1 Samuel 2:32
And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever.
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(32) And thou shalt see an enemy.—Some—e.g., the Vulgate—understand by enemy a “rival”: thou shalt see thy rival in the Temple. The words, however, point to something which Eli would live to see with grief and horror. The reference is no doubt to the capture of the Ark by the Philistines in the battle where his sons were slain. The earthly habitation of the Eternal was there robbed of its glory and pride, for the ark of the covenant was the heart of the sanctuary.

In all the wealth which God shall give Israel.—“The affliction of God’s house from the loss of the ark remained while under the lead of Samuel there came blessing to the people.”—Erdmann.

There is another explanation which refers the fulfilment of this part of the prophecy to the period of Solomon’s reign, when Abiathar, of the house of Eli, was deposed from the High Priestly dignity to make room for Zadok, but the reference to the capture of the ark is by far more probable.

1 Samuel 2:32. Thou shalt see an enemy, &c. — The words may be rendered, as in the margin, and seem evidently to mean, Thou shalt see, in thy own person, the affliction or calamity of my habitation; that is, either of the land of Israel, wherein I dwell; or of the sanctuary, called God’s habitation by way of eminence, whose greatest glory the ark was, (1 Samuel 4:21-22,) and consequently whose greatest calamity the loss of the ark was; for, or instead of, all that good wherewith God could have blessed Israel, having raised up a young prophet, Samuel, and thereby given good grounds of hope that he intended to bless Israel, if thou and thy sons had not hindered it by your sins. So this clause of threatening concerns Eli’s person, as the following concerns his posterity. And this best agrees with the most proper signification of that phrase, Thou shalt see.

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.The original text is rather obscure and difficult of construction, but the King James Version probably gives the sense of it. The margin gives another meaning.

In all the wealth ... - The allusion is particularly to Solomon's reign, when Zadok was made priest instead of Abiathar, 1 Kings 2:26-27. (See 1 Kings 4:20 ff) The enormous number of sacrifices then offered must have been a great source of wealth to the priests 1 Kings 8:63-66.

32. thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation—A successful rival for the office of high priest shall rise out of another family (2Sa 15:35; 1Ch 24:3; 29:22). But the marginal reading, "thou shalt see the affliction of the tabernacle," seems to be a preferable translation. So the sense is,

Thou shalt see, not in thy person, but in thy posterity, (it being most frequent in Scripture to attribute that to parents which properly belongs to their posterity only; as Genesis 17:8 Genesis 27:29,40)

an enemy, i.e. thy competitor, or him who shall possess that place of high trust and honour which now thou enjoyest, (such persons being through man’s corrupt nature esteemed as a man’s worst enemy,) in my habitation, i.e. in the sanctuary. And then he adds by way of aggravation, that this sad accident should happen in all the wealth when God shall give Israel, i.e. in a time when God should eminently bless Israel, and make good all his promises to them, which was in Solomon’s days, when Abiathar of Eli’s race was put out of the high priesthood, and Zadok was put in his place, 1 Kings 2:27,35, when the priesthood was most glorious, and most profitable, and comfortable, and therefore the loss of it more deplorable. But the words may be otherwise rendered, as is noted in the margin of our English Bibles: Thou shalt see, to wit, in thy own person, the affliction, or oppression, or calamity of my habitation, i.e. either of the land of Israel, wherein I dwell; or of the sanctuary, called the habitation by way of eminency, whose greatest glory the ark was, 1 Samuel 4:21,22, and consequently, whose greatest calamity the loss of the ark was; for, or instead of all that good wherewith God would have blessed Israel, or was about to bless Israel; having raised up a young prophet, Samuel, and thereby given good grounds of hope that he intended to bless Israel, if thou and thy sons had not hindered it by your sins, which God was resolved severely to punish. So this clause of the threatening concerns Eli’s person, as the following concerns his posterity. And this best agrees with the most proper and usual signification of that phrase, Thou shalt see. For ever, i.e. as long as the priesthood continues in thy family, or as long as the Levitical priesthood lasts.

And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation,.... Either the Philistines in the land of Israel, where God chose to dwell, who quickly after made war against Israel, and pitched in Aphek, 1 Samuel 4:1 or, as in the margin of our Bibles, and other versions (i), "thou shalt see the affliction of the tabernacle"; as he did when the ark of God was taken, at the news of which he died, 1 Samuel 4:17 and so the Targum understands it of affliction and calamity, yet not of the house of God, but of his own house; paraphrasing the words thus,"and thou shall see the calamity that shall come upon the men of thine house, for the sins which they have committed before me in the house of my sanctuary:''but it seems best to interpret it of a rival, which not he in his own person should see, but whom his posterity should see high priest in the temple; as they did in Solomon's time, when Abiathar, of the family of Eli, was thrust out, and Zadok, of the family of Eleazar, was put in; for, as Kimchi observes, when a man has two wives, they are rivals or adversaries to one another, jealous and emulous of each other, as Elkanah's two wives were, and of one of them the same word is used as here, 1 Samuel 1:6 so when one high priest was put out, and another taken in, the one was the rival or adversary of the other, as in the case referred to:

in all the wealth which God shall give Israel; which points exactly at the time when this should be, even men God did well to Israel, gave them great prosperity, wealth and riches, quietness and safety, a famous temple built for the worship of God, and everything in a flourishing condition, both with respect to temporals and spirituals, as was in the days of Solomon, see 1 Kings 4:20 and then it was amidst all that plenty and prosperity, and when the high priesthood was most honourable and profitable, that Eli's family was turned out of it, and another put into it:

and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever; See Gill on 1 Samuel 2:31 this is repeated for confirmation, and with this addition, that this would be the case for ever.

(i) Symmachus; "angustiam tabernaculi", Junius & Tremellius. Piscator.

And thou {y} shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever.

(y) Your posterity will see the glory of the chief priest given to another, whom they will envy, 1Ki 2:27.

32. thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation] Or, a rival, the same word as that rendered “adversary” in 1 Samuel 1:6. The best explanation of this difficult passage appears to be this: ‘Thou, in the person of thy descendants, wilt see another take thy place as priest in my habitation (cp. 1 Samuel 2:29), at the time when the nation shall be most prosperous and the office most honourable;’ the reference being to Abiathar’s deposition by Solomon (1 Kings 2:27). The words might also be translated “Thou shalt behold the distress of my habitation” (cp. E. V. margin), and would then refer to the neglect which the tabernacle suffered owing to the loss of the Ark, even while the nation was prospering under Samuel and Saul. Such neglect would be a punishment on the house of Eli, because the High-priest for the time would lose his position and influence.

The Sept. however omits 1 Samuel 2:32, and there are other grounds for suspecting that the present Heb. text of this verse as well as of 1 Samuel 2:29 is corrupt.

wealth] Here in the sense of “weal,” “well-being,” as in the Litany ‘In all time of our wealth.’

Verse 32. - Thou shalt see an enemy. The translation of ver. 32 is very difficult, but is probably as follows: "And thou shalt behold, i.e. see with wonder and astonishment, narrowness of habitation in all the wealth which shall be given unto Israel." The word translated narrowness often means an "enemy," but as that for habitation is the most general term in the Hebrews language for a dwelling, being used even of the dens of wild beasts (Jeremiah 9:10; Nahum 2:12), the rendering an "enemy of dwelling" gives no sense. Hence the violent insertion of the pronoun my, for which no valid excuse can be given. But narrowness of dwelling, means distress, especially in a man's domestic relations, and this is the sense required. In the growing public and national prosperity which was to be Israel's lot under Samuel, Saul, David, and Solomon, Eli was to see, not in person, but prophetically, calamity attaching itself to his own family. His house was to decay in the midst of the progress of all the rest. Upon this denunciation of private distress naturally follows the repetition of the threat that the house of Ithamar should be left without an old man to guide its course onward to renewed prosperity. 1 Samuel 2:32"And thou wilt see oppression of the dwelling in all that He has shown of good to Israel." The meaning of these words, which have been explained in very different ways, appears to be the following: In all the benefits which the lord would confer upon His people, Eli would see only distress for the dwelling of God, inasmuch as the tabernacle would fall more and more into decay. In the person of Eli, the high priest at that time, the high priest generally is addressed as the custodian of the sanctuary; so that what is said is not to be limited to him personally, but applies to all the high priests of his house. מעון is not Eli's dwelling-place, but the dwelling-place of God, i.e., the tabernacle, as in 1 Samuel 2:29, and is a genitive dependent upon צר. היטיב, in the sense of benefiting a person, doing him good, is construed with the accusative of the person, as in Deuteronomy 28:63; Deuteronomy 8:16; Deuteronomy 30:5. The subject to the verb ייטיב is Jehovah, and is not expressly mentioned, simply because it is so clearly implied in the words themselves. This threat began to be fulfilled even in Eli's own days. The distress or tribulation for the tabernacle began with the capture of the ark by the Philistines (1 Samuel 4:11), and continued during the time that the Lord was sending help and deliverance to His people through the medium of Samuel, in their spiritual and physical oppression. The ark of the covenant - the heart of the sanctuary - was not restored to the tabernacle in the time of Samuel; and the tabernacle itself was removed from Shiloh to Nob, probably in the time of war; and when Saul had had all the priests put to death (1 Samuel 21:2; 1 Samuel 22:11.), it was removed to Gibeon, which necessarily caused it to fall more and more into neglect. Among the different explanations, the rendering given by Aquila (καὶ ἐπιβλέψει [? ἐπιβλέψης] ἀντίζηλον κατοικητηρίου) has met with the greatest approval, and has been followed by Jerome (et videbis aemulum tuum), Luther, and many others, including De Wette. According to this rendering, the words are either supposed to refer to the attitude of Samuel towards Eli, or to the deposition of Abiathar, and the institution of Zadok by Solomon in his place (1 Kings 2:27). But צר does not mean the antagonist or rival, but simply the oppressor or enemy; and Samuel was not an enemy of Eli any more than Zadok was of Abiathar. Moreover, if this be adopted as the rendering of צר, it is impossible to find any suitable meaning for the following clause. In the second half of the verse the threat of 1 Samuel 2:31 is repeated with still greater emphasis. כּל־היּמים, all the time, i.e., so long as thine house shall exist.
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