And as Samuel was offering up the burnt
&c.] Which he might do by a priest, as Ben Gersom suggests, he being only a Levite; though he being a prophet, and an extraordinary person, and this an extraordinary case, he might do it himself, as Gideon and others, as well as offer it in another place than where the tabernacle was; Shiloh being now destroyed, persons and places for sacrifice were now dispensed with: and before Samuel had made an end of offering the sacrifice,
the Philistines drew near to battle against
and were come as far almost as Mizpeh, where Israel were, and Samuel was sacrificing:
but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day
which fulfilled Hannah's prophecy, ( 1 Samuel 2:10 ) and this, as Josephus F14 says, was attended with lightning, which flashed in their faces, and shook their weapons out of their hands, so that they fled disarmed; and also with an earthquake, which caused gaps in the earth, into which they fell:
and discomfited them;
disturbed, affrighted them, and threw them into confusion and disorder, as well as destroyed many of them:
and they were smitten before Israel;
the meaning of which is not that they fled before them, and were killed by them; but that before Israel could come out against them, and fight with them, they were smitten and destroyed, many of them by the thunder and lightning, and by the earth opening upon them, and devouring them; for this phrase, "before Israel", denotes time, as Abarbinel observes, and not place.
F14 Antiqu. l. 6. c. 2. sect. 2.