Poole on 1 Samuel 7:9: Samuel's Intercession, Part 2

Verse 9:[1] (Ecclus. 46:16[2]) And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and (Ps. 99:6; Jer. 15:1) Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard (or, answered[3]) him.

[Now, Samuel brought, etc.] Samuel, imitating the divine beneficence, does more than is required. They asked only that he would pray; he in addition sacrificed (Mendoza).

[A sucking lamb (thus the Septuagint, Arabic, Munster, Vatablus), טְלֵ֤ה חָלָב֙] A lamb of milk (Jonathan, Pagnine, Montanus, Vatablus, Munster). Our men incorrectly translate it, a fat lamb. For חָלָב/milk signifies one thing, and חֵלֶב/fat another (Munster). טָלֶה only occurs three times in the text (Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:43:424); in this passage and in Isaiah 40:11;[4] 65:25.[5] Now, it is wont to be explained by lamb, of the class of sheep. The Rabbis thus call Aries (which was a male of sheep) in the Zodiac; but in Æthiopic it is of the class of she-goats; for it is put for kids, Matthew 25:32, 33 (Dieu).

It might be a sucking lamb, though it was more than eight days old, and so that law, Exodus 23:19, was not violated.

[He offered it] He could seem to have violated multiple divine laws, but actually he did not violate any; as it is evident from this, that one that offers incorrectly does not please God, but sins. He did not sin, 1. in this that he sacrificed, although he was not a Priest. For, 1. he offered through a Priest (Menochius, Vatablus). Just as David,[6]Solomon,[7] etc., are read to have sacrificed (Mendoza). Now, Samuel was not a Priest: For in 1 Samuel 3 he was a porter of the Temple, which duty was indeed pertaining to the Levites, but not to the Aaronites (Vatablus). 2. Or Samuel sacrificed by divine privilege and dispensation; just like Gideon, Judges 6:19, and Elijah, 1 Kings 18 (Mendoza, Tostatus, Serarius). 2. He did not sin, in that he sacrificed outside of the place established by God. For he did this by dispensation, like Gideon, Manoah,[8] and Elijah. Some maintain that the Tabernacle of the covenant was by that time at Mizpeh. But this is uncertain. 3. And he did not sin against that law in Exodus 23:19, thou shalt not cook a kid in his mother’s milk, etc., that is, in less than eight days. But this lamb was more mature, although still a suckling (Mendoza).

Offered it; either himself by Divine instinct, which was a sufficient warrant; or rather by a priest, as Saul is afterwards said to have offered, 1 Samuel 13:9.

[A whole burnt-offering, עוֹלָ֛ה כָּלִ֖יל] Ἐκ παραλλήλου, pleonastically. For כָּלִיל/burnt-offering/whole is the same thing as עוֹלָה/burnt-offering. Some think that כָּלִיל is an adjective of עוֹלָה/burnt-offering; but the gender hinders. For עוֹלָה is feminine; כָּלִיל is masculine (Drusius). [They render it variously:] A burnt-offering (Jonathan), sacrifice (Arabic). [Thus they disregard the כָּלִיל/burnt-offering.] A burnt-offering whole (Drusius, Montanus), or consumed (Munster), or entire (Syriac, Tigurinus, Piscator, Osiander). But here is a great difficulty. For the law of the burnt-offering was, they shall divide the members, etc., Leviticus 1:12, while the whole lamb is here delivered to the flames (Menochius). Response: The straits of the time, which the threatening enemy was producing, were such, that they did not divide the lamb into parts, as it was customary, but offered it whole; and perhaps with the hide, legs, and intestines (Menochius out of Salian). But I hardly believe that he did not observe the divine laws. Indeed, I would rather have said that Samuel, even in that confusion of affairs, offered [notwithstanding] an altogether perfect burnt-offering; or that he preserved integrity twofold: the first in a certain manner intrinsic, of the sacrificial animal, in burning all the parts: the other in a certain manner extrinsic, in observing all the rites and laws of the burnt-offering: for nothing appears more worthy for such a minister, than that he might most perfectly execute the divine offices even in the midst of dangers (Mendoza). [But the Septuagint renders it otherwise, the burnt-offering with all the people.] Thus the sense is, Samuel as minister, with the people as assistant and suppliant, offered (Mendoza). An entire sacrifice (Castalio); for a whole burnt-offering (Pagnine). Even an entire burnt-offering; that is, completely burned, in which the whole victim was wont to be consumed in the flames (Vatablus). Or a burnt-offering to be altogether consumed (Drusius, similarly Osiander, Strigelius). The whole for a burnt-offering (Dutch); for a burnt-offering wholly (English). Perhaps the copula is missing, so that it might be a burnt-offering and a thing to be altogether consumed (Drusius). Others refer the word whole to the lamb, a whole lamb, that is, without defect or blemish (Malvenda).

A burnt-offering wholly; burning all the parts of it, according to the law of the burnt-offerings; whereas in other offerings some parts were reserved.

[And he cried] Not so much with the mouth as with the heart (Mendoza). For what he cried is not written (Martyr).

[And He hearkened] Hebrew: and He answered[9] (Mendoza). But whence comes this? Response: Either, 1. From the fire, descended from heaven, devouring the burnt-offering, which was an indication of divine acceptance. See on Leviticus 9:24; Judges 13:20; 1 Kings 18:38; Psalm 18:8 (Rabbis in Mendoza). But this is uncertain (Mendoza). Or, 2. From the great thundering that God emitted, whereby the Philistines were also confounded (Drusius). 3. Others by metalepsis, or anticipation, refer it to the event (Martyr). The divine acceptation was revealed by its effect (Mendoza). The sacrifice was not magnificent. But God has regard to the heart of the offerer, not external pomp. Samuel wanted to display to the people that Lamb of God, in whom peace and salvation were to be sought (Martyr). This typical lamb of Samuel took its force and efficacy from that Lamb (Mendoza out of Gregory).

The Lord heard him, as appears by the effects, the following thunder, and the overthrow of the Philistines’ host.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּקַּ֣ח שְׁמוּאֵ֗ל טְלֵ֤ה חָלָב֙ אֶחָ֔ד וַיַּעֲלֶ֧ה עוֹלָ֛ה כָּלִ֖יל לַֽיהוָ֑ה וַיִּזְעַ֙ק שְׁמוּאֵ֤ל אֶל־יְהוָה֙ בְּעַ֣ד יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַֽיַּעֲנֵ֖הוּ יְהוָֽה׃ [2] Ecclesiasticus 46:16: “He called upon the mighty Lord, when his enemies pressed upon him on every side, when he offered the sucking lamb.” [3] Hebrew: וַיַּעֲנֵהוּ. [4] Isaiah 40:11: “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs (טְלָאִים) with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” [5] Isaiah 65:25: “The wolf and the lamb (וְטָלֶה) shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.” [6] See, for example, 1 Chronicles 21:28. [7] See, for example, 2 Chronicles 7:5. [8] Judges 13:15-23. [9] Hebrew: וַיַּעֲנֵהוּ.