And it shall come to pass, that everyone that is left in
That is not cut off by death, the few remains of Eli's posterity in succeeding times, after the high priesthood was removed out of his family into another; so that they were reduced at best to common priests, and these, as it should seem, degraded from that office for their maladministration of it, or scandalous lives:
shall come and crouch to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of
which Grotius interprets of their coming to God, and bowing themselves before him, and praying to him for the smallest piece of money to cast into the treasury, and for a morsel of bread to be accepted as an offering, instead of a bullock, sheep, lamb, or even a bird, which they were not able to bring; but the meaning is, that such should be the low estate of Eli's family, when another, even Zadok, was made high priest, that they should come and humble themselves before him, as the Targum expresses it, beseeching him to give them a piece of silver, even the smallest piece, that is, as the word signifies, a "gerah" or "meah", about a penny or three halfpence of our money, the twentieth part of a shekel, ( Ezekiel 45:12 ) and a piece of bread, not a whole loaf, but a slice of it, to such extremity would they be brought:
and shall say, put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests' offices,
that I may eat a piece of bread;
or into one of the wards of the priests; their custodies or courses, as the Targum; with which the Jewish commentators generally agree, and of which there were twenty four; see ( 1 Chronicles 24:4-19 ) , and there are some traces of them in the New Testament, see ( Luke 1:5-8 ) , but these were regular priests, who were in those courses, and had a sufficient maintenance for them, and had not barely a piece of bread to live on, or just enough to keep them from starving, as the phrase denotes; wherefore this must be understood, as before hinted, of priests degraded from their office, on some account or another, and reduced to poverty and want; and therefore, that they might be kept from starving, would solicit the high priest in those days, and beg that he would put them in some inferior post under the priests, to do the meanest offices for them, slay the sacrifices for them, wash their pots, open and shut up doors, and the like, that so they might have a living, though a poor one; and this may reasonably be thought to be the case of Eli's posterity, in process of time, after Abiathar was deposed from the high priest's office, and was ordered to go and live upon his fields and farm at Anathoth, ( 1 Kings 2:26 ) with which compare ( Ezekiel 44:10-14 ) . This, as Ben Gersom observes, was a fit punishment, and a righteous retaliation on Eli's posterity, that they should be brought to crouch to others, and be glad of a morsel of bread, who had behaved so imperiously towards the Lord's people, and had taken away their flesh from them by force; and, not content with their allowance, took the best pieces of the sacrifices, to make themselves fat with them.