1 Samuel 2:24
Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD'S people to transgress.
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(24) Ye make the Lord’s people to transgress.—The life led by the priests publicly in the sanctuary, with their evident scornful unbelief in the divinely established holy ordinances on the one hand, and their unblushing immorality on the other, corrupted the inner religious life of the whole people.

2:11-26 Samuel, being devoted to the Lord in a special manner, was from a child employed about the sanctuary in the services he was capable of. As he did this with a pious disposition of mind, it was called ministering unto the Lord. He received a blessing from the Lord. Those young people who serve God as well as they can, he will enable to improve, that they may serve him better. 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.Women that assembled - Or, "Served." See the marginal reference and note. Probably such service as consisted in doing certain work for the fabric of the tabernacle as women are accustomed to do, spinning, knitting, embroidering, mending, washing, and such like. 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 on [236]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. Words too mild for such diabolical actions.

Ye make the Lord’s people to transgress; either,

1. The women that by your instigation were drawn to folly. Or,

2. Others who are easily brought to follow your pernicious example. Or,

3. Other persons of pious and honest minds, whom therefore he calls the

Lord’s people by way of distinction from the children of Belial, who were so highly offended. with the great dishonour done to God and to his worship, and with the horrible wickedness of the priests, that upon that occasion they were hurried into the other extreme, and lived in the neglect and contempt of their own indispensable duty of offering sacrifices, because they came through the priests’ hands.

Nay, my sons,.... 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; so Maimonides (u) interprets it; with which Jarchi and others agree (w).

(u) Moreh Nevochim, par. 1. c. 21. (w) Vid. T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 55. 2. & praefat. Ben Chayim. ad Bib. Heb. Bomberg. & Buxtorf.

Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD'S people to {q} transgress.

(q) Because they contemn their duty to God, 1Sa 2:17.

Verses 24, 25. - Ye make, etc. Eli's words are very obscure, but "Ye make Jehovah's people to transgress" is upon the whole the best rendering of the clause. Both the Sept. and Syriac have a different reading: "Ye make Jehovah's people cease to worship him" In the next verse there is no sufficient reason for supposing that Elohim, God, here means a judge. Elohim was the head of the theocracy, the ruler of Israel in all things, and he would set to rights these delinquencies of "one man against another" by the ordinary exercise of his judicial functions. So far all is easy, and we must translate, "If one man sin against another, God shall judge him." But in the last clause there is one of those plays upon words to which the Hebrew language, with its numerous conjugations, so readily lends itself (see on 1 Samuel 1:28); and it is rarely possible to transfer to another language the force of passages in which the sense depends upon the terms in the original having a double meaning. The verb rendered shall judge in the first clause is used again by Eli in the second, but in a different conjugation, in which its usual meaning is to pray. According to the lexicon, therefore, we must translate: "If a man sin against Jehovah, who shall pray for him?" But surely it was just the occasion in which the only remedy left was intercessory prayer. Bearing then in remembrance the use made by Eli of the verb in the first clause, we must translate: "Who shall act as judge for him?" "Who shall interpose as arbitrator between him and Jehovah to settle the quarrel?" The verb itself, moreover, is a rare and old-fashioned one, and apparently means to settle a dispute. So it is used of Phinehas, who by his righteous zeal put an end to the rebellion against God's laws; and accordingly in Psalm 106:30, where our version renders "executed judgment," the, Vulgate has placavit, appeased Jehovah s anger. The sense then is, In case of wrong done between man and man, God as the supreme Arbitrator settles the dispute; but where the two parties are God and man, what third power is there which can interfere? The quarrel must go on to the bitter end, and God, who is your opponent, will also punish you. The same idea is found in Job 9:33. Naturally to so mild a remonstrance, and founded upon so low a view of the Divine nature, the sons of Eli paid but slight attention, and by thus hardening themselves in sin they made their punishment inevitable, "because it pleased Jehovah to slay them." Man can bring upon himself neither good nor evil except by the working of God's will, and the punishment of sin is as thoroughly a part of God's will as the rewarding of righteousness. An intense conviction of the personality of God was the very foundation of the religious life of the Israelites, and lies at the root of the words of Eli here and of those of Job; and it was this which made them ascribe to God that hardening of the wicked in sin which is the sure means of their punishment. We ascribe it to the working of natural laws, which after all is but saying the same thing in a round about way; for the laws of nature, in things moral as well as in the physical world, are the laws of God. In ver. 26, in contrast with Eli's sons ripening for punishment, and daily more abhorred to God and man, we have Samuel set before us advancing in age and "in favour with Jehovah and also with men," like him of whom in so many respects he was a type (Luke 2:52), our blessed Lord.

CHAPTER 2:27-36 THE DIVINE JUDGMENT UPON ELI AND HIS HOUSE (vers. 27-36). 1 Samuel 2:24בּני אל, "Not, my sons," i.e., do not such things, "for the report which I hear is not good; they make the people of Jehovah to transgress." מערים is written without the pronoun אתּם in an indefinite construction, like משׁלּחים in 1 Samuel 6:3 (Maurer). Ewald's rendering as given by Thenius, "The report which I hear the people of God bring," is just as inadmissible as the one proposed by Bttcher, "The report which, as I hear, the people of God are spreading." The assertion made by Thenius, that העביר, without any further definition, cannot mean to cause to sin or transgress, is correct enough no doubt; but it does not prove that this meaning is inadmissible in the passage before us, since the further definition is actually to be found in the context.
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