And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer on my altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give to the house of your father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel? . . .—After such glorious privileges had been conferred on this favoured house, and such ample provision for all its wants had been made for it, it was indeed a crime of the blackest ingratitude that its leading members should pour dishonour on their invisible King and Benefactor.
To wear an ephod before me.—This included the privilege, which belonged to the head of the house of Aaron, the reigning high priest, of entering the Holy of Holies—that lightless inner sanctuary where the visible presence of the Eternal was ever and anon pleased to dwell—and also the possession of the mysterious Urim and Thummim, by which enquiry could be made of the will of the invisible King of Israel.
Did I give ... - The bountiful provision made by God for His priests is mentioned as the great aggravation of the covetousness of Eli's sons (compare 2 Samuel 12:7-9).
27. there came a man of God unto Eli, and said … that there shall not be an old man in thine house—So much importance has always, in the East, been attached to old age, that it would be felt to be a great calamity, and sensibly to lower the respectability of any family which could boast of few or no old men. The prediction of this prophet was fully confirmed by the afflictions, degradation, poverty, and many untimely deaths with which the house of Eli was visited after its announcement (see 1Sa 4:11; 14:3; 22:18-23; 1Ki 2:27).Did I choose him, to wit, Aaron thy father? whereby he shows what he meant by his father’s house. An ephod; that golden ephod which was peculiar to the high priest.
All the offerings made by fire, i.e. all the priest’s part of the offerings. He only had the office, and he had the whole benefit. Exodus 28:1.
to offer upon mine altar; burnt offerings, sin offerings, and peace offerings; this is the altar of burnt offering, which stood in the court of the tabernacle:
to burn incense; on the altar of incense, which was in the holy place, and on which incense was burnt morning and evening:
to wear an ephod before me? in which was the breastplate, with the Urim and Thummim, with which the high priest went into the most holy place, where was the ark, the symbol of the divine Presence, and where he inquired of the Lord by the above things:
and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel? he did; the priests who were of the house of Aaron had not only the sin offerings, and part of the peace offerings, but even of the offerings made by fire, the burnt offerings; the skin of them was the priest's, and the meat offerings that went along with them, see Leviticus 6:25 and Leviticus 8:8 which were given them for their maintenance. Now these instances of God's goodness to the family of Aaron are mentioned to aggravate the sins of Eli and his sons.And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)28. him] Perhaps we should read, it (the house of Aaron) to be my priests (Exodus 28:1-4). The priestly functions are mentioned in an ascending scale: (a) the common sacrificial duties, (b) offering incense in the Holy Place (Exodus 30:7-8), (c) wearing an ephod, i.e. serving as High-priest, for probably the High-priest’s ephod (the only one mentioned in the Pentateuch) is meant here, and not the ordinary linen ephod worn at this time by all priests. See note on 1 Samuel 2:18.
to offer upon mine altar] or perhaps, “to go up to mine altar,” to minister at it. But the E. V. seems best.
all the offerings made by fire] See Leviticus 10:12-15.1 Samuel 2:22. The aged Eli reproved his sons with solemn warnings on account of their sins; but without his warnings being listened to. From the reproof itself we learn, that beside the sin noticed in 1 Samuel 2:12-17, they also committed the crime of lying with the women who served at the tabernacle (see at Exodus 38:8), and thus profaned the sanctuary with whoredom. But Eli, with the infirmities of his old age, did nothing further to prevent these abominations than to say to his sons, "Why do ye according to the sayings which I hear, sayings about you which are evil, of this whole people." רעים את־דּבריכם is inserted to make the meaning clearer, and כּל־ה מאת is dependent upon שׁמע. "This whole people" signifies all the people that came to Shiloh, and heard and saw the wicked doings there.
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