1:3This man used to go up. Perhaps he was observing “the yearly feast of the Lord at Shiloh” (Judg. 21:19), or perhaps he went for a family ceremony (20:6). In the Pentateuch (the five books of Moses, or Torah) reference is made to three annual pilgrim-feasts (Ex. 23:14–17; 34:18–23; Deut. 16:1–17).
Lord of hosts. This title occurs here for the first time in the Old Testament. “Lord” represents “Yahweh” in Hebrew, the personal name of the God of Israel, as distinct from the general designation “God.” “Hosts” or “armies” is the traditional translation of the other word. Depending on the context, it could include the hosts of Israel (17:45), the cosmic hosts or celestial bodies (Deut. 4:19), and the angelic hosts (Josh. 5:14). As a whole the title expresses the Lord’s sovereignty over all earthly and heavenly powers.
Shiloh. Halfway between Shechem and Bethel, Shiloh (modern Seilun) was an important Israelite religious center in the period before the monarchy (Josh. 18:1; Judg. 21:19). At least the sanctuary there (Jer. 7:12) may have been destroyed by the Philistines after the battle of Aphek (4:1–11).
Eli. As with some other well-known people in the Old Testament (Joshua, Ex. 17:9; and Jonathan, 1 Sam. 13:2), Eli is first introduced by name only.
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