1 Samuel 2:22-36 part 2 Summation of the first part-Eli’s interaction with his sons (vv. 22-26)

So from the last post on this portion of the Scripture, we gathered all that the Lord was getting ready to do to prepare Samuel to lead and Israel to follow.  

Now let’s consider the text itself verse-by-verse

Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.

Eli heard that Hophni and Phineas were sleeping with the women who assembled in front of the tabernacle, turning them into regular shrine prostitutes, and treating the meat offerings of the Lord with contempt and vulgarity.

So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the LORD’s people transgress. If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?”

 And all Eli did was speak to them.  He did not discipline them with actions, but merely with words.

Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the LORD desired to kill them.

 Of course, because Eli did not honor God, and every time I read this text, I get the feeling or impression, though Scripture nowhere states it so explicitly, that Eli is a lazy and lackadaisical individual in his attitude toward God, and it is this lazy and lax attitude that causes his sons to act as corruptly as they do.  It seems like Hophni and Phineas do not respect Eli or his leadership and do whatever they want to do.  In this case, they make the choice to disobey their father’s advice, and I also get the feeling that the God may be doing a hardening of the heart, in accordance with their attitudes which have been displayed adequately up to this point in the narrative.  Their actions up to this point demonstrate a stubbornness and hardness of heart, and that they actually do not know God.  From this, I would almost be one to say, “neither does Eli.”

And, as expected, Hophni and Phineas chose to not listen to their father.  This was for two reasons.  1) Hophni and Phineas knew that Eli would do nothing more than lecture them.  He would not execute justice.  This is what happens when parents use only mercy as a tool to correct their children.  Without justice, children learn to disrespect their parents, and the be able to get away with anything they deem available.  More importantly than their understanding of Eli was 2) The LORD knew this would happen, and he knew the depravity of their hearts, that He gave them over to a reprobate and defiled and corrupt mind (Romans 1:21-24), so that He might justly execute his wrath upon them.  What does this say to us?  if we continue in our iniquities, the LORD will judge us eventually.  It may not be today or tomorrow or the next day, but soon the LORD’s just judgment can and must come.

And the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the LORD and men.

Samuel, on the other hand, does the exact opposite, growing in his walk with the LORD and in favor with his fellow men.  What a juxtaposition!  This is what causes the fear of the LORD and favor of the LORD and, dare I say it, the anointing of the LORD to rest upon Samuel, it’s his sensitivity toward the LORD and his dedication to the LORD, begun in the womb of Hannah. 
Next, part 3, the narrative of the man of God visiting Eli to confirm all that has already taken place, and the sense of judgment that the LORD has purposed.


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