1 Samuel 2 (NRSV)
Hannah prayed and said,
‘My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in my God.
— praising God in Luke 1:
My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in my victory.
2 ‘There is no Holy One like the Lord,
no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble gird on strength.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
6 The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low, he also exalts.
8 He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
and on them he has set the world.
9 ‘He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
for not by might does one prevail.
10 The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered;
the Most High will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king,
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.
and exalt the power of his anointed.’
11 Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, while the boy remained to minister to the Lord, in the presence of the priest Eli.
Hannah called — and God answered. “Came to My Rescue” by Hillsong United.
Eli’s Wicked Sons
12 Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord 13or for the duties of the priests to the people. When anyone offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand,
14and he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or cauldron, or pot; all that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the one who was sacrificing, ‘Give meat for the priest to roast; for he will not accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.’
16And if the man said to him, ‘Let them burn the fat first, and then take whatever you wish’, he would say, ‘No, you must give it now; if not, I will take it by force.’
17Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord; for they treated the offerings of the Lord with contempt.
The Lord had given clear instructions about proper protocol for offerings in Leviticus and Numbers. The fat was to be burned first, and then the meat for the priests taken while the meat was being boiled. Eli’s sons “did what was right in their own eyes.”
The Child Samuel at Shiloh
18 Samuel was ministering before the Lord, a boy wearing a linen ephod (a garment worn only by priests). 19His mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year, when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, ‘May the Lord repay you with children by this woman for the gift that she made to the Lord’; and then they would return to their home.
21 And the Lord took note of Hannah; she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.
Prophecy against Eli’s Household
22 Now Eli was very old. He heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23He said to them, ‘Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. 24No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad. 25If one person sins against another, someone can intercede for the sinner with the Lord; but if someone sins against the Lord, who can make intercession?’ But they would not listen to the voice of their father; for it was the will of the Lord to kill them.
26 Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and with the people.
While it is clear that with Samuel, God is raising up a godly man to do his purposes in Israel, it is equally clear that the sons of Eli are unfaithful to the Lord in almost every way. They took for themselves the choice meats and offerings that belonged to the Lord. They used their position as priests to sexually exploit the women who served at the entrance of the tent of meeting. They refused to listen to their father’s warnings and carried on in their sinful ways.
But there is blame to share. Eli did not discipline his sons and stop the abuses in the tabernacle. Instead, he let things continue, and so God’s name was dishonored again and again by their actions.
Consequently, there will be punishment — death — for all.
27 A man of God came to Eli and said to him, ‘Thus the Lord has said, “I revealed myself to the family of your ancestor in Egypt when they were slaves to the house of Pharaoh. 28I chose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to offer incense, to wear an ephod before me; and I gave to the family of your ancestor all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel. 29Why then look with greedy eye at my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded, and honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?”
30Therefore the Lord the God of Israel declares: “I promised that your family and the family of your ancestor should go in and out before me for ever”; but now the Lord declares: “Far be it from me; for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be treated with contempt. 31See, a time is coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your ancestor’s family, so that no one in your family will live to old age. 32Then in distress you will look with greedy eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed upon Israel; and no one in your family shall ever live to old age. 33The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep out his eyes and grieve his heart; all the members of your household shall die by the sword.
34The fate of your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you—both of them shall die on the same day. 35I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed one for ever. 36Everyone who is left in your family shall come to implore him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread, and shall say, Please put me in one of the priest’s places, that I may eat a morsel of bread.” ’
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.