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Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I.
And he said, What is the thing that the Lord hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee.
And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said. It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good.
And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
And all Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lor D.
And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh: for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the Word of the Lok D.
And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. .*
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
Whilst the family of Eli were dishonouring God, Samuel, though a little chiid, was devouily attending on his service, and daily improving in those religious graces which are rewarded with the favour of the Lord, and those amiable virtues that procure , the esteem of mankind.
It is to be observed that the Divine revelation was given to Samuel by an ofien,•vision of the Word of the Lord. In the New Testament we read, that the Word was the same Divine Being by whom the world was created *, the Lord God.
From the days of Moses, till the time of Samuel, the
* See John i. 1, &c.
Word of the Lord was seldom revealed. Now and then a person was inspired to deliver messages from God on extraordinary occasions, as in the case of Eli; but there were no settled prophets, to whom the people might have recourse to know the will of the Loud; for it is likely that the Lord withheld the spirit of prophecy as a token of His displeasure, on account of the corruption of His holy worship.
Samuel was laid down to sleep in some apartment adjoining to Eli's, when the Word of the Loud came unto him: supposing that it was Eli's voice, he hasted, with dutiful respect, to wait on him, though in the dead of the night. Samuel, who no doubt, from his early piety, had high and sublime notions of the divine majesty, bad no idea that the Loud would condescend to speak as with a human voice.
How humiliating must it have been to Eli, when he found that a little child was preferred before him! For he had reason to regard this circumstance as a farther token of God's displeasure against his house: this would naturally make him inquisitive into the matter that was going to be revealed; and his being convinced beforehand that the Lord was about to speak, would prevent bis suspecting that Samuel had invented, or imagined the thing. Eli however, as his duty required, gave the best instructions he could to Samuel who returned to his bed, and at this time seems to have had some visible token of the Divine Presence, for it is said, that the Lord stood and called as at other times, which satisfied Samuel that it was not Eli who called him; he answered as Eli had taught him ; and then, with silence and composure, received the awful message.
We may imagine that Eli experienced the most gainful perturbations of mind, till he knew what the
Lord had revealed; and Samuel's backwardness to declare the heavy tidings, shews, that he had a tender affection for Eli, and was afraid to grieve him. The patient resignation of the poor old man, shewed, that his heart acknowledged the poiuer of God, and the justice of the sentence pronounced against his wicked sons.
We may learn from the punishment of Eli, that those who do not restrain others from sin, when in their power, make themselves partakers in their guilt; especially parents, whose particular duty it is, not only to admonish, but to chastise their children, if they do ill.
Young persons, who are well disposed, will listen to such mild reproofs from their parents as they must be sensible proceed from an affectionate solicitude for their welfare ; but if they are so obstinate and disobedient as to render these ineffectual, paternal love requires, that punishment should be inflicted; for who would willingly consign their beloved offspring to the curse of God, and risk the' loss of their temporal and eternal happiness? If Eli had properly discharged his duty in this respect, he would have escaped that disgrace and disappointment which, as we shall find, brought down his grey hairs with sorrow to the grave, "and his sons might have lived to be the comfort and ciown of his old age.
THE ISRA FlITKS OVERCOME BY THF. PHILISTINES
THK ARK IS TAKEN, AND ELl's SONS SLAIN
From 1 Samuel, Chap. iv.
Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle* and pitched beside Eben-ezer: and the Philistines pitched in Aphek.
And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines : and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men.
And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the Lord smitten' us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark. of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us, that when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the' hand of our enemies.
So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the Lord qf hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with' the-ark of the covenant of God.
And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again.
And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What mcaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? and they understood that the ark of the Lord was come into the camp.
And the Philistines were afraid; for they said, God' is come into the camp. And they said, Wo unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore.
Wp unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty gods? these are the gods that smote the Egyptians with all the.plagues in the wilderness.
Be strong and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight.
And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent; and there was a
Vol, I J. O veiy very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen.
And the ark of God was taken ; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.
And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head.
And when he came, lo Eli sat upon a seat by the way side, watching; for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city and told it, all the city cried out.
And when Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, What meaneth the noise of this tumult i and the man came in hastily, and told Eli.
Now Eli was ninety and nine years old; and his eyes were dim, that he could not see.
And the man said unto Eli, I am he that came out of the array, and I fled to day out of the army. And he said, What is there done, my son? And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken.
And it came to pass when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake and he died,; for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years. And hi* daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, bare a son at that time, and she died also; and she said, The glory is departed from Israel, for the ark of God is taken.