Poole on 1 Samuel 2:8: Hannah's Song, Part 8

Verse 8:[1] (Ps. 113:7, 8; Dan. 4:17; Luke 1:52) He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, (Job 36:7) to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for (Job 38:4-6; Ps. 24:2; 102:25; 104:5; Heb. 1:3) the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them.



[He awakens from the dust, etc.] Some maintain that there is an allusion to a custom of those nations. Suppliants were wont to prostrate themselves upon the ground, and to makes their requests while prostrate in ash and dust, as it is evident out of Homer’s Odyssey 11, Philo’s On the Embassy to Gaius, Apollonius’ Argonautica[2] 3, Isaiah 47:1. Now, Judges, moved with compassion, were raising guilty suppliants from the dust, and were placing those honorifically received in seats. Thus Martinus de Roa,[3] Of Remarkable Places[4] 4:2; Delrio, Adages 175. With which I have no disagreement (Mendoza). To sit in the dust in Scripture frequently signifies bereavement and sorrow (Sanchez). From the dust, that is, from the lowest degree or order (Vatablus, similarly Drusius).


Out of the dust, that is, out of their low and miserable condition, as this phrase is used, 1 Kings 16:2; Psalm 113:7. Compare Job 16:15; Psalm 22:15.


[From the filth[5]] Or, dunghill (all interpreters). But the more recent translation of Junius and Tremellius (says Drusius), from dunghills, as if אַשְׁפּוֹת were plural, from אַשְׁפָּה. But אַשְׁפָּה signifies a quiver. But אַשְׁפּוֹת is singular, in the form of אֲחוֹת/sister, which would be fully written אֲחִיוֹת. But its plural is אַשְׁפַּתּוֹת/dunghills, Lamentations 4:5 (Drusius). From the filth, that is, squalor; that is, He lifts the destitute from the lowest condition (Vatablus).


From the dunghill; from the most sordid place and mean estate. Compare 1 Kings 16:2; Job 36:11; Psalm 7:5. Dunghill; which the poor are said to embrace, Lamentations 4:5.


[So that he might sit with princes, לְהוֹשִׁיב֙ עִם־נְדִיבִ֔ים] So that He might cause to sit, or set, him with Princes (Pagnine, Vatablus, Drusius), with the mighty of the people (Septuagint), with the righteous princes of the world (Jonathan), with the nobles (Junius and Tremellius), with benefactors (Drusius), voluntary, or liberal. For thus princes are called from their liberality, Luke 22:25 (Mendoza). The sense: He makes him illustrious and noble (Vatablus). Those born in obscurity He raises to royal dignity, and removes the powerful from their seat (Munster).



[And possess the throne of glory, וְכִסֵּ֥א כָב֖וֹד יַנְחִלֵ֑ם] And to possess (or to inherit [Montanus]) the throne of glory He makes them, that is, him: which is to say, each one of them (Vatablus), namely, the weak man and the destitute man, which two things precede; for a plural pronoun answers to two or more singulars. Thus in Genesis 1:27, male and female created He אֹתָם/them. See also Judges 19:24 (Glassius’ “Gramma” 206). The sense: He set them in dignities and the highest offices (Vatablus). Fortifying the thrones of glory for them (Jonathan), or, furnishing them for an inheritance; which is to say, God not only exalts them, but establishes those raised, lest they fall. Those that are raised by the whirl of fortune, are cast headlong by the same returning again. Those that ascend by God as guide, are upheld by Him (lest they fall) (Mendoza). Moreover, the throne of glory, that is, of the kingdom, as in Esther 14:2, her garment of glory,[6] in the place of, her royal garment; and in Matthew 6:29, Solomon in his glory, that is, the majesty of his kingdom; in Esther 1:4, the riches, the glory of his kingdom, or of the glory of his kingdom, that is, of his glorious kingdom (Drusius).


To make them inherit; not only possess themselves, but transfer them to their posterity, as hath oft happened in the world; or, possess. The throne of glory, that is, a glorious throne or kingdom.


[For, the poles of the earth belong to the Lord, כִּ֤י לַֽיהוָה֙ מְצֻ֣קֵי אֶ֔רֶץ] Because to the Lord belong the stations of the earth (Montanus); the Lord has concealed the innermost or depths of the earth (Syriac, Arabic). The pillars of the earth are the Lord’s (Munster, Tigurinus, English, Osiander, Vatablus, Kimchi in Munster), that is, the Lord created and founded the earth; and He is the Lord of it and of all things that are in it (Vatablus). That is to say, it is not strange that God furnishes the things previously mentioned, since He is the Lord of all, and He alone established the pillars of the world, and powerfully sustains them (lest the world fall) (Munster). Others: the foundations of the earth (Rabbi Isaiah in Drusius, certain interpreters in Piscator, Dutch). Compare Job 38:4, and then Psalm 102:25; 104:5; 125:1 (Piscator). Others: the hinges of the earth (Pagnine, Junius and Tremellius, Drusius, Grotius). That is, the poles, around which the earth turns. Thus, from a thesis acknowledge among all, she confirms the singular providence of God (Junius). The earth has its poles, upon which, either it sustains itself in quiet, or (as others maintain) it turns itself in motion: which the lodestone imitates (Grotius). He is the Lord of the whole earth, from one pole to the other; for He is the maker and preserver of it (Menochius). By divine power thus all human affairs are turned most readily, and are carried up and down, as if the earth had its own hinges, upon which with no difficulty the earth, and all things contained in it, God seizes and turns in whatever direction He wills: just as it is in heaven; because He is the Lord of its poles, according to His own will He moves that, and all the stars fixed in it, in a perpetual rotation (Tirinus for the most part out of Sanchez). Therefore, a note of similitude is to understood here; that is to say, just as in heaven, etc., so also in the case of the earth it appears to have its hinges, upon which all human affairs are turned; just as the gates of great cites are also turned on their hinges by a weak arm. Hinge, therefore, is to be taken metaphorically here; just as we say the hinge of a case, upon which its substance is hung (Sanchez). This is Catachresis[7] (Lapide), or a καταχρηστικὴ/catachrestic metaphor (Piscator). For the earth has no hinges or bases: but by מְצֻקֵי, that is, foundations, pillars, or bases, understand the firmness and solidity of the earth itself, put into it by God at the first creation. For, undergirded by this, as if on firm hinges and bases, although actually suspended in the air, the earth remains stable, firm, and immobile. The will and power of God alone is its base (Lapide, similarly Sanchez). By these hinges she signifies the earth itself, so that it is a reasoning from the greater to the lesser, as it were; the God holds the foundations and pillars of this world in His power; how much more is He able to do all the things that I just now mentioned (Serarius)? Or, by the name of hinges she metaphorically signifies Princes. Thus Gregory, Bede,[8] Jansen,[9] and others. This is not strange. For, these are called corners, Judges 20:2;[10] 1 Samuel 14:38;[11] Zephaniah 3:6,[12] and pillars, Psalm 75:3; Jeremiah 1:18; Revelation 3:12. Therefore, the sense is that raises the poor and needy from their humble state unto the highest positions, etc. Which He is able easily to fulfill, since He has the princes of the world under His power; and, just as He bestowed upon them the height of authority, so also He is able to remove it (Mendoza). By hinges others understand righteous men, by whose merits the earth stands; according to that saying, the just man is the foundation of the world (Hebrews in Drusius). Thus, in Psalm 47:9, the righteous are called the shields of the earth,[13] from their protection of it. It is able to be translated, the smeltings, or fusions, of the earth, as if the earth at its creation was poured, as it were, by a casting work (Malvenda).


[He has set the world upon them (thus Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, similarly Junius and Tremellius, Dutch, Syriac), וַיָּ֥שֶׁת עֲלֵיהֶ֖ם תֵּבֵֽל׃] And He underpropped the world upon them (Vatablus). And He set confusion upon them (Montanus), taking תֵּבֵל from בָּלַל, to mix or confuse, because in this habitable world all things are mixed and confused, men, cattle, trees, etc. (Malvenda). Before Him the works of men are open; He prepared Gehenna below for wick men transgressing His word, but founded the world for the righteous, doing His will (Jonathan). And He made habitable regions upon it (Arabic).


The pillars; either, 1. The foundations of the earth, which God created and upholds, and wherewith he sustains the earth, and all its inhabitants, as a house is supported with pillars; and therefore it is not strange if he disposeth of persons and things therein as he pleaseth. Or, 2. The princes or governors of the earth, which are called the corners, or cornerstones, of a land or people, Judges 20:2; 1 Samuel 14:38; Zephaniah 3:6, and are fitly called pillars, because they uphold the world, and keep it from sinking into confusion. See Psalm 74:2; Jeremiah 1:18; Revelation 3:12. And these are here said to be the Lord’s, by creation and constitution, because he advanceth them to their state, and preserves them in it, Proverbs 8:15, 16, and puts the world, or the kingdoms of the world, upon them, as burdens upon their shoulders: see Isaiah 9:6.

[1] Hebrew: מֵקִ֙ים מֵעָפָ֜ר דָּ֗ל מֵֽאַשְׁפֹּת֙ יָרִ֣ים אֶבְי֔וֹן לְהוֹשִׁיב֙ עִם־נְדִיבִ֔ים וְכִסֵּ֥א כָב֖וֹד יַנְחִלֵ֑ם כִּ֤י לַֽיהוָה֙ מְצֻ֣קֵי אֶ֔רֶץ וַיָּ֥שֶׁת עֲלֵיהֶ֖ם תֵּבֵֽל׃ [2] Apollonius of Rhodes (third century BC) was a Hellenistic poet, who retold the story of Jason and the Argonauts. [3] Martinus de Roa (1561-1637) was a Spanish Jesuit. [4] Singularium Locorum et Rerum. [5] Hebrew: מֵאַשְׁפֹּת. [6] Esther 14:2 (in the Greek): “And laid away her glorious apparel, and put on the garments of anguish and mourning: and instead of precious ointments, she covered her head with ashes and dung, and she humbled her body greatly, and all the places of her joy she filled with her torn hair.” [7] That is, an improper use of the word. [8] Bede (c. 672-735), known as the Venerable Bede, was an English monk whose fame rests largely on his ecclesiastical history of England (c. 731). He wrote many other works, including commentaries on the Pentateuch, Kings, Esdras, Tobias, the Gospels, Acts, and the Catholic Epistles. His interpretive work is characterized by his commitment to the tradition of the Fathers, and by his use of the allegorical method of interpretation. [9] Cornelius Jansen (1585-1638) was a Dutch Roman Catholic. He served as Bishop of Ypres in Flanders, and was responsible for an Augustinian movement, which came to be known as Jansenism. Jansen’s opposition to the Jesuits, and adherence to Augustine, brought him no closer to Protestantism. [10] Judges 20:2: “And the chief (פִּנּוֹת/corners) of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen that drew sword.” [11] 1 Samuel 14:38: “And Saul said, Draw ye near hither, all the chief (פִּנּוֹת/corners) of the people: and know and see wherein this sin hath been this day.” [12] Zephaniah 3:6: “I have cut off the nations: their towers (פִּנּוֹתָם, their corners) are desolate; I made their streets waste, that none passeth by: their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, that there is none inhabitant.” [13] Psalm 47:9: “The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields (מָגִנֵּי) of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted.”

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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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