Eli, the priest at the Tabernacle in Shiloh, had wicked sons, for they showed great contempt for the Lord’s offerings. They would send servants over to where the sacrifices were being offered and defile them by taking the best parts for themselves. The sin of these young men was serious to the Lord, because they were going against the Law and dishonoring Him. In addition, they were also seducing the women at the entrance to the Tabernacle. Although Eli knew what his sons were doing and he spoke to them about their actions, he did nothing to stop them and did not discipline them. He would allow his sons to become fat off of the Lord’s offerings rather than standing for what God had told him to do.
Concerning his sons, a prophet of God was sent to Eli to warn him saying, “Why do you honor your sons more than me?” So through the prophet, the Lord told him that he could not honor those that despise him and that he would put an end to Eli’s family. He said that his sons would die on the same day and God would raise up a faithful priest that would do as He said.
Samuel, who had been dedicated to the Lord as a child, was growing up in the Temple and had favor with both God and the people. One night as he was sleeping, Samuel heard a voice say, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Assuming it was Eli calling from his room Samuel walked into Eli’s room and said, “Yes, here I am. What do you want?”
Eli told Samuel that he had not called and sent him back to bed. This same scenario played out two more times. Each time Samuel went into Eli’s room. On the third time, Eli said, “Perhaps it was the Lord. The next time you hear the voice say, ‘Samuel, Samuel!’ reply, ‘Yes, Lord, your servant is listening.’”
Samuel did as Eli said, and the Lord spoke to Samuel that night telling him that he was going to carry out his threats against Eli and his family. His sons were blaspheming God and Eli didn’t discipline them. He said that the sins of Eli and his sons will never be forgiven by sacrifices or offerings.
The next morning, Samuel was afraid to tell Eli what the Lord had said. But when Eli came to him, he held nothing back. Eli said, “If it is the Lord’s will, let him do as he thinks best.”
And it was done as God had said.
New Living Translation, Tyndale Publishing
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