1 Samuel Chapter 2


1 Hannah’s song in thankfulness. 12 The sin of Eli’s sons. 18 Samuel’s ministry. 20 By Eli’s blessing Hannah is more fruitful. 22 Eli’s reproveth his sons. 27 A prophecy against Eli’s house.

And Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation.

Rejoices in the Lord. This second visit to Shiloh was of an entirely different nature from that recorded in chapter 1.

Then Hannah’s burden was an intercession for herself; now it is a great litany of praise.

As a result of her full surrender to the Lord she is happy for the privilege of giving back to her Creator that which He has given her.

In doing so she experiences the highest form of joy, for has she not learned to appreciate His loving-kindness in a new way?

She extols God as the author of mercy revealed in His compassion to the helpless.

She gains a new vision of His power, now evident in His control over the hidden forces of nature, in silently counteracting the forces of evil that would dishearten and defeat her, and in causing an evil environment itself to contribute immeasurably to the depth and fullness of her joy.

She understands anew the covenant made with her forefathers, that God’s children should become a blessing to all nations. Hannah’s song of joy was an inspired prophecy of David and of the Messiah.


“Hannah’s words were prophetic, both of David, who should reign as king of Israel, and of the Messiah, the Lord’s Anointed. Referring first to the boasting of an insolent (insulting) and contentious woman, the song points to the destruction of the enemies of God and the final triumph of His redeemed people.”   {PP 572.1}


Hannah’s experience may have proved to be the greatest blessing that could come into Peninnah’s life.

God was as anxious to save Peninnah as He was to save Hannah. How could He accomplish this more effectively than by showing the exaltation of a soul that trusted Him and did not retaliate evil for evil?

Such was Christ’s method in trying to win Simon the leper—by showing the blessing that could come to Mary Magdalene (Mark 14:3–9; Luke 7:37–50). Simon learned his lesson, and became an earnest discipline (DA 567, 568). Did Peninnah learn her lesson?


What are we revealing to our enemies?

Verse 2 “No one is holy like the Lord,

For there is none besides You,

Nor is there any rock like our God.

Petra’s rocks display beauty by God the Rock of our salvation displays the beauty colours of love and forgiveness.

“Talk no more so very proudly; Let no arrogance come from your mouth, For the Lord is the God of knowledge; And by Him actions are weighed.

PERSONAL – my pride my arrogance?

Anubis and the scale.

Let no arrogance. Hannah could have felt a personal supremacy over Peninnah, in view of the wonderful experience that had come to her.

But do not the words of these verses indicate, rather, Hannah’s yearning that her rival might see the beauty of full surrender to God, and realize the worthlessness of arrogance?

Certainly no one would charge Hannah with a “holier than thou” attitude toward Peninnah after the way in which God had vindicated her humble consecration.

If Christ had tears in His voice as He pronounced woes on the Pharisees (SC 13; DA 619, 620), may not Hannah’s spirit of self-sacrifice in giving Samuel to the Lord have so touched Peninnah’s heart that she understood anew how God weighs actions?

Those who, like Peninnah, feel strong in their own might, He suffers to reap the fruit of that selfishness, which is spiritual death.

But even those who are spiritually dead He is able to make alive. Christ offered Judas the very same opportunities that He offered Peter, yet one surrendered and the other did not.

Verses 4-7 “The bows of the mighty men are broken,

And those who stumbled are girded with strength.

5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,

And the hungry have ceased to hunger.

Even the barren has borne seven,

And she who has many children has become feeble.

6. “The Lord kills and makes alive;

He brings down to the grave and brings up.

7. The Lord makes poor and makes rich;

He brings low and lifts up.

Makes poor, and makes rich. Hannah recognizes that her salvation from reproach came from God, who has lifted her far above the taunt of Peninnah.

The grief of earlier days is now turned to exaltation in the Lord.

The prayer of yearning has given place to the praise of divine strength.

Her lips, once closed in silent endurance, are now opened to extol God’s almighty power.

She thinks of her experience as a type of the triumph achieved by God for His people both individually and collectively.

She finds inspiration for song far beyond the range of her own experience, and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit looks forward to the joy of the redeemed as they stand on the sea of glass with a “new song” on their lips (Rev. 14:3).

Such joy as Hannah felt was not selfish delight, but an enlarged understanding of the character of God, like unto that which caused the “sons of God” to shout for joy over the creation of the world (Job 38:7).

Or the Israelites to acclaim the praise of the Lord after deliverance from the Egyptian host at the Red Sea, or the angel host to cry out, at Christ’s birth, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).

The mockings and afflictions at home were the very environment in which such a vision of God’s salvation could be so nurtured as to produce a heaven on earth.

Hannah had heaven in her heart, for she had learned to love the world as Christ loves it (see DA 331, 641).

Verse 8 He raises the poor from the dust

And lifts the beggar from the ash heap,

To set them among princes

And make them inherit the throne of glory.

“For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,

And He has set the world upon them.

He raises up. By the power of God the Christian soul, ever conscious of its impotence, rises above the forces of selfishness.

Girded with strength from on high, such a soul finds past doubts, fears, and temptations laid low.

Victory takes the place of defeat, and in the fullness of joy the soul is formed in the image of Christ.

Verses 9,10 He will guard the feet of His saints,

But the wicked shall be silent in darkness.

“For by strength no man shall prevail.

The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces;

From heaven He will thunder against them.

The Lord will judge the ends of the earth.

“He will give strength to His king,

            And  exalt the horn of His anointed.”

Strength to his king. For years Hannah had been seeing through a glass, darkly (1 Cor. 13:12), but now by prophetic eye she tells of her faith in Christ’s final and complete triumph.

As God has exalted her “horn,” so will He exalt the “horn” of His Anointed (see Phil. 2:9–11).

May it be that we will permit the Lord to lift us up from our evil environment, from our hatred and from our pain.

My dear friend my prayer for you and me to be part of the choir will one day sing on the sea of glass.

Verse 11 Then Elkanah went to his house at Ramah. But the child ministered to the Lord before Eli the priest.

The child ministered. The word translated “child” is na’ar, meaning a boy of any age up to maturity.

At the age of 17 Joseph is called a na’ar. The same term is used of Eli’s sons in verse 17.

How much older they were than Samuel is not known. According to the context he made them priests before they reached maturity.

Estimates of Samuel’s age range from 3 to 15 years (see Ellen G. White, Supplementary Material, on 1 Sam. 1:20–28).

When a child takes on some unusual responsibility, its parents many times seek thereby to gain advantage for themselves.

Much credit must be given to Elkanah, who, though a Levite, continued his normal manner of life at Ramah.

Knowing, as they surely did, the nature of the environment to which Samuel would be subjected, Elkanah and Hannah must have had some concern as they placed their gift to the Lord in the hands of Eli, and of his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas.

How much greater must have been the concern of the divine Father as He placed His Son under the influence and scrutiny of the unworthy priests of His day.

Christ was 12 years of age when He came to the attention of the priests, yet His conduct upon that occasion testifies to the reality of divine protection extended even to children who seek heavenly guidance (see on Luke 2:52).

Samuel’s experiences testify to the same divine guidance.

The Scriptures make clear that in the midst of this evil environment Samuel served the Lord. The word “minister” may refer to service, either secular or sacred. It is used of Joseph’s responsibilities in Potiphar’s house, and of Joshua’s assistance to Moses in the mount of God (Ex. 24:13).

Samuel’s ability to withstand the evil influences that surrounded him, even as Joseph and Joshua did, may be attributed to his fixed decision to occupy himself with the things of God.

Verse 12 Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the Lord.

Sons of Eli. Surrendered to evil passions, Hophni and Phinehas had no proper conception of the God they were supposed to serve.

They enjoyed no communion with Him, felt no sympathy with His purposes, and had no sense of their obligation to Him.

They merely employed their positions of hereditary right for their own selfish and corrupt ends.

They robbed the people for the gratification of their own appetites.

They robbed God not only of His portion of the sacrifices but also of the reverence and love of His worshipers.

By their vile lusts they lowered the service of the Lord in the eyes of the people to the level of the sensual orgies of the neighboring idol groves.

But God permits a soul to be placed in the midst of such surroundings to prove to the universe that an evil environment need not determine a soul’s destiny.

Knowing Judas’ covetous spirit, no one today would think of making him treasurer, yet Jesus did so (DA 294, 295).

He purposed that Judas should be so impressed with things of much greater worth that he would surrender himself wholeheartedly to his Saviour.

Jesus loved Judas and would have liked to make him one of the chief apostles (see DA 295).

Verses 15-17 And the priests’ custom with the people was that when any man offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fleshhook in his hand while the meat was boiling. 14 Then he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; and the priest would take for himself all that the fleshhook brought up. So they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there.

15 Also, before they burned the fat, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who sacrificed, “Give meat for roasting to the priest, for he will not take boiled meat from you, but raw.”

16 And if the man said to him, “They should really burn the fat first; then you may take as much as your heart desires,” he would then answer him, “No, but you must give it now; and if not, I will take it by force.”

17 Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.

Verse 18 But Samuel ministered before the Lord, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod.

Ministered. Not only in the sense of menial service, but of sacred duties connected with the work of the Levites about the sanctuary. The Hebrew word thus translated includes both kinds of “service.”

A linen ephod. Here, a garment used by the inferior priests and Levites, and, at times, even by eminent persons among the people.

For example, David danced before the Lord wearing a linen ephod (2 Sam. 6:14).

This is not to be confused with the high priest’s ephod of “gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen” on which was fastened the breastplate with its 12 stones and the Urim and the Thummim, by which inquiries were made of God (see on Ex. 28:6; compare Judges 8:27).

If the simpler linen ephod was of the same pattern as that of the high priest, as seems probable, it was a short, sleeveless garment consisting of front and back panels joined at the shoulders and drawn in at the waist with a girdle (see on Judges 8:27).

Verse 19 Moreover his mother used to make him a little robe, and bring it to him year by year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

His mother. Hannah not only offered her son to the Lord but showed her love for him year by year.

In the same way the Lord continually watches over His people. He not only gave His Son once for all but continually interests Himself in making that sacrifice progressively more effective in meeting the needs of even the weakest of His children (Matt. 6:30–34).

Verse 20 And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “The Lord give you descendants from this woman for the loan that was given to the Lord.” Then they would go to their own home.

Loan…to the Lord. What is loaned to the Lord is sure to be returned with compound interest.

Hannah dedicated one child to the Lord and was rewarded with five others. Abraham did so with Isaac, and God promised him seed “as the stars of the heaven” (Gen. 22:17).

Christ promised a return of a hundredfold even in this life (Matt. 19:29; Luke 18:30).

Verses 21,22 And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the Lord.

22 Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.

Eli was very old. A fragment from the book of 1 Samuel found in the fourth cave at Khirbet Qumrân and published in 1954 reads, “Eli was ninety years old.”

Albright thinks this to be a transposition from ch. 4:15, where the Septuagint reads “ninety” for Eli’s age at his death.

However, the new fragment does not indicate that he was 90 when he died, but when Samuel had been serving him for some time.

Verses 23-25 So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. 24 No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the Lord’s people transgress. 25 If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the Lord, who will intercede for him?” Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the Lord desired to kill them.

Did not heed. The ministry of Eli’s sons is here contrasted with that of Samuel.

Samuel grew in favor with both man and God; Hophni and Phinehas revered not the instructions of the Lord and turned deaf ears to their father’s counsel. All men are free moral agents.

If they choose to rest under the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:6), they are exalted in due time; but if they choose to follow their own ways, they inevitably reap the fruit of such action.

The Lord desired to kill them. Literally, “it pleased the Lord to cause them to die.”

They had rejected God’s protective control, chosen their own selfish way, and deliberately forsaken the counsel of Heaven.

In turning away from the angel of the Lord (Ps. 34:7), they sealed their own doom.

It was the Philistines who killed them (1 Sam. 4:10, 11), yet God permitted their death because of their refusal to follow Him.

“God does not stand toward the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression; but He leaves the rejecters of His mercy to themselves, to reap that which they have sown” (GC 36).

So it was with Judas So it is with all who reject the pleadings of the Holy Spirit

Verses 26,27 And the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the Lord and men.

27 Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Did I not clearly reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house?

A man. Eli died at 98 (ch. 4:15; see on ch. 2:22), when Samuel was old enough to be recognized as a prophet and as Eli’s probable successor as judge (ch. 3:19–21).

Inasmuch as some time would naturally elapse between the two solemn warnings mentioned in chapters 2 and 3, it seems probable that this visit by the unnamed prophet took place soon after Samuel’s dedication.

Otherwise, there is no apparent reason why Samuel might not have borne both messages from the Lord.

How long-suffering God is! Saul, for example, received warning after warning, and was given many years in which to think matters through, before he finally chose to take things into his own hands.

But Eli surrendered to the claims of kinship rather than perform his duty to God in behalf of the people.

Virtue is not inherited, but acquired. The sons of Eli inherited a sacred responsibility and an honorable name, yet through selfishness they had so become the servants of Satan as to merit the universal complaints of the people.

When their father failed to exercise his authority, he was warned that even as reverence and honor produce a harvest of character and usefulness, so the sowing of irreverence and dishonor results in sorrow and disappointment (v. 32).

“The law of self-serving is the law of self-destruction” Desire of Ages 624

Verses 28-34 Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to offer upon My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod before Me? And did I not give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire?

29 Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’

30 Therefore the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.

31 Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house.

32 And you will see an enemy in My dwelling place, despite all the good which God does for Israel. And there shall not be an old man in your house forever.

33 But any of your men whom I do not cut off from My altar shall consume your eyes and grieve your heart. And all the descendants of your house shall die in the flower of their age.

34 Now this shall be a sign to you that will come upon your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die, both of them.

In one day. As Hophni and Phinehas had dealt violently with the things of the Lord, so they were to meet violent deaths.

Hoping to turn them from their evil course, God drew aside briefly the curtain of the future.

It would have been natural to expect that when the sons heard this prophecy they would alter their lives, in order to avoid reaping its fulfillment.

In making this prophecy, God simply foresaw their doom—He did not foreordain it. He who knows the end from the beginning knows all that affects the exercise of free choice.

By warning individuals of what the future holds in store for them, God proves to the universe that men go so far of their own free choice that even that knowledge will not deter them.

Verse 35 Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever.

A faithful priest. Scripture does not indicate the priest in whom this prophecy was fulfilled.

Some scholars think it refers to Zadok, of the line of Eleazar, to whom Solomon gave the priesthood when Abiathar, of the line of Ithamar, was deposed because of his collaboration with Adonijah in an attempt to secure Solomon’s throne (1 Kings 2:27, 35).

Others think it refers to Christ, and still others feel the prophecy is fulfilled in Samuel and his work.

But the important lesson of this statement is to be found in the fact that man cannot prevent the final accomplishment of God’s desire to restore His own image in the heart of man.

Israel had been given the sanctuary service, with all its detailed symbolism, to illustrate the means through which Christ works.

Yet, even though priests and rulers reject the plan, still God’s purpose, knowing no haste or delay, moves steadily forward to its full accomplishment.

If he chooses to do so, man may associate himself with Christ in the accomplishment of this aim; if he refuses, he has only himself to blame. He cannot charge God with conspiracy against him.

Verse 36 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and say, “Please, put me in one of the priestly positions, that I may eat a piece of bread.” ’ ”


1–36 PP 571-580

1–3 PP 571

3 TM 438

6–10 PP 571

9 MH 479

11 PP 572

12 3T 472; 4T 516

12–16 PP 576

12–17 PK 416

17 PP 576, 580, 609

18 CT 488, 537; PP 573; 3T 472; 4T 516

Updated on 21st Mar 2022

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