Now there was a man of Ramathaimzophim, of Mount Ephraim,.... Ramathaim is a word of the dual number, and signifies two Ramahs; the city consisted of two parts, being built perhaps on two hills, and were called Zophim; because, as the Rabbins say, they looked one to another; or rather, because situated on eminences, there were watchtowers in them, where watchmen were placed; or because they were inhabited by prophets, who were sometimes called watchmen, Ezekiel 3:17 and here is thought to be a school of the prophets, see 1 Samuel 19:19 and which seems to be countenanced by the Targum, in which the words are paraphrased thus, "and there was one" man of Ramatha, of the disciples of the prophets; or, as others think, the sense is this, this man was one of the Ramathites, the inhabitants of Ramah, and of the family of Zuph, or the Zuphites, which gave the name to the land of Zuph, and the grand ancestor of Elkanah is in this verse called Zuph, see 1 Samuel 9:5. According to JeromF5De loc. Heb. fol. 88. K. , this is the same with Arimathaea, of which Joseph was, Matthew 27:57 for thus he writes,"Armatha Sophim, the city of Helcanah and Samuel, in the Thamnitic region near Diospolis (or Lydda), from whence was Joseph, who in the Gospels is said to be of Arimathaea;'but RelandF6Palestin. Illustrat. tom. 2. p. 581. thinks it cannot be the same that was about Lydda, which was all a champaign country; whereas this was in the mountains of Ephraim, which must be sought to the north of Jerusalem, and not the west, and so it follows:
of Mount Ephraim: which is added to distinguish it from other Ramahs in several tribes, as in Benjamin, Naphtali, &c. though this may refer not to the situation of Ramathaim, but to the country of this man, who was originally of Mount Ephraim, as was the Levite in Judges 19:1 who was the cause of much evil to Israel, as this was of great good, as Kimchi observes: arpar
and his name was Elkanah; which signifies "God hath possessed"; that is, possessed him, or he was in possession of God; he had an ancestor of the same name, 1 Chronicles 6:23. This man was a Levite, one of the Kohathites, and a descendant of Korah; so that the famous prophet Samuel was of the sons of Korah:
the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph; the three last of these names are somewhat differently read in 1 Chronicles 6:26, where they are Eliab, Nahath, Zophai; and in 1 Chronicles 6:34. Eliel, Toah, Zuph:
an Ephrathite; which appellation is to be connected, according to Kimchi, not with Elkanah, but with Zuph; though neither of them were so called from Bethlehemjudah, the inhabitants of which were indeed called Ephrathites from Ephratah, another name of it; so Elimelech, and his sons Mahlon and Chilion, being of that city, were so called, 1:2 not from their being of the tribe of Ephraim, as Jeroboam of that tribe is called an Ephrathite, 1 Kings 11:26, see Judges 12:5 for these were Levites, the descendants of Kohath, in the line of Korah; but because they sojourned in Mount Ephraim, or dwelt there, as Elkanah did; and it is well known that the Kohathites had cities given them in the tribe of Ephraim, Joshua 21:5.