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correction, spoileth his child. But let them remember; that if they connive at the vices of their children, or their neglect or contempt of divine worship, God will not. Let parents then reprove and admonish, and always proportion their reproofs to the nature of the crime ; otherwise they honour their children above God : an awful and awakening expression ! Those who allow their children in any evil way, are more tender of them than of God's honour and glory, more solicitous to honour their children than please and honour him, Eli could not have contrived a surer way to plague himself and his family, than by this indulgence to his children. Let parents guard against this conduct, or they will make a sword for them, selves, which will pierce them to their hearts; and are taking the direct method to entail poverty and ruin upon their posterity. They should take warning by this melancholy story, and not be accessary to the present and eternal ruin of their children ; and thus, as was the case with Eli, have their gray hairs brought down, with sorrow to the grave.

CHAP. III.

We have here, God's extraordinary discovery of himself to Samuel ;

the message he delivered to him ; the delivery of that message to Eli ; and the establishment of Samuel to be a prophet in Israel. 1

ND the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before

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LORD was precious in those days, the spirit of prophecy was very rare and uncommon ; [there was) no open vision ; though some might have particular revelations for their own private direction, yet there was scarce any public prophet, to whom the people might

commonly resort for information ; this honour was reserved for * Samuel. And it came to pass at that time, when visions were 80

uncommon, when Eli (was) laid down in his place, was gone to rast in some apartment near the tabernacle, and his eyes began to wax dim, [that] he could not see ; his sight failed him, 80 that he

often wanted help, and Samuel was ever ready to come at his call : 3 And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD,

where the ark of God (was,] and Samuel was laid down to 4 sleep ;] That the LORD called Samuel, by a voice from the oracle

between the cherubim in the most holy place, and he answered, 5 Here [am] I. And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here [am] I;

for thou calledst me. And he, Eli, supposing he might dream

that he was called, said, I called not : lie down again. And he 6 went and lay down. And the LORD called yet again, Samuel.

And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here [am] I; for thou didst call me. Samuel thought it could be no one else, for it

was night, and the doors were shut. And he answered, I called 7 not, my son ; lie down again. Now Samuel did not yet know

the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him ; he did not know how God revealed himself to the prophets,

and had not learnt to distinguish between the voice of God and that 8 of a man. And the Lord called Samuel again the third time.

And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here [am] I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child ; the repetition of the voice led Eli to conclude, that it must be the Lord who spoke. This was a great inortification to Eli, to have a child, who was his servant, thus called, and sent with a

message to him : it would make him solicitous to know what the 9 message was, and lead him to give credit to it. Therefore Eli

said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD ; for thy servant heareth ; tell

ing him in effect that it was God's voice, and directing him how to 10 behave. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the

LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Beside the voice, which now came nearer, there was probably some bright luminous appearance. Then Samuel answered, Speak ; for thy servant heareth. He omitted the word Lord, either through fear, or hurry of his spirits, or from an un.

certainty whether it was the Lord's voice or not. 11 And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in

Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall 12 tingle, shall be stricken with horror and astonishment. In that day,

in the season that I have appointed for this work, I will perform against Eli all (things] which I have spoken concerning his house ; when I begin, I will also make an end ; though part of

the threatening which I have already denounced may be delayed, 13 yet I will persevere until all shall be fulfilled. For I have told

him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth ; he could not be ignorant of these public iniquities, for they were generally complained of ; because his sons made themselves vile in the sight of God, and contemptible in the eyes of all the people, and he restrained them not, did not frown upon them, nor reprove them, as a father, suspend them from their office,

as high priest, and capitally punish them, as a judge and magis. 14 trate, if the other methods had no effect. 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; there

shall be no abatement of the punishment, no sacrifice accepted. 15 And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of

the house of the LORD. This was part of his work, the taberna. cle being included in a house or building. And Samuel feared to

show Eli the vision ; having no command to deliver this message, 16 he was unwilling to distress the good old man. Then Eli called

Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here 17 [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. Eli having been so

solemnly threatened before, concluded that it related to him ; and though he feared the worst, he was willing to know it : but finding

Samuel backward to relate it, he adjured him in the most solemn 18 manner to do it. And Samuel told him every whit, and hid

nothing from him. The sentence being pronounced by a child, who had his dependence upon Eli, behaved with so much modesty and simplicity, and who was unable to discern between the voice of God and that of his tutor, would be more terrible to Eli than the declaration of the prophet. And he said, It [is] the LORD : let hiin do what seemeth him good ; humbly acknowledging God's

sovereignty, and submitting to the sentence with a penitent heart. 19 And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and revealed

more and more of his mind to him, and did let none of his words

fall to the ground; they were all like an arrow that falls not short, 20 but hits the mark. And all Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba

knew that Samuel (was) established to be] a prophet of the LORD, both by Eli's testimony, by repeated revelations made to him, and by some of the declarations being remarkably accomplishe

ed : le was to be a constant prophet, to supply the place of Urim 21 and Thummim, when the ark was taken away. And the LORD

appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD. God often revealed himself 10 him, not by dreams or visions, but by an audible voice. He was the first prophet, since Moses, who was raised up to be a public instructor and governor. See Acts iii. 24.

REFLECTIONS.

1.

HIS chapter teaches us, that the younger should be subject

respect to their masters and instructors. How humble and diligent was Samuel ! ready to rise out of his bed at every call of Eli ; and was very careful and tender of him. Children should honour their aged and weakly parents; and servants should do all they can for the ease and comfort of those whom they serve : and learn from this pious child, that their obedience should be ready and cheerful, and then it will be acceptable.

2. We learn, that when God speaks, his creatures should attend. If it be our duty to obey the calls, and attend to the instructions, of earthly masters, much more of the infinitely great and glorious God, whose servants we all are. When reading or hearing his word, this should be our language, Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth. Let us hearken and attend to what the Lord our God will speak, and then we may hope he will speak peace to us.

3. Parents may see the absolute necessity of restraining their children from wicked ways. This was suggested in our remarks on the last chapter. But it is so important, and so much neglected, that it is proper we should be reminded of it again and again ; as God thought proper to remind Eli of his crime. If parents sec

their children making themselves vile in the sight of God and all good beings, let them-resolutely restrain them, frown upon them, and never connive at sin of any kind, or in any degree ; Jest they make themselves partakers of their guilt, and bring remediless calamities and destruction upon their houses.

4. We may learn, from the example of Eli, a submissive temper of mind under all the dispensations of Providence. When this dreadful threatening was heard, he said, It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good. He lays it down as a plain truth, It is the Lord; a Being of perfect justice, almighty power, and infinite wisdom, who never punishes without a just cause, and in a righteous manner. And then be draws this very proper and satisfactory conclusion, let him do what seemeth him good ; not what I think just and fit, who am so ignorant, and have so often erred, but what his perfect knowledge judges to be best. May we thus accept the punishment of our iniquity, and bear the indignation of the Lord, because we have sinned against him.'

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CHAP. IV.

In this chapter we have an account of the defeat of Israel ; the loss

of the ark; and the manner in which the tidings of this sad event were received at Shiloh.

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ND. the word of Samuel, his prophetical word, came to all

battle, and pitched beside Ebenezer : and the Philistines pitched in Aphek. . Such havoc had Samson made among them, that they had been quiet near forty years : but the Israelites now attempted

to throw off their yoke, and encamped in the borders of their coun. 2 try. 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 today 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. They thought the justice of their cause was sufficient to secure the divine favour, without considering their character ; but now they would have the

ark, to which they paid a superstitious régard, and in which they 4 placed an improper confidence. So the people sent to Shiloh,

that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth [between) the cherubim :

These words are unnaturally disjoined from the foregoing chapter, they being the proper conclusion of the last verse of it. Vac. III,

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and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, (were] there 5 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, they were heard a great way off ; and thought themselves as sure of success, as if

the victory was already gained. 6 And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they

were alarmed, believing the Israelites had received some accession to their strength : and they said, What (meaneth] the noise of

this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews ? And they under7 stood that the ark of the LORD was come into the camp. And

when the Philistines found what it was, they were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore. They never heard of the ark before, and imagined the Israelites worship

ped it as their God in all their battles, and thought it would produce 8 some extraordinary effects. Woe 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. They had fought with men before, but now they must fight with God : they acknowledge the superiority of the God of Israel to their gods ; but, not understanding the sacred story, they thought the plague

fell upon the Egyptians in the wilderness ; they had general, but confused ideas of the fact : and recovering from 9 their fright, their commander encouraged them, saying, Be strong,

and quit yourselves like men, Oye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you : quit your

selves like men, and fight.t 10 And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they

fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen ; God suffered this, to show them the vanity of their confidence in the ark,

and his own displeasure. They fled every man home to their dwell. 11 ings. And the ark of God was taken ; and the two sons of Eli,

Hophni and Phinehas, were slain ; thus began the judgment of God upon the house of Eli.

And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and camo to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth 13 upon his head, in the habit of a mourner in great distress. And

when he came, lo, Eli sat upon a seat by the way side watching: for his heart trembled for the ark of God, lest it should be taken and abused by the Philistines, and God's people be deprived of the comfort of it. And when the man came into the city, and told [it,) all the city cried out ; they were loth to tell Eli first, therefore they went into the city, while he sat alarmed and terrified, trembling for their temporal and spiritual interests. At this in

• Perhaps they did this in imitation of Joshua's attacking Jericho ; but it was contrary to the divine will, who ordered that the ark should be settled, and not moved about in Canaane Deut. xii. 5-11.

The Israelites had often been overcome and brought into subjection by them.

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