainly Seneca, …Life has the interchanges of death, when it is drawn to slow groanings.[4] And Martial,[5] Epigrams 6:69, Life is not to live, but to be strong. Those exiles are spoken of as the dead, and exile as the grave, Ezekiel 37:11 (Sanchez). He vivifies, restores to life, or preserves in life. Jonathan: He says to vivify, that is, He promises that He is going to vivify, namely, in the Resurrection of the dead, of which Kimchi explains this passage, as also of the Recovery of Breath from evils: Or it indicates the recompense of the just, and the punishment of the wicked, in their souls. These things from him (Drusius). It is figurative, the Lord makes barren, and He makes fruitful. For the sterile body is called dead, Romans 4:19 (Mendoza). And one barren is as a tree dry and dead, Isaiah 56:3 (Lapide).


Killeth, and maketh alive; either, 1. Diverse persons; he killeth one, and maketh another alive. Or, 2. The same person whom he first killeth, or bringeth very nigh unto death, he afterwards raiseth to life. Me, who was almost overwhelmed and consumed with grief, he hath revived. The name of death, both in sacred Scripture and profane writers, is oft given to great calamities; as Isaiah 26:19; Ezekiel 37:11; Romans 8:36.



[He brings down to the dead, מוֹרִ֥יד שְׁא֖וֹל]He makes to descend[6] (brings down [Septuagint], sends away [Junius and Tremellius], casts down [Syriac]) the infernal (Montanus), unto the infernal or nether regions (Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Pagnine), untothe lowest abyss (Tigurinus), unto the grave (Munster, Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus, Arabic).שְׁאוֹל/sheol signifies three things to the Hebrews, the Grave, the Infernal Regions, the State of the dead (Drusius).Delrio,[7] in his Adages 197, denies that שְׁאוֹל/sheol is ever used in Scripture for the Grave; which does not appear to be true (Mendoza).Here, it is certainly not able to be taken for the place of the damned, for God does not lead them out of that place (Malvenda).The infernal regions is used for the grave.She says the same things twice, with the words changed.The sense:Sometimes He (God) brings it to pass that one that so labors under sickness that he despairs of his life, and is now almost in the grave, He nevertheless heals (Grotius).The infernal regions often signifies whatever calamities, as in Psalm 18:5, the sorrows of the infernal regions compassed me,[8] that is, sorrows most grievous and bitter.Thus Psalm 116:3[9] (Mendoza).Thus elsewhere, thou hast brought up my soul from the infernal regions.[10]Thus Artemidorus,[11]τὸνπαρὰπροσδοκίανσωθένταφάμενἐξἅδουἀναβεβηκέναι, we say that one preserved beyond all hope has ascended from the infernal regions.Sidonius Apollinaris[12] said this, to return from the infernal seat, as it were.[13]Apuleius,[14]my appearance, returned from the infernal regions, etc.[15]Thus Terence[16] in Phormio,...I was buried, that is, I died.Thus in Matthew 11:23, unto heave thou art exalted; to the infernal regions thou shalt descend.[17]Mercerus[18] notes that שְׁאוֹל/Sheol comprehends all subterranean places; among which is the Grave.But it also signifies death.Therefore, the sense is, He brings down to death, and brings back from it (Drusius).It is evident that the grave is here understood from a comparison with the preceding member; for after the manner of the Propets the same thought is repeated.Extreme ignominy is here denoted (Piscator).

[1] Hebrew: יְהוָ֖ה מֵמִ֣ית וּמְחַיֶּ֑ה מוֹרִ֥יד שְׁא֖וֹל וַיָּֽעַל׃ [2] Tobit 13:2: “For he doth scourge, and hath mercy: he leadeth down to hell, and bringeth up again: neither is there any that can avoid his hand.” [3] Wisdom of Solomon 16:13: “For thou hast power of life and death: thou leadest to the gates of hell, and bringest up again.” [4] Hercules on Oeta 105, 106. [5] Marcus Valerius Martialis was a first century Roman poet. [6] The Hiphil conjugation frequently conveys a causative sense. [7] Martin Delrio (1551-1608) was a Spanish Jesuit theologian. [8] Psalm 18:5: “The sorrows of hell/sheol compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me (חֶבְלֵ֣י שְׁא֣וֹל סְבָב֑וּנִי קִ֜דְּמ֗וּנִי מ֣וֹקְשֵׁי מָֽוֶת׃).” [9] Psalm 116:3: “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me (אֲפָפ֤וּנִי׀ חֶבְלֵי־מָ֗וֶת וּמְצָרֵ֣י שְׁא֣וֹל מְצָא֑וּנִי): I found trouble and sorrow.” [10] Psalm 30:3: “O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the graveיְֽהוָ֗ה הֶֽעֱלִ֣יתָ) מִן־שְׁא֣וֹל נַפְשִׁ֑י): thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.” [11] Artemidorus Daldianus, or Ephesius, was a second century professional diviner, interpreter of dreams, and compiler of divination methods. [12] Sidonius Apolinaris (c. 430-489) was Bishop of Auvergne in Gaul, and his writings provide invaluable insight into the history of that time and place. [13] Epistles 5:3. [14] Apuleius’ (c. 125-c. 180) novel, Metamorphoses, or The Golden Ass, is the only Latin novel from this period that has survived in its entirety. [15] Metamorphoses 11:18. [16] Publius Terentius Afer (died 159 BC) was a Roman playwright. [17] Matthew 11:23: “And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell (ἡ ἕως τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθεῖσα, ἕως ᾅδου καταβιβασθήση): for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.” [18] John Mercerus (c. 1510-1572) was a French Catholic Hebraist, successor to Francis Vatablus as Professor of Hebrew and Chaldean at the Hebrew College, Paris (1549), a scholar and lecturer of great reputation in his day. He was suspected of having Calvinistic sympathies.

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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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