« PreviousContinue »
to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines.
And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering whole unto the Lord: and Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel ; and the Lord heard him.
And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them and they were smitten before Israel.
And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them until they came under Beth-car.
Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Miz. peh and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ezer, or the stone of Help*, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.
So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.
And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath, and the coasts thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.
And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went from year to year in circuit to Beth-el, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places.
And his return was to Ramah: for there was his house ; and there he judged Israel ; and there he built an altar unto the Lord.
* Maginal translation.
ANNOTATIONS ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS,
It is likely, that immediately after the death of Eli, Samuel succeeded to his authority as judge ; and being a PROPHET, he might offer sacrifices ; but it does not appear that there was any High PRIEST, for the whole form of worship was overturned by the loss of the ark ; and we may suppose the people were ill disposed to hearken unto Samuel's admonitions ; besides, it is probable, that he did not take upon himself to proceed in any important matter without the direction of the Lord, who withheld Divine inspiration on account of the people's unworthiness, leaving them to suffer a while the ill consequences of their folly and wickedpess; but as 800n as they returned and sought the Lord, Samuel knew he might intercede for them, though he was only a Levite, for the priests had debased themselves, and his sacrifices proved acceptable. About this time it is likely, the great passover was kept, which is afterwards mentioned*. Divine Providence visibly interposed in the defeat of the Philistines, and the LORD once more shewed himself to be God of Israel.
Samuel built an altar, not in contempt of that which was with the tabernacle, but as Shiloh was laid waste, and no other place had yet been chosen, he looked upon the law which obliged them to one place to be sus. pended; therefore being a prophet, and under Divine inspiration, he did as the patriarchs had formerly done, built an altar where he lived, both for the use of his own family, and for the good of the inhabitants wbo chose to resort to it.
As we shall have occasion, in the succeeding part of
* 2 Chron. xxxs. 19.
the history, to say so much about prophets, it is necessary to have proper ideas of the PROPHETIC OFFICE.
It was the business of the priests to explain the law to the people, and to take particular care that the ceremonial part of it should be punctually observed, that they might continue to be a holy people, and enjoy the privileges granted to them on those conditions. The Levites were assistants to the priests in the work of the tabernacle; but to prevent the people's dwelling too much on the rituals of religion, it pleased God to appoint another order of men called PROPHETS; these men preached the necessity of righteousness, and admonished the people to adhere to the spiritual intent of the law of Moses, as well as to observe its ceremonies ; warned them of the evils to come if they were disobedient, and comforted them with the promise of God's return. ing favour if they repented. To qualify them for this office, the Lord inspired them with His Holy SPIRIT: on these occasions they spoke in the name of the LORD, and uttered unpremeditated predictions in sublime and. majestic language.
Sometimes they foretold * the fate of those nations with whom the Israelites were concerned (of which we shall have occasion to remark a variety of instances); but the principal ends of Prophecy were, to keep up a constant expectation of the Messiah till he should come into the world, and to serve afterwards as a TesTIMONY, or witness, that Jesus CHRIST was really the promiseel SAVIOUR.
As Abraham continued faithful in the midst of an idolatrous generation, his posterity was selected as a peculiar people, amongst whom God shewed forth His power and goodness ; and the gift of prophecy was limited to this nation, whilst the LORD Touchsafed to be their King: by which means it was easy to discov •, that the Divine Being had formed a most benevolent plan for the benefit of all mankind, which could not have been so well understood, if the predictions concerning the Everlasting Covenant (which threw light on each other.) had been made in different nations ; because the confusion of tongues had rendered many of those who originally proceeded from Noah, strangers to each other, and prevented the general intercourse which subsisted at first.
* See Bisbop Hurd's Sermon on Prophecy.
It is generally believed that Samuel instituted schools or colleges, consisting of young persons of pious dispositions, who passed their time in the study of the Scriptures, in order that they might be enabled to explain them to the people, and perhaps with the hopes of being honoured with revelations themselves : one of their religious exercises, was, singing the words of inspiration contained in the Scriptures"; such as the prophecies of the patriarchs, the exhortations of Moses, the song of the LORD, &c. to musical instruments.
These young persons, being immediately under the direction of a prophet, were called the sons of the prophets, and sometimes prophets ; and whilst they were reciting the words of inspiration they were so, because they spake not their own words, but declared to the people what the Lord had revealed. The true meaning of the word prophet*, is, one who relates what the Loru hath spoken.
The benefits conveyed to the world by means of prophecy were not confined to the Jewish nation ; they are extended to Christians. In the written prophecies we possess some of the strongest evidences in favour of
* Dr Sharpe ou Prophecy,
our holy religion ; and we should be thankful to Gon for the light they afford us,
THE ISRAELITES DESIRE A KING-GOD COMMANDETH
SAMUEL TO YIELD TO THEIR IMPORTUNITY.
From 1 Samuel, Chap. viii.
And it came to pass when Sanuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.
Now the name of his first born was Joel, and the name of his second, Abiah : they were judges in Beersheba..
And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned ásidě after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judg ment.
Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel, unto Ramah, and said unto him, Behold thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways ; now make us a king to judge-us like all the nations.
But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us : And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.
And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even unto this day, where ith they have forsaken me, and served other gods ; so do they also unto thee.