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the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 1

Sermon Bible CommentarySermon Bible Commentary

Verses 1-28

1 Samuel 1-4

(with Judges 21:16-25 )

I. With all his virtues and natural advantages Eli had one great fault. He was a good man of the easy type; the kind of man who makes an admirable servant, who does his duty to perfection so long as his duty merely troubles himself, but who has not force of character to interfere with others; to command, to regulate the conduct of others, to incur the ill-will of others. An amiable indolence overspread his whole nature. He was one of the men who have great faith in the power of things to right themselves, in the virtue of leaving things alone, of letting nature take its course. Accordingly he let his own life and fortunes drift and become entangled with the wreck of other men's misdeeds, and so came to the end he did.

The character of Eli is far from uncommon, and a far larger amount of disaster is produced in the world by such softness than by deliberate wickedness. There are times in most lives when the current of circumstances sets strongly towards sin, and when a man will certainly sin if his rule of life has been to avoid all that is painful and to choose what will for the time give him security and ease.

II. The vices which Eli suffered in his sons did not terminate in themselves, but had the effect of making the worship of God abhorrent and despicable in the country. This may be done not only by the sensuality and greed of the clergy, but in other ways as well. The carelessness about truth, which merely preaches traditionary opinions, brings God's service into contempt; the indolent formality which accepts stereotyped phrases of devotion or of sentiment and puts no meaning into them; the wrangling and hastiness in discussion which show that love of party is stronger than love of truth; the preaching of doctrine which lowers men's ideas of God and righteousness; these and many such things make the worship of God contemptible.

III. While God punishes the existing priesthood, He adds a promise of raising Himself up a faithful priest. This promise was fulfilled, first of all, in Samuel, who, though not of the priestly line, did serve in the house of God, and offered sacrifice by an exceptional and special consecration. In Samuel, the asked of God, there is a type of the readiness with which God can provide men for His service; men different from and unaffected by the times in. which they live; men who can grow up pure amidst corruption, who can shake off the ignorance of their teachers and rise above all their contemporaries, who are as truly sent by God as if they were sons of a Virgin or of a Hannah.

M. Dods, Israel's Iron Age, p. 149.

References: 1Sam 1-3. S. K. Hocking, Contemporary Pulpit, vol. v., p. 26; E. Conder, Drops, and Rocks, p. 103. 1 Samuel 1:3 . Sermons for the Christian Seasons, 2nd series, vol. ii., p. 669. 1 Samuel 1:5 . Expositor, 3rd series, vol. v., p. 55. 1 Samuel 1:9-28 . F. Langbridge, Sunday Magazine, 1885, p. 670. 1 Samuel 1:15 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxvi., No. 1515. 1 Samuel 1:20 . Parker, vol. vi., p. 218; Expositor, 3rd series, vol. v., p. 57; I.Williams, Characters of the Old Testament, p. 160. 1 Samuel 1:27 . J. Van Oosterzee, The Year of Salvation, vol. ii., p. 417; Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 265. 1 Samuel 1:27 , 1 Samuel 1:28 . J. Vaughan, Sermons to Children, 4th series, p. 331. 1Sam 1-4. R. S. Candlish, Scripture Characters, p. 299. 1 Samuel 2:1 . H. Thompson, Concionalia: Outlines of Sermons for Parochial use, vol. i., p. 216. 1 Samuel 2:1-27 . Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iv., p. 283. 1 Samuel 2:2 . Parker, vol. vii., p. 56.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 1". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sbc/1-samuel-1.html.
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