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Prayer in the Bible.:




By John Chopores



1 Samuel 1:12  And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.

“12-18. Eli marked her mouth --The suspicion of the aged priest seems to indicate that the vice of intemperance was neither uncommon nor confined to one sex in those times of disorder.” [JFB].

“that Eli marked her mouth; observed the motion of her lips, and no doubt her distorted countenance, and uplifted eyes and hands, but chiefly the former; not knowing what the woman was at, and what could be the meaning of such motions.” [JOHN GILL].


 1 Samuel 1:13  Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.

“but her voice was not heard: that she might not seem to be ostentatious in her prayer, and that she might not interrupt others in their devotions; and she knew that her voice was not necessary with respect to God:


 therefore Eli thought she had been drunken; by the motions she made, and gestures she used, as if she was muttering something to herself, and by her long continuance therein, and it being after a feast she had been at with her husband, and the rest of the family; from all which Eli concluded this must be her case.” [JOHN GILL].

 1 Samuel 1:14  And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.


1:15  And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.

“Ver. 15. And Hannah answered and said, no, my lord, &c.] That is not my case, you have greatly mistaken it; she answered with great mildness and meekness, without falling into a passion at such a scandalous imputation upon her, and with great respect and reverence to Eli, suitable to his office;” [john gill].


 1:16  Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.

1:17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.

“Ver. 17. Then Eli answered and said, go in peace, &c.] He found he was mistaken in her, and that her discourse was not only sober and rational, but religious and spiritual; and therefore dismisses her in peace, and bids her not distress herself with what he had said to her, nor with anything she had met with from others, or from the Lord; but expect peace and prosperity, and particularly success in what she had been engaged, and had been solicitous for:” [JOHN GILL].


17    And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.


1 Samuel 2:11 Ά And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child did minister unto the LORD before Eli the priest.

“Eli shunned trouble and exertion. This led him to indulge his children, without using parental authority to restrain and correct them when young. He winked at the abuses in the service of the sanctuary till they became customs, and led to abominations; and his sons, who should have taught those that engaged in the service of the sanctuary what was good, solicited them to wickedness. Their offence was committed even in offering the sacrifices for sins, which typified the atonement of the Saviour! Sins against the remedy, the atonement itself, are most dangerous, they tread under foot the blood of the covenant. Eli's reproof was far too mild and gentle. In general, none are more abandoned than the degenerate children of godly persons, when they break through restraints.” [MATTHEW HENRY].

“and the child did minister unto the Lord before Eli the priest; he not only read in the book of the law, but learned to sing the praises of God vocally, and to play upon an instrument of music used in the service of God in those times, and to light the lamps in the tabernacle, and open and shut the doors of it, and the like; which were suitable to his age, and which might not be quite so tender as some have thought; or this may respect some small beginnings in the ministry of the sanctuary, in which he gradually increased under the inspection, guidance, and instruction of Eli, which is meant by ministering before him; the Targum is,


 ``in the life of Eli the priest;''


 he began his ministration before his death.” [JOHN GILL].


1 Samuel 2:12  Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.

“12. Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial --not only careless and irreligious, but men loose in their actions, and vicious and scandalous in their habits. Though professionally engaged in sacred duties, they were not only strangers to the power of religion in the heart, but they had thrown off its restraints, and even ran, as is sometimes done in similar cases by the sons of eminent ministers, to the opposite extreme of reckless and open profligacy.” [JFB].

“Ver. 12. Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial, &c.] Not that Eli their father was Belial, a wicked man; but though they had so good a father, they were very wicked men, unprofitable abandoned wretches, that cast off the yoke of the law of God, and gave themselves up to all manner of wickedness:


 they knew not the Lord; not that they had no knowledge of God in theory, or were real atheists, but they were so practically; they denied him in works, they had no love to him, nor fear of him, and departed from his ways and worship, as much as if they were entirely ignorant of him; so the Targum,


 ``they did not know to fear before the Lord,''


 or serve him; or, as Kimchi,


 ``they did not know the way of the Lord,''


 that is, practically.” [JOHN GILL].


1 Samuel 2:22  Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

“22-24. the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle --This was an institution of holy women of a strictly ascetic order, who had relinquished worldly cares and devoted themselves to the Lord; an institution which continued down to the time of Christ(#Lu 2:37). Eli was, on the whole, a good man, but lacking in the moral and religious training of his family. He erred on the side of parental indulgence; and though he reprimanded them (see JFB on "De 21:18"), yet, from fear or indolence, he shrank from laying on them the restraints, or subjecting them to the discipline, their gross delinquencies called for. In his judicial capacity, he winked at their flagrant acts of maladministration and suffered them to make reckless encroachments on the constitution, by which the most serious injuries were inflicted both on the rights of the people and the laws of God.” [JFB].


1 Sam. 2: 23  And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.


“Verse 23. Why do ye such things!Ρ Eli appears to have been a fondly affectionate, easy father, who wished his sons to do well, but did not bring them under proper discipline, and did not use his authority to restrain them. As judge, he had power to cast them immediately out of the vineyard, as wicked and unprofitable servants; this he did not, and his and their ruin was the consequence.” [adam cl].

“Ver. 23. And he said unto them, why do ye such things? &c.] As to impose upon the people that bring their offerings, by taking more than is due, and in a very indecent and imperious manner; and especially to defile the women when they came to worship: these were very scandalous sins, and deserved a more severe reprimand, and indeed a greater chastisement than by mere words; Eli should have rebuked them more sharply, and laid open the evil of their doings, and as a judge punished them for them:


 for I hear of your evil doings by all this people; the inhabitants of Shiloh, or who came thither to worship, who were continually making their complaints to Eli; which still shows his backwardness to reprove them in the manner he did until he was obliged to it by the continual remonstrances of the people against the practices of his sons; he did not attend to the information he had from a few persons, until it became general.” [JOHN GILL].


1 Sam. 2:24  Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD'S people to transgress.


“ Ver. 24. Nay, my sons, &c.] This seems to be too soft and smooth an appellation, too kind and endearing, considering the offence they were guilty of, and were now reproving for; rather they deserved to be called sons of Belial, the children of the devil, than sons of Eli, or brutes and shameless wretches, and such like hard names:


 for it is no good report that I hear; a very bad one; far from being good, scarce anything worse could have been said of them; to rob persons of the flesh of their offerings, when there was a sufficient allowance made for them by law, and to be so impious as to require what was not their due, and even before the Lord had his; and to debauch the women that came to religious worship, and that in the sacred place of worship, they also being priests of the Lord, and married men; sins very shocking and sadly aggravated, and yet Eli treats them in this gentle manner:


 ye make the Lord's people to transgress: by causing them to forbear to bring their sacrifices, being used in such an injurious and overbearing way; and by decoying the women into uncleanness, and by setting examples to others: or, "to cry out"; as in the margin of our Bibles, to exclaim against them for their exorbitant and lewd practices; so the Targum,


 ``the people of the Lord murmur because so ill used by them:''


 this clause may be read in connection with the former, "it is no good report that I hear, which ye cause to pass through the Lord's people"; ye occasion the people to speak ill of you everywhere, in the camp of Israel, throughout the whole nation; the report as it is bad, it is general, is in everyone's mouth;” [JOHN GILL].


1 Sam.2: 25  If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them.

“25. they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because --it should be therefore.


 the Lord would slay them --It was not God's preordination, but their own wilful and impenitent disobedience which was the cause of their destruction.” [JFB].

“notwithstanding, they hearkened not unto the voice of their father; to his reproofs and counsels, his reasonings and expostulations; though his rebukes were so gentle, and this last reasoning of his so close and strong, so nervous and striking:” [JOHN GILL].




2:27 Ά And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house?

“#27-36 Those who allow their children in any evil way, and do not use their authority to restrain and punish them, in effect honour them more than God. Let Eli's example excite parents earnestly to strive against the beginnings of wickedness, and to train up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” [MATTHEW H].


32  And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever.

“27. there came a man of God unto Eli, and said...that there shall not be an old man in thine house --So much importance has always, in the East, been attached to old age, that it would be felt to be a great calamity, and sensibly to lower the respectability of any family which could boast of few or no old men. The prediction of this prophet was fully confirmed by the afflictions, degradation, poverty, and many untimely deaths with which the house of Eli was visited after its announcement (see#1Sa 4:11 14:3 22:18-23 1Ki 2:27)” [JFB].


1 Samuel 3:14  And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.

“that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever: not even typically, which was all that legal sacrifice could do; and not so that the priesthood should ever return to the family again, as the office of high priesthood never did; or, as Abarbinel interprets it, because of sacrifice and offering, that the iniquity Eli's sons were guilty of in taking the flesh of the sacrifices and offerings, which did not belong to them, and before the Lord had his part, should never be expiated.


 (There are some sins that are not covered in the atonement of Jesus Christ. This is one of them and the sin against the Holy Ghost is another. #Mt 12:31. Editor.)” [john gill].