I Samuel 2:12-36

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Text: I Samuel 2:12-36



Something which I find rather interesting is that God gives us children when we are young and inexperienced in life. After we are no longer young and no longer inexperienced, He does not usually give us more children. Then we become grandparents instead. We love our children and our grandchildren very much. We consider it a privilege to have children and to be able to enjoy our grandchildren.

The Scripture has a number of things to say about raising children. As parents, we need to have a Biblical attitude in all aspects of parenting.

We need to realize that parenting is a wonderful privilege.

Psalms 127:3-5 - (3) Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. (4) As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. (5) Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

We also need to realize that parenting is an awesome responsibility.

Joshua 1:8 - This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Proverbs 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Ephesians 6:4 - And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

In I Samuel 2 we find a contrast between Samuel and Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli.

When it comes to the sons of Eli, we see men who are headed in the wrong direction. We also see a father who was apparently not man enough to stop them. Therefore, the Lord is going to stop them.

When it comes to Samuel, we see a young man who is heading in the right direction.

One commentator has written (in Bible Knowledge Commentary) that the human reason for the birth of Samuel has been recounted as the result of a Godly mother's prayer. He has also written that the divine reason is given in chapter two. The priesthood was corrupt.

Judges 21:25 - In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

This writer also indicates that what was true of every man doing what was right in his own eyes was also true of the priests, Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli. They were likewise doing what was right in their own eyes but not what was right in God's eyes.


1. Hophni and Phinehas were sons of Belial - 2:12a

I Samuel 2:12 a - Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial. . . .

Sons of is a Hebrew idiom. What follows the terms sons of indicates one of their chief characteristics.

For example -

If a Hebrew man was giving his age, he might say, I am the son of 80 years. It means that he was 80 years old.

Christ was said to be the Son of God. This means that He was God.

Christ was also said to be the son of man. This means that He was a human being.

James and John were described as being sons of thunder. It means that they were thunderous individuals.

Sons of Belial means that they were worthless men or scoundrels, It is used in the Old Testament of people involved in idolatry, in drunkenness, in rebellion, and in sodomy. Belial eventually began to be used as a name for Satan.

2. Hophni and Phinehas were unsaved men - 2:12b

I Samuel 2:12 b - . . . They knew not the Lord

They knew not the Lord indicates that Hophni and Phinehas, although priests, were unsaved individuals.

3. Hophni and Phinehas robbed the people of their share of the peace offerings - I Samuel 2:13-14

I Samuel 2:13-14 - (13) And the priests' custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest's servant came, while the flesh was in seething [i.e. was boiling], with a fleshhook of three teeth [i.e. prongs] in his hand; (14) And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither [i.e. there].

The sons of Eli robbed the people of their share of the peace offerings. The priests were entitled to the breast and the right shoulder (i.e. thigh), but they took for themselves the choice meat of the sacrificial animals.

Leviticus 7:28-34 - (28) And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, (29) Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, He that offereth the sacrifice of his peace offerings unto the Lord shall bring his oblation unto the Lord of the sacrifice of his peace offerings. (30) His own hands shall bring the offerings of the Lord made by fire, the fat with the breast, it shall he bring, that the breast may be waved for a wave offering before the Lord. (31) And the priest shall burn the fat upon the altar: but the breast shall be Aaron's and his sons'. (32) And the right shoulder [i.e. thigh] shall ye give unto the priest for an heave offering of the sacrifices of your peace offerings. (33) He among the sons of Aaron, that offereth the blood of the peace offerings, and the fat, shall have the right shoulder [i.e. thigh] for his part. (34) For the wave breast and the heave shoulder [i.e. thigh] have I taken of the children of Israel from off the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them unto Aaron the priest and unto his sons by a statute for ever from among the children of Israel.

4. Hophni and Phinehas demanded meat before the fat had been offered to God. This was contrary to the law.

This is taught in Leviticus 3 , whether the sacrifice is from the herd (Lev. 3:1-5), from the sheep (Lev. 3:6-11), or one of the goats (Lev. 3:12-16); and eating fat was strictly forbidden (Lev. 3:17). As an example, Leviticus 3:1-5 says,

Leviticus 3:1-5 - 1 And if his oblation be a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offer it of the herd; whether it be a male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD. 2 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron's sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about. 3 And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards, 4 And the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away. 5 And Aaron's sons shall burn it [i.e. the fat] on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice, which is upon the wood that is on the fire: it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.

3. Hophni and Phinehas wanted to roast the meat instead of boiling it.

4. If anyone protested what Hophni and Phinehas did, they would take the meat by force.

5. As a result people hated the offering of the Lord.

I Samuel 2:15-17 - (15a) Also before they burnt the fat, the priest's servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden [i.e. boiled] flesh of thee, but raw. (16) And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently [i.e. first], and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force. (17) Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord: for men abhorred [i.e. despised] the offering of the Lord.

6. Hophni and Phinehas were immoral - 2:22

I Samuel 2:22 Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

Meanwhile -


Although Hannah lent Samuel to the Lord as long as he lived, she still looked after his needs. She came to Shiloh yearly to do so.

I Samuel 2:18-21 - (18) But Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod. (19) Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. (20) And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The Lord give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the Lord. And they went unto their own home. (21) And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the Lord.

I Samuel 2:26 And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men.


I Samuel 2:22-25 - (22) Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. (23) And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by [i.e. from] all this people. (24) Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord's people to transgress. (25) If one man sin against another, the judge [i.e. God] shall judge him [i.e. mediate for him - the same word translated intreat]: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall intreat [i.e. intercede or mediate] for him? Notwithstanding [i.e. but, however, or nevertheless] they hearkened not unto [i.e. did not heed or did not listen to] the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them [i.e. desired to kill them or desired to put them to death].

It was not until Eli heard that his sons were immoral that he rebuked them, but by then it was too little and too late.

He could have stopped them from doing the things they were doing, and he should have stopped them.


I Samuel 2:27-36 - (27) And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father [i.e. Aaron], when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house? (28) And did I choose him [i.e. Aaron] out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father [i.e. Aaron] all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel? (29) Wherefore [i.e. why, for what (reason)] kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering [it suggests despising them, treating them with contempt, scorning them, etc.], which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people? (30) Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. (31) Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father's house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house. (32) And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever. (33) And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age. (34) And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them. (35) And I will raise me up a faithful priest [A reference to Zadok who ministered in the days of David and Solomon but ultimately to Christ], that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever. (36) And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left in thine house shall come and crouch to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and shall say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests' offices, that I may eat a piece of bread [i.e. the motive for being a priest would not be to serve the Lord but to get something to eat].


Although in Judges 21:25 - . . . every man did that which was right in his own eyes, in our lives and ministries we need to be doing what is right in God's eyes, i.e. in accordance with the Bible which reveals to us the mind and thinking of God.