And they said unto him, hold thy peace
Be silent, make no disturbance, be quiet and easy:
lay thy hand upon thy mouth;
as a token of silence; so the Egyptians used to paint Harpocrates, the god of silence, with his fingers pressing his lips:
and go with us;
for they wanted him as well as his gods, not knowing well how to make use of them without him:
and be to us a father and a priest;
to direct them, instruct them, perform acts of devotion for them, and ask counsel on their account; it seems as if it was common in those days to call a priest a father, see ( Judges 17:10 )
is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that
thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel?
suggesting, that it must be much more honourable for him, and more to his advantage, to officiate as a priest to a body of people, that might be called a tribe, or to a family consisting of various houses, than in the house of a private person; this they left him to consider and judge of.