Eli the Priest and the ninth Judge of Israel, 1 Samuel 1:1-4:22


also read 1 Kings 2:27
1 Samuel
The Birth of Samuel
1:9 Hannah got up after she had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the chair by the doorpost of the tent of the LORD. 10 Deeply distressed, she prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. 11 Hannah made a vow: “LORD of the Heavenly Armies, if you just look at the misery of your maid servant, remember me, and don’t forget your maid servant. If you give your maid servant a son, then I’ll give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and a razor is never to touch his head.”

12 As she continued to pray in the LORD’s presence, Eli was watching her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying inwardly. Her lips were quivering, and her voice could not be heard. So Eli thought she was drunk. 14 Eli told her, “How long will you stay drunk? Put away your wine!”

15 “No, sir!” Hannah replied. “I’m a deeply troubled woman. I’ve drunk neither wine nor beer. I’ve been pouring out my soul in the LORD’s presence. 16 Don’t consider your maid servant a worthless woman. Rather, all this time I’ve been speaking because I’m very anxious and distressed.”

17 “Go in peace,” Eli answered. “May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.”

18 She said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went on her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

21 They got up early the next morning and worshipped in the LORD’s presence, and then they returned and came to their house at Ramah. Elkanah had marital relations with his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her. 20 By the time of the next year’s sacrifice, Hannah had become pregnant and had borne a son. She named him Samuel because she said, “I asked the LORD for him.”

Hannah Dedicates Samuel to the LORD
21 Then Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the yearly sacrifice to the LORD and pay his vow. 22 Hannah did not go up because she had told her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I’ll take him to appear in the LORD’s presence and remain there forever.

23 “Do what you want,” Elkanah told her. “Stay until you have weaned him, only may the LORD bring about what you’ve said.” So Hannah stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him. 24 Then, when she had weaned him, she brought him up with her to Shiloh, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine. She brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh, and the boy was young. 25 They slaughtered the bull and brought the boy to Eli.

26 Hannah said, “Sir, as surely as you are alive, I’m the woman who stood before you here praying to the LORD. 27 I prayed for this boy, and the LORD granted me the request I asked of him. 28 Now I’m dedicating him to the LORD, and as long as he lives, he will be dedicated to the LORD.” Then they worshipped the LORD there.

Hannah’s Thanksgiving Psalm
2:1 Then Hannah prayed:

“My heart exults in the LORD;

my strength is increased by the LORD.

I will open my mouth to speak against my enemies,

because I rejoice in your deliverance.

2 Indeed, there is no one holy like the LORD,

indeed, there is no one besides you,

there is no rock like our God.

3 Don’t continue to talk proudly,

and don’t speak arrogantly,

for the LORD is a God of knowledge,

and by him actions are weighed.

4 The bows of warriors are shattered,

but those who stumble are equipped withe strength.

5 Those who had an abundance of bread

now hire themselves out,

and those who were hungry

hunger no more.

While the barren woman gives birth to seven children,

she who had many children languishes.

6 The LORD kills and gives life,

he brings people down to where the dead are

and he raises them up.

7 The LORD makes people poor

and he makes people rich,

he brings them low,

and he also exalts them.

8 He raises the poor up from the dust,

he lifts up the needy from the trash heap

to make them sit with princes

and inherit a seat of honor.

Indeed the pillars of the earth belong to the LORD,

and he has set the world on them.

9 He guards the steps of his faithful ones,

while the wicked are made silent in darkness.

He grants the request of the one who prays.

He blesses the year of the righteous.

Indeed it’s not by strength that a person prevails.

10 The LORD will shatter his enemies

—those who contend against him.

Who is holy?

The one who will thunder against them in the heavens.

The LORD will judge the ends of the earth,

he will give strength to his king,

and he will increase the strength of His anointed one.”

11 Then Elkanah went to his house at Ramah, while the boy was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli the priest.

Eli’s Wicked Sons
12 Now the sons of Eli were worthless men who did not know the LORD. 13 The custom of the priests with the people was that whenever a person offered a sacrifice, a servant of the priest would come with a three pronged fork in his hand while the meat was boiling, and 14 he would stick it into the boiler or pot, and take everything the fork brought up—that is, the priest would take it for himself. This is what they were supposed to do with all the Israelis who came there to Shiloh. 15 But even before they burned the fat, the servant of the priest would come and say to the person offering the sacrifice, “Give me meat to roast for the priest. He won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.”

16 If the man told him , “They must surely burn up the fat first, and then take for yourself whatever you desire,” the servant would say, “No, give it now, and if you don’t, I’ll take it by force!” 17 By doing this, the sin of the young men was very serious in the LORD’s sight because the men despised the LORD’s offering.

Samuel at Shiloh
18 Now Samuel was ministering in the LORD’s presence, as a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19 His mother would make a small robe for him, and she would bring it each year when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the LORD give you descendants from this woman in place of the one she dedicated to the LORD.” Then they would return to their home.

21 The LORD took note of Hannah, and she became pregnant and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel continued to grow, and the LORD was constantly with him.

Judgment against Eli’s Sons
22 Now Eli was very old, and he had heard everything that his sons were doing to the Israelis, and how they lay with the women who were serving regularly at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 23 “Why are you doing these things that I’m hearing about?” he asked his sons, “These reports about your evil deeds are coming from all these people! 24 No, my sons, I’m not hearing good news being circulated by the LORD’s people. 25 If a person sins against another, God will mediate for him, but if a person sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?”

But they would not follow the advice of their father; for the LORD wanted to put them to death. 26 But the boy Samuel continued to grow both physically and in favor with the LORD and the people.

27 A man of God came to Eli, saying to him, “This is what the LORD says: ‘When they were in Egypt and slaves to the house of Pharaoh, did I not reveal to the family of your ancestor Aaron 28 that I had chosen him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer up burnt offerings on my altar, burn incense, and carry the ephod in my presence? And did I not give to your ancestors’ family all the Israeli fire-offerings? 29 Why, then, do all of you show contempt for my sacrifice and offering that I’ve commanded for my dwelling? And you honor your sons more than me in order to fatten yourselves from the best of all the offerings of my people Israel.’

30 “Therefore, the LORD God of Israel has declared, ‘I did, in fact, say that your family and your ancestor’s family would walk before me forever,’ but now the LORD declares, ‘Far be it from me! The one who honors me I’ll honor, and the one who despises me is to be treated with contempt. 31 The time is coming when I’ll cut away at your family and your ancestor’s family until there are no old men left in your family. 32 Distress will settle down to live in your household, and despite all the good that I do for Israel, there will never be an old man in your family forever, and you will never again have an old man in my house. 33 Any of you whom I don’t eliminate from serving at my altar will grow tired from weeping, and their souls will grieve. All the increase of your family will die by violence. 34 Here’s a sign for you—your two sons Hophni and Phineas will both die on the same day! 35 And I’ll raise up for myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in my heart and according to my desire. I’ll build for him an enduring house and he will walk before my anointed one forever. 36 Anyone who remains in your family will come and prostrate themselves before him for a small wage or a loaf of bread and will say, “Please put me in one of the priest’s offices so I can eat a piece of bread.”’”

The LORD Calls Samuel
3:1 Meanwhile the boy Samuel was serving the LORD before Eli. A word from the LORD was rare in those days, and visions were infrequent. 2 At that time Eli, whose vision was growing dim, was lying down in his bedroom. 3 The lamp of God had not yet been extinguished, and Samuel was lying down in the tent of the LORD where the Ark of God was. 4 The LORD called out to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”

5 He ran to Eli and said, “Here I am! You called me.”

“I didn’t call you,” Eli said. “Go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

6 Then the LORD again called out, “Samuel!”

So Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said, “Here I am! You called me.”

He said, “I didn’t call you, my son. Go back and lie down.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD and had not yet had the word of the LORD revealed to him.

8 Then the LORD called out to Samuel again a third time, and he got up, went to Eli, and said, “Here I am! You called me.”

Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the boy, 9 so Eli told Samuel, “Go lie down, and then if he calls you, answer, ‘Speak, LORD, because your servant is listening.’” Then Samuel went and lay down.

10 Later, the LORD came and stood there, calling out, “Samuel! Samuel!” as he had before.

Samuel said, “Speak, because your servant is listening.”

11 “Look,” the LORD told Samuel. “I’m about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears it tingle. 12 I’ll fulfill every promise that I’ve spoken concerning Eli’s family, from beginning to end. 13 I’ve told him that I’m about to judge his family forever because of the iniquity that he knew about. His sons committed blasphemy and he did not rebuke them. 14 Therefore I’ve sworn concerning Eli’s family that the iniquity of his family is not to be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

Samuel Delivers God’s Message
15 Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the LORD, but he was afraid to report the vision to Eli. 16 Then Eli called Samuel: “Samuel, my son.”

He said, “Here I am.”

17 Eli said, “What did the LORD say to you? Please don’t conceal anything from me. May God do this to you and even more if you conceal from me one word of all that he spoke to you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything—he did not conceal anything from him. Eli said, “He is the LORD. May he do what seems good to him.”

19 As Samuel grew, the LORD was with him and did not let any of Samuel’s predictions fail. 20 All Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as the LORD’s prophet. 21 The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, because he revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by means of messages from the LORD.

The Philistines Capture the Ark
4:1 What Samuel had to say was directed to all Israel, and Israel went out to engage the Philistines in battle. The Israelis were camped at Ebenezer, while the Philistines were camped at Aphek. 2 The Philistines deployed their forces to meet Israel, and as the battle spread Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men on the battlefield.

3 When the people came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why did the LORD defeat us today when we fought the Philistines? Let’s take the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD from Shiloh, so it may go with us and deliver us from the power of our enemies.” 4 So the people sent word to Shiloh and took away from there the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD of the Heavenly Armies, who sits above the cherubim.

Now the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, were there with the Ark of the Covenant of God. 5 When the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel gave a great shout and the earth reverberated! 6 When the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they asked, “What is this noise coming from shouting in the camp of the Hebrews?” Then they realized that the Ark of the LORD had come into the camp, 7 and the Philistines were terrified. “God has come into the camp,” they said. “How terrible for us, because nothing like this has ever happened before! 8 How terrible for us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the desert. 9 Philistines, be strong and be men, or you will become slaves to the Hebrews just as they have been slaves to you! Be men and fight!”

10 The Philistines fought and Israel was defeated; each of them fled to his own tent. It was a very great slaughter, and 30,000 soldiers of Israel died. 11 The Ark of God was captured, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, died.

The Death of Eli
12 That very same day, a man who was a descendant of Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh, with his garments torn and dirt on his head. 13 When he arrived, Eli was sitting there on a seat beside the road, watching because his heart trembled for the Ark of God. The man went into the town to give the report, and the whole town cried out. 14 Eli heard the sound of the cry and asked, “What is the meaning of this commotion?” Then the man quickly came and told Eli. 15 Now Eli was 98 years old, and his vision had failed.

16 The man told Eli, “I’ve just come from the battle line, and I escaped from the battle today.”

He asked, “What happened, my son?”

17 The messenger answered, “Israel fled from the Philistines and the people suffered a great defeat as well. Moreover, your two sons, Hophni and Phineas, are dead, and the Ark of God was captured.”

18 When he mentioned the Ark of God, Eli fell off the seat backwards by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, since he was old and heavy. Eli had judged Israel for 40 years.

Ichabod is Born
19 Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Phineas, was pregnant and ready to give birth. When she heard the report about the capture of the Ark of God and that her father-in-law and husband were dead, she crouched down and gave birth, because her labor pains suddenly began. 20 As she was about to die, the women standing around her said, “Don’t be afraid! You’ve given birth to a son.” But she did not respond or pay attention. 21 She had named the boy Ichabod, saying, “Glory has departed from Israel,” because the Ark of God had been captured and because her father-in-law and husband were dead. 22 She said, “Glory has departed from Israel, because the Ark of God has been captured.”

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