Scriptures

1 Samuel 2

Introduction

‘Then Hannah prayed and said: ‘My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. ‘There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. ‘Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed. ‘The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry are hungry no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away. ‘The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honour. ‘For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; on them he has set the world. He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness. ‘It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the LORD will be broken. The Most High will thunder from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth. ‘He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.’ Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the LORD under Eli the priest.’ 1 Samuel 2:1-11

Hannah’s Prayer

We can’t help but hear the heartfelt thanks Hannah gives to God in her prayer. We also notice that her prayer was very humble, as she asks God to help her not to become arrogant towards Elkanah’s other wife, Peninnah, 1 Samuel 1:2.

She speaks about how the Lord is her Rock, 2 Samuel 22:2-33 / Psalm 18:2 / Psalm 28:1 / Psalm 62:2 / Psalm 62:6. This indicates that Hannah was familiar with Genesis 49:24, which records Jacob’s blessing of Joseph, wherein he referred to God as the Rock of Israel.

When she says, ‘do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance’, she’s directing this to Peninnah, Elkanah’s other wife, who used to taunt Hannah because she couldn’t have children before she gave birth to Samuel, 1 Samuel 1:6-7.

The words, ‘she who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away’, is a reference to the long barrenness of the Gentile world, to be followed by a fruitfulness far exceeding that of fleshly Israel. Seven is a number implying perfection, completeness, and this didn’t apply to Hannah because she only had six children.

The reference to ‘giving strength to his king’ is possibly prophetic in nature, as Israel sought after a king in Gideon, Judges 8:22. This tells us that Israel wanting a king begun long before Saul was anointed as Israel’s first king.

The word, ‘anointed’ is the word ‘mashiyach’ in Hebrew and it’s used here to mean the anointing of a king, later the word ‘anointed’ came to refer to the Messiah as the anointed one.

Eli’s Wicked Sons

‘Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the LORD. Now it was the practice of the priests that, whenever any of the people offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand while the meat was being boiled and would plunge the fork into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot. Whatever the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh. But even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the person who was sacrificing, ‘Give the priest some meat to roast; he won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.’ If the person said to him, ‘Let the fat be burned first, and then take whatever you want,’ the servant would answer, ‘No, hand it over now; if you don’t, I’ll take it by force.’ This sin of the young men was very great in the LORD’s sight, for they were treating the LORD’s offering with contempt.’ 1 Samuel 2:12-17

It’s clear that Hophni and Phinehas, 1 Samuel 1:3, had no personal relationship with God because they had no regard for the Lord. Because they took advantage of those who wanted to be obedient to God, we can see just how corrupt and evil they had become.

The Israelites were to bring their offerings to the priests in order to support of the Levites, Leviticus 7:28-34, however, Hophni and Phinehas took advantage of the people. They were basically abusing the people spiritually, they were greedy and took more than they were supposed to, hence they are called the ‘sons of Belial’, which means without profit, worthlessness.

‘But Samuel was ministering before the LORD—a boy wearing a linen ephod. Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, ‘May the LORD give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the LORD.’ Then they would go home. And the LORD was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD.’ 1 Samuel 2:18-21

After the dedication of Samuel to tabernacle service, the annual visits of Samuel’s mother and father became very important for them. Not only did they fulfil their obligations to bring their offerings to the Levites, as the law required, Leviticus 7:28-34, but this was also an opportunity to visit their son, Samuel.

God wanted to bless Samuel’s parents with five more children, three boys and two girls.

‘Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. So, he said to them, ‘Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. No, my sons; the report I hear spreading among the LORD’s people is not good. If one person sins against another, God may mediate for the offender; but if anyone sins against the LORD, who will intercede for them?’ His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the LORD’s will to put them to death. And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favour with the LORD and with people.’ 1 Samuel 2:22-26

Doesn’t your heart just go out to Eli? This must have been so embarrassing for him as his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas just go from bad to worse, they become more corrupt. They were sleeping with women inside the tabernacle which shows great contempt towards God, 1 Samuel 2:12.

It appears that God was being patient with them until they were finally killed for their sinful behaviour. Notice though, that despite Eli’s sons being sinful in their behaviour, Eli himself remained in favour with the Lord. It’s such a shame that his sons didn’t follow their father’s example and as a result they will be judged by God because of their own sinfulness, Ezekiel 18:20.

If we learn anything from this event, it’s simply this, children can’t rely on their parent’s faith or righteousness, they must have their own, they must take personal responsibility for their own actions because we will all be judged by God individually for our actions, 2 Corinthians 5:10.

Prophecy Against The House Of Eli

‘Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: ‘Did I not clearly reveal myself to your ancestor’s family when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh? I chose your ancestor out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in my presence. I also gave your ancestor’s family all the food offerings presented by the Israelites. Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honour your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’ ‘Therefore, the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that members of your family would minister before me forever.’ But now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honour me I will honour, but those who despise me will be disdained. The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your priestly house, so that no one in it will reach old age, and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, no one in your family line will ever reach old age. Every one of you that I do not cut off from serving at my altar I will spare only to destroy your sight and sap your strength, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life. ‘And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you—they will both die on the same day. I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his priestly house, and they will minister before my anointed one always. Then everyone left in your family line will come and bow down before him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread and plead, “Appoint me to some priestly office so I can have food to eat.’ 1 Samuel 2:27-36

The man who came to Eli was an unnamed man but we know he was a man of God, which implies that God was working through him amongst Israel. We know he wasn’t a prophet because Samuel was known as the first prophet amongst Israel, 1 Samuel 3:20.

‘Your ancestor’s family’ is a reference to the Levites who were represented by Moses and Aaron while they were still in Egypt. Hophni and Phinehas hated the offerings to the Lord because they were never satisfied with their share of the offerings that was to be given to the Levites. This showed how greedy they were, they always wanted more.

God is going to ‘cut off their strength’, implies that the house of Eli had been unconditionally chosen to work and serve in the tabernacle, but because Eli’s two sons were so evil, his election for service would come to an end.

God says, ‘every one of you that I do not cut off’ is a future reference to Abiathar who escaped the slaughter of the priests of Nob, 1 Samuel 22:18-23 / 1 Kings 2:26-27.

Later God would raise up a faithful high priest in Samuel, as well as priest through Zadok, 2 Samuel 8:17 / 2 Samuel 15:24. Any descendants left over from the house of Eli would look to Samuel and his descendants.

Go To 1 Samuel 3

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

John 3:16

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