1 Samuel 2:31
Behold, the days come, that I will cut off your arm, and the arm of your father's house, that there shall not be an old man in your house.
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(31) I will cut off thine arm.—“The arm” signifies power and strength: “Thy power and strength, and that of thy house is doomed.” (See for the figure Job 22:9; Psalm 37:17.)

And there shall not be an old man in thine house.—No one more in thy house, O High Priest, who hast so signally failed in thy solemn duty, shall attain to old age; sickness or the sword shall ever early consume its members. This strange denunciation of the man of God” is emphasised by being repeated in the next (32) verse, and in different words again in 1Samuel 2:33.

1 Samuel 2:31. I will cut off thine arm — I will take away thy strength, or all that in which thou placest thy confidence. This threatening was fulfilled, when the ark, which is called God’s strength, (Psalm 78:61,) and was Eli’s strength, was delivered into the hands of the Philistines; and more especially when God took away all power and authority from him and his family, both as he was a priest and as he was a judge. Or, thine arm, may mean thy children, to whom the words following seem to confine the expression. Of thy father’s house — That is, thy children’s children, and all thy family; which was in a great measure accomplished, 1 Samuel 22:16.2:27-36 Those who allow their children in any evil way, and do not use their authority to restrain and punish them, in effect honour them more than God. Let Eli's example excite parents earnestly to strive against the beginnings of wickedness, and to train up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. In the midst of the sentence against the house of Eli, mercy is promised to Israel. God's work shall never fall to the ground for want of hands to carry it on. Christ is that merciful and faithful High Priest, whom God raised up when the Levitical priesthood was thrown off, who in all things did his Father's mind, and for whom God will build a sure house, build it on a rock, so that hell cannot prevail against it.I will cut off thine arm ... - A strong phrase for breaking down the strength and power, of which the arm is the instrument in man (compare Zechariah 11:17). See 1 Samuel 2:33. 31. I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father's house—By the withdrawal of the high priesthood from Eleazar, the elder of Aaron's two sons (after Nadab and Abihu were destroyed, [Nu 3:4]), that dignity had been conferred on the family of Ithamar, to which Eli belonged, and now that his descendants had forfeited the honor, it was to be taken from them and restored to the elder branch. I will cut off thine arm, i.e. I will take away thy strength, which is oft signified by the arm, as Job 22:8 Psalm 37:17, or all that in which thou placest thy confidence and security; either,

1. The ark, which is called God’s strength, Psalm 78:61, and was Eli’s strength, who therefore was not able to beat the very tidings of the loss of it, 1 Samuel 4:18. Or,

2. His priestly dignity or employment, whence he had all his honour and substance. Or rather,

3. His children, to whom the words following here, and in the succeeding verses, seem to confine it, who are the strength of parents: see Genesis 49:3 Deu 21:17 Psalm 127:4,5.

The arm of thy father’s house, i.e. thy children’s children, and all thy family; which was in great measure accomplished, 1 Samuel 22:16, &c.

There shall not be an old man in thine house; they shall generally be cut off by an untimely death before they be old. Behold, the days come,.... Or, are coming (g); and will quickly come, in a very little time the things, after threatened, began to take place, even in the days of Eli's sons, and the whole was accomplished in about eighty years after:

that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father's house: that is, the strength of him and them, as the Targum, the strength of a man for doing business lying in his arm; meaning by it not long life, as Kimchi, who concludes this sense from what follows; but rather power and authority, or the exercise of the office of high priest, which gave him and his family great esteem and power; or it may be best of all, his children, which are the strength of a man, and the support of his family, see Genesis 49:3

that there shall not be an old man in thine house; as there were none when he died, and his two sons, the same day; and the children they left were very young, and Ahitub, who was one of them, could not die an old man, since Ahimelech his son was priest in the time of Saul, who with eighty five priests were slain by his order; and Abiathar his son was deprived of his priesthood in the time of Solomon; though some understand this not of an elder in years, but in office; and that the sense is, that there should be none of his family a senator, or a member of the great sanhedrim, or court of judicature; and so it is interpreted in the Talmud (h); with which agree Ben Gersom and Abarbinel.

(g) "venientes", Montanus. (h) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 14. 1.

Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine {x} arm, and the arm of thy father's house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house.

(x) Thy power and authority.

31. I will cut off thine arm] = I will destroy thy strength. “The arm” is a common expression for “might,” “strength.” Cp. Psalm 10:15; Zechariah 11:17. One signal fulfilment of this doom was the massacre of the priests at Nob (1 Samuel 22:18-19).Verse 31. - I will cut off thine arm. The arm is the usual metaphor for strength. As Eli had preferred the exaltation of his sons to God's honour, he is condemned to see the strength of his house broken. Nay, more; there is not to be an "old man in his house." The young men full of energy and vigour perish by the sword; the Survivors fade away by disease. The Jews say that the house of Ithamar was peculiarly short-lived, but the prophecy was amply fulfilled in the slaughter of Eli's house, first at Shiloh, and then at Nob by Doeg the Edomite at the command of Saul. There is nothing to warrant an abiding curse upon his family. The third or fourth generation is the limit of the visitation of the sins of the fathers upon the children. "If man sins against man, God judges him; but if a man sins against Jehovah, who can interpose with entreaty for him?" In the use of פּללו and יתפּלּל־לו there is a paranomasia which cannot be reproduced in our language. פּלּל signifies to decide or pass sentence (Genesis 48:11), then to arbitrate, to settle a dispute as arbitrator (Ezekiel 16:52; Psalm 106:30), and in the Hithpael to act as mediator, hence to entreat. And these meanings are applicable here. In the case of one man's sin against another, God settles the dispute as arbitrator through the proper authorities; whereas, when a man sins against God, no one can interpose as arbitrator. Such a sin cannot be disposed of by intercession. But Eli's sons did not listen to this admonition, which was designed to reform daring sinners with mild words and representation; "for," adds the historian, "Jehovah was resolved to slay them." The father's reproof made no impression upon them, because they were already given up to the judgment of hardening. (On hardening as a divine sentence, see the discussions at Exodus 4:21.)
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