Shmuel 1-Chapter 2: Channah gives thanks to G-d; The sins of Bnei Eily

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Chapter 2: Channah gives thanks to G-d; The sins of Bnei Eily

  1. The prayer of thanksgiving of Channah to G-d:

  • Channah thanks G-d for saving her from the humiliation of Penina: My heart has become elated by G-d and my stature has been raised by G-d. My mouth has overcome my enemies [i.e. Penina[1]] because I have rejoiced in your Salvation. There is no one as holy as G-d as there is no one other than Him and there was no rock like our G-d.
  • G-d raises the humble and lowers the haughty: Do not increase in speaking with haughtiness [due to being in a temporary position of hierarchy and success, as G-d knows that which is in your hearts, and knows the actions of man[2]], as G-d knows that which is in your hearts, and knows the actions of man. G-d weakens the strong and strengthens the weak. Those who were wealthy and received their sustenance without toil, now need to search for their bread, and those who were hungry and needed to work hard for their sustenance, no longer need to do so. While the barren woman gives birth to seven children, the one who had many children becomes stricken with tragedy [as Channah had seven children, while Penina, who had ten sons, buried eight of them, as each time Channah gave birth Penina buried two sons[3]]. G-d puts to death and gives life, and lowers the arrogant to purgatory, and brings them up with the resurrection.[4] G-d makes the wealthy destitute, and makes the poor wealthy, He lowers and He elevates the poor from the dust, and the destitute from the trash, to sit them with the dignitaries. He inherits them a seat of honor, as to G-d belongs the righteous and He appoints them in leadership positions.[5] Who guards the feet of his righteous ones, while the evildoers wallow in darkness. Man cannot overcome obstacles with simply physical strength.
  • Praying for the Jewish people: May G-d place fear onto his enemies, making frighten them from the skies. God will judge the world leaders and its strength to his King and raise no power of his anointed one.

2. Elkana returns home:

  • Elkana returned to home in Ramasa.

3. Shmuel is raised by Eily:

  • The lad served G-d in face of Eily the priest.

4. The sons of Eily and their sins:

  • Taking large portions: The sons of Eily were corrupt men who did not know G-d. The following guidelines and rules were followed by the priest in regard to the nation who came to bring their sacrifices. Any man who came to bring his offering a young priest would come and cook his meat using a three-tooth fork. They would hit the fork on the sink, or on the pot and whatever meat the fork would lift up the priests would take. So was done from all the Jewish people who came to Shilo [to bring their sacrifices].
  • Demanding meat prior to bringing the fat offering on the altar: [An additional sin] is that prior to bringing the fat offering [onto the altar] the young priest would come and demand from the person bringing the offering to give raw meat to the priest in order so he can roast it, and in its stead he will not take the cooked meat. The owner of the offering would reply that after he offers the fat of the offering [onto the altar] the priest can take whatever he wishes, however the priest would reply back that he will take it now and if the owner doesn’t agree that he will take it by force.
  • The sins of these lads were very great in the eyes of G-d, as they fought with people bringing offerings to G-d.

5. Shmuel’s upbringing:

  • Shmuel would serve before G-d, and wear an apron made of linen [as was worn by all the dignitaries[6]]. His mother would make him a small coat, and have it brought to him annually when her husband would go up for the pilgrimage to bring his annual offerings [to G-d].
  • Eily blesses Channah and Elkana: Eily blessed Elkana and his wife and said “May G-d place for you offspring from this woman in exchange for her prayer that she prayed before G-d.” They then returned to their place.
  • Channah has five children: G-d helped Channah conceive, and she became pregnant and had three sons and two daughters, and the lad Shmuel grew up with G-d.

6. Eily hears of the wrongdoing of his sons:  

  • Eily discovers that his sons would lie with the women after birth: Eily was very old, and he heard all that his sons were doing to the Jewish people, that they would lie with women who gave birth in the entrance to the Tent of Meeting [i.e. Ohel Moed]. [Some say that this does not mean that they would literally have relations with the women, but rather that they would delay bringing their afterbirth sacrifices, hence delaying their ability to return home and be with their husbands, and G-d considered it as if they had lied with the women.[7]]
  • Eily confronts his son: Eily confronted his sons asking them why are you doing the above set matters, as I have heard about you all these evil things that you are doing to the nation. My sons, abstain from doing the above, as the rumors that I am hearing about you from the nation of G-d are not good. If man sins against man a judge can come and adjudicate between them, however if one sins to God who will help him in the adjudication.
  • The sons of Eily do not listen to him: Unfortunately, the sons of Eily did not heed the words of their father, as G-d desired [i.e. already decreed[8]] to punish them with death.

7. The upbringing of Shmuel:

  • The lad, Shmuel, grew up very nicely, and he was very well favored by God and people.

8. Eily receives a Divine message of complaint and curse:

  • Eily is told that his family was chosen by G-d for the priesthood: A man of G-d [i.e. Elkana[9], who was one of the 48 profits of the Jewish people[10]] came to Eiley and said to him, so says G-d: I have revealed myself to the House of your father [i.e. Aaron[11]] while they were in Egypt, to the house of Pharaoh. And I chose him from all the tribes of Israel to be a priest for me to offer on my altar the sacrifices and to offer the incense and wear the Eifod in front of me and I gave to the house of your father all the offerings of the Jewish people.
  • Eily is chastised for the sins of his sons: Why then do you despise My sacrifice and Mincha which I commanded to be offered in My temple. You honor your sons more than Me by letting them partake in the 1st portions of the sacrifice of my people the Israelites. Therefore, says G-d, the G-d of Israel, I had said that your house and your father’s house would walk before me forever [i.e. that the priesthood would belong to the descendants of the house of Eily, as at first it was given to Pinchas, and due to his lack of leadership in the times of Pilegesh Bigiva, it was removed from him and given to Eily[12]].
  • The punishments-Losing the priesthood, descendants dying at young age: Now, says God it would be demoting of me as I honor those who honor me and belittle those who belittle Me. Days will come, and I will uproot your descendants and the descendants of your father’s household, from having an elderly leader amongst them [as the priesthood will be taken away from Aveisar his descendant, and given to Tzadok, a descendant of Pinchas[13]]. You will see pain in my dwelling place with all the good that I will give the Jewish people as there will not be an elderly leader amongst your descendants for all of days. I will not cut off all your descendants from offering on my altar, in order to make your eyes and soul yearn for what they see, however the descendants of your home will die as young men [at the age of eighteen[14]]. And this shall be for you an omen [that all the above will occur], that Chafni and Pinchas will both die in the same day. I will establish for myself a new trustworthy priest that will do as my heart and soul desires and I will build for him a trustworthy home and he will walk before my anointed one throughout all the days. All the remainder of your house will come to prostrate themselves to him in order to make a living and receive a loaf of bread. They will ask him to please incorporate them in one of the priesthoods shifts in order so they can get bread.


[1] Rashi 2:1

[2] Rashi 2:3

[3] See Rashi 2:5

[4] See Metzudos David 2:6 and Ralbag ibid

[5] See Rakbag and Gr”a 2:8

[6] See Metzudos David 2:18

[7] See Rashi 2:22; Radak ibid; Metzudos David ibid

[8] Rashi 2:25

[9] Rashi 2:27

[10] Radak 2:27

[11] Rashi 2:27

[12] Rashi 2:30

[13] Rashi 2:30

[14] Rashi 3:12

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