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1 Samuel 2:6-7 – The Lord Kills & Brings to Life

21 May on Logos VOD Commentary, Old Testament   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


This passage is relevant to me today, because I’ve just celebrated my son’s 1st birthday this past weekend and we’ll be dedicating him to the Lord next month at my church. This passage is a snippet from Hannah’s psalm to the Lord as her prayers for a son is answered. 1 Samuel chapters 1-2 is all about Samuel’s baby dedication (the dedication all Christian baby dedications are based on today). The context of this story is fascinating, from her loving husband Elkanah and his sacrifices to her conversation with the priest Eli. The full prayer can be found in 1 Samuel 2:1-10. Hannah’s song of praise in this chapter is important both for its own sake, and also for its foreshadowing of Mary’s song when she was visiting with Elizabeth who was pregnant with John the Baptist in Luke 1:46-55. The song actually speaks for itself. But let’s see what other commentators have to say about it.

ESV Study Bible

The Lord has total authority over life and death, including material and social life. 1 Samuel 2:4-5 gives examples of how the Lord reverse human fortunes; 1 Samuel 2:6-7 states more generally. Kills…brings to life, brings down…raises up, makes poor… makes rich, brings low…exalts. These merisms, expressions in which two words on the extreme ends of a scale are used to express everything on the whole scale. The Lord controls not only birth and death, but also the while life in between.

Henry Morris Study Bible

Maketh Alive. This is a striking statement of faith in the resurrection on the part of Hannah. As this time, no record shows a dead person being revived, nor had there been any explicit revelation given as yet concerning a future bodily resurrection. Yet Hannah, like Abraham and Job, believed that God could and would do this (Note: Gen 22:5, Job 19:25-27, Heb 11:17-19)

HCSB Study Bible

God is sovereign; nothing happens apart from His control.

NET Notes – Net.Bible.org

 tn Heb “Sheol”; NAB “the nether world”; CEV “the world of the dead.”

John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

The Lord killeth, and maketh alive
Which is true of different persons; some he takes away by death, and others he preserves and continues in life; and of the same persons, whom God removes by death, and restores them to life again, of which there are instances both in the Old and New Testament; and be they which they will, both are of God, he is the great Disposer of life and death. Death is of him; it is by his appointment; it is sent by his order; and when it has a commission from him, there is no resisting it; and let it be brought about by what means it will, still it is of God: and life is of him; it is first given by him, and it is preserved by him; and though taken away, it shall be restored at the resurrection of the dead; of which some interpret this clause, as Kimchi and Ben Gersom observe: and what is here said is true, in a spiritual sense; the Lord kills by the law, or shows men that they are dead in sin, and in a legal sense; and he makes alive by his Spirit, through the Gospel, quickening such who were dead in trespasses and sins; which is his own work, and the effect of divine power and grace; (See Gill on Deuteronomy 32:39).

he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up;
he bringeth some very near to the grave, to the very brink of it; so that in their own apprehensions, and in the opinion of their friends, they are just dropping into it, and no hope of recovery left; when he says to them “Return”, and brings them back from the pit, and delivers them from going into it, (Job 33:22 Job 33:28 Job 33:30 ) ( Psalms 90:3 ) and even when they are laid in it, he brings up out of it again, as in the case of Lazarus, and which will be the case in the resurrection, ( John 5:28 John 5:29 ) .

The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich
Which is true in a natural sense of the same persons, as might be exemplified in the case of Job; and of different persons, as in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus; for both poverty and riches are of God, see ( Proverbs 22:2 ) ( 30:8 ) . Poverty is of God; for though it is sometimes owing to a man’s own conduct, yet that there is such a difference among men in general, that some should be poor, and others rich, is owing to the wise providence of God, that men may be dependent on one another. Riches are of God, and are the gifts of his bountiful providence; for though they are oftentimes the fruits of industry and diligence, as means, yet not always; and whenever they are, they are to be ascribed to the blessing of God attending the diligent hand. This is also true in a spiritual sense; for though spiritual poverty is owing to the fall of Adam, and to the actual sins and transgressions of men, whereby they become poor and miserable, yet all this is not without the knowledge and will of God: and it is he that makes men sensible of their poverty, and then makes them rich in spiritual things, with his own grace, and the blessings of it, with the riches of grace here, and of glory hereafter; all which flow from the good will of God, who has laid up much for his people, bestowed much on them, and entitles them to more; and which come to them through the poverty of Christ, who, though he was rich, became poor, that they through his poverty might be made rich, ( 2 Corinthians 8:9 ) he bringeth low, and lifteth up; which has been verified in the same persons, as in Job, Nebuchadnezzar and in different persons, for he puts down one, and raises up another; so he rejected Saul from being king, and took David from the sheepfold, debased Haman, and raised Mordecai to great dignity: and, in a spiritual sense, the Lord shows men the low estate and condition they are brought into by sin, humbles them under a sense of it, brings down their proud spirits to sit at the feet of Jesus, and to submit to him, and to his righteousness; and he lifts them up by his son out of their fallen, captive, and miserable estate, and by his Spirit and grace brings them out of the horrible pit of nature into the state of grace; sets them upon the rock Christ, and makes their mountain to stand strong by the discoveries of his love, and will at last lift them up to glory, and place them on the same throne with Christ.

Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete)

The Lord killeth and maketh alive. Understand it, (1.) Of God’s sovereign dominion and universal agency, in the lives and deaths of the children of men. He presides in births and burials. Whenever any die it is God that directs the arrows of death. The Lord killeth. Death is his messenger, strikes whom and when he bids; none are brought to the dust but it is he that brings them down, for in his hand are the keys of death and the grave, Rev. 1:18 . Whenever any are born it is he that makes them alive. None knows what is the way of the spirit,but this we know, that it comes from the Father of spirits. Whenever any are recovered from sickness, and delivered from imminent perils, it is God that bringeth up; for to him belong the issues from death. (2.) Of the distinction he makes between some and others: He killeth some, and maketh, that is, keepeth, others alive that were in the same danger (in war, suppose, or pestilence), two in a bed together, it may be, one taken by death and the other left alive. Even so, Father, because it seemed good in thy eyes. Some that were most likely to live are brought down to the grave, and others that were as likely to die are brought up; for living and dying do not go by likelihoods. God’s providences towards some are killing, ruining to their comforts, and towards others at the same time reviving. (3.) Of the change he makes with one and the same person: He killeth and bringeth down to the grave, that is, he brings even to death’s door, and then revives and raises up, when even life was despaired of and a sentence of death received, 2 Co. 1:82 Co. 1:9 . He turns to destruction, and then says, Return, Ps. 110:3 . Nothing is too hard for God to do, no, not the quickening of the dead, and putting life into dry bones.5. Advancement and abasement are both from him. He brings some low and lifts up others (v. 7), humbles the proud and gives grace and honour to the lowly, lays those in the dust that would vie with the God above them and trample upon all about them (Job. 40:12Job. 40:13 ), but lifts up those with his salvation that humble themselves before him, Jam. 4:10 . Or it may be understood of the same persons: those whom he had brought low, when they are sufficiently humbled, he lifteth up.

John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible

Killeth – The same person whom he first killeth, or bringeth nigh unto death, he afterwards raiseth to life. Me, who was almost consumed with grief, he hath revived. The name of death both in sacred scripture, and profane writers, is often given to great Calamities.