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Poole on 1 Samuel 7:2: The Ark in Obscurity, Part 2

[circa 1120 BC] Verse 2:[1] And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjath-jearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.

[From which day the ark remained, מיּ֞וֹם שֶׁ֤בֶת הָֽאָרוֹן֙] From the day to remain the Ark[2] (Montanus), unto to settle (Drusius); from the day on which it remained (Pagnine, Munster, similarly Tigurinus, Syriac, Junius and Tremellius), or, was brought in (Arabic).

The ark abode in Kirjath-jearim, and was not carried to Shiloh, its former place, either because that place was destroyed by the Philistines when the ark was taken, as may be gathered from this history, compared with Jeremiah 7:12, 14; 26:6, 9; or because God would hereby punish the wickedness, either of that particular place of Shiloh, or of the people of Israel, by keeping it in a private and obscure place, and that near to the Philistines, whither the generality of the people neither durst nor could safely come.

[The days were multiplied, וַיִּרְבּוּ] The ו/and does not conjoin, but converts the future/imperfect into a perfect (Vatablus). From the day…many days elapsed (Pagnine, similarly the Syriac, Arabic, Munster, Osiander).

[Indeed, it was now the twentieth year] These twenty years are not to be taken for the whole time in which the Ark was in Kirjath-jearim (for thus the years were more than forty, namely, the whole time of Saul, which was forty years, Acts 13:21: For David carried it up, etc., 2 Samuel 6:2); but for the time that passed until that assembly of Samuel, concerning which see the following verses (Mendoza, similarly Lightfoot). I understand these words in this way, and thus they ought to be construed; that the Ark was twenty years in Kirjath-jearim, before the Israelites were seeking it, or were feeling its loss. Idolatry and impiety had wrought in them such deep roots; Therefore, Samuel says in verse 3, if with your whole heart ye return, etc. (Lightfoot). This place was near to the Philistines, and on the borders of Israel; whither Hebrews of piety from the others tribes were not able conveniently to approach (Sanchez).

It was twenty years; he saith not that this twenty years was all the time of the ark’s abode there; for it continued there from Eli’s time till David’s reign, 2 Samuel 6:2, which was forty years, Acts 13:21; but that it was so long there ere the Israelites were sensible of their sin and misery, ere they lamented, etc., as it follows.

[And all the house of Israel rested after the Lord[3]] That is, they were previously vacillating, and were inclining sometimes unto this religion, sometimes unto that; they now establish a stable and fixed walk in obedience to the God (Sanchez). It reads יָנוּחוּ, they rested, from נוּחָ, to rest. So also the Chaldean,וְאִתְנְהִיאוּ (Lapide). And they were at rest after the worship of the Lord (Jonathan). [Thus the Latin and Jonathan; but Schindler translates it, they were gathered after the Lord, as in Jeremiah 3:[4] And Vatablus translates it, they congregated, etc.]

[וַיִּנָּה֛וּ כָּל־בֵּ֥ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל אַחֲרֵ֥י יְהוָֽה׃] And they lamented, all the house of Israel, after the Lord (Montanus), or, unto the Lord (Castalio); they groaned to the Lord (Dutch); it cried before the Lord (Strigelius). With tears they lamented the great abasement of religion and the republic (Osiander). With a kind of lamentation they were panting after the Lord (Tigurinus). They lamentated, and followed Jehovah (Pagnine). They cried out lamentation to Jehovah (Junius and Tremellius), because of the grievous oppressions that they were forced to bear from the Philistines (Junius). It looked (in the Complutensian, it turned back) after the Lord (Septuagint). And all the Israelites had inclined after the Lord (Syriac). It repented after the Lord (Munster). The verb נָהָה, to lament, is put in the Niphal, which intensifies the signification (Malvenda). This passage is quite memorable, because of the general conversion and repentance of the whole people; the like of which we hardly find in all of Scripture, except in Acts 2; 3 (Lightfoot).

The house of Israel lamented after the Lord, that is, they followed after God with lamentation for his departure and so long estrangement from them, and with prayers for his return and favour to them.

[1] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֗י מִיּ֞וֹם שֶׁ֤בֶת הָֽאָרוֹן֙ בְּקִרְיַ֣ת יְעָרִ֔ים וַיִּרְבּוּ֙ הַיָּמִ֔ים וַיִּֽהְי֖וּ עֶשְׂרִ֣ים שָׁנָ֑ה וַיִּנָּה֛וּ כָּל־בֵּ֥ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל אַחֲרֵ֥י יְהוָֽה׃ [2] A woodenly literalistic rendering of the Hebrew. [3] Hebrew: וַיִּנָּה֛וּ כָּל־בֵּ֥ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל אַחֲרֵ֥י יְהוָֽה׃. [4] Jeremiah 3:17a: “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and shall be gathered (וְנִקְוּוּ; וְיִתנְהוֹן, and shall cry for, in the Chaldean) all nations unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem…”

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