1 Samuel 2:12-4:1

Eli’s Family Judged

12 Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the Lord 13 or for the priests’ share of the sacrifices from the people. When any man offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged meat fork while the meat was boiling 14 and plunge it into the container or kettle or cauldron or cooking pot. The priest would claim for himself whatever the meat fork brought up. This is the way they treated all the Israelites who came there to Shiloh. 15 Even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give the priest some meat to roast, because he won’t accept boiled meat from you—only raw.” 16 If that man said to him, “The fat must be burned first; then you can take whatever you want for yourself,” the servant would reply, “No, I insist that you hand it over right now. If you don’t, I’ll take it by force!” 17 So the servants’ sin was very severe in the presence of the Lord, because they treated the Lord’s offering with contempt.

18 The boy Samuel served in the Lord’s presence and wore a linen ephod. 19 Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. 20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife: “May the Lord give you children by this woman in place of the one she[a] has given to the Lord.” Then they would go home.

21 The Lord paid attention to Hannah’s need, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.

22 Now Eli was very old. He heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they were sleeping with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 He said to them, “Why are you doing these things? I have heard about your evil actions from all these people. 24 No, my sons, the report I hear from the Lord’s people is not good. 25 If a man sins against another man, God can intercede for him, but if a man sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to their father, since the Lord intended to kill them.26 By contrast, the boy Samuel grew in stature and in favor with the Lord and with men.

27 A man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Didn’t I reveal Myself to your ancestral house when it was in Egypt and belonged to Pharaoh’s palace? 28 Out of all the tribes of Israel, I selected your house[b] to be priests, to offer sacrifices on My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in My presence. I also gave your house all the Israelite fire offerings. 29 Why, then, do all of you despise My sacrifices and offerings that I require at the place of worship? You have honored your sons more than Me, by making yourselves fat with the best part of all of the offerings of My people Israel.’

30 “Therefore, this is the declaration of the Lord, the God of Israel:

‘Although I said
your family and your ancestral house
would walk before Me forever,
the Lord now says, “No longer!”
I will honor those who honor Me,
but those who despise Me will be disgraced.

31 “‘Look, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your ancestral family, so that none in your family will reach old age. 32 You will see distress in the place of worship, in spite of all that is good in Israel, and no one in your family will ever again reach old age. 33 Any man from your family I do not cut off from My altar will bring grief[c] and sadness to you. All your descendants will die violently.[d][e] 34 This will be the sign that will come to you concerning your two sons Hophni and Phinehas: both of them will die on the same day.

35 “‘Then I will raise up a faithful priest for Myself. He will do whatever is in My heart and mind. I will establish a lasting dynasty for him, and he will walk before My anointed one for all time. 36 Anyone who is left in your family will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread. He will say: Please appoint me to some priestly office so I can have a piece of bread to eat.’”

Samuel’s Call

The boy Samuel served the Lord in Eli’s presence. In those days the word of the Lord was rare and prophetic visions were not widespread.

One day Eli, whose eyesight was failing, was lying in his room. Before the lamp of God had gone out, Samuel was lying down in the tabernacle of the Lord, where the ark of God was located.

Then the Lord called Samuel,[f] and he answered, “Here I am.” He ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

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

Once again the Lord called, “Samuel!”

Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

“I didn’t call, my son,” he replied. “Go back and lie down.”

Now Samuel had not yet experienced the Lord, because the word of the Lordhad not yet been revealed to him. Once again, for the third time, the Lord called Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

Then Eli understood that the Lord was calling the boy. He told Samuel, “Go and lie down. If He calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 The Lord came, stood there, and called as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”

Samuel responded, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”

11 The Lord said to Samuel, “I am about to do something in Israel that everyone who hears about it will shudder. 12 On that day I will carry out against Eli everything I said about his family, from beginning to end. 13 I told him that I am going to judge his family forever because of the iniquity he knows about: his sons are defiling the sanctuary,[g] and he has not stopped them. 14 Therefore, I have sworn to Eli’s family: The iniquity of Eli’s family will never be wiped out by either sacrifice or offering.”

15 Samuel lay down until the morning; then he opened the doors of the Lord’s house. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, 16 but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.”

“Here I am,” answered Samuel.

17 “What was the message He gave you?” Eli asked. “Don’t hide it from me. May God punish you and do so severely if you hide anything from me that He told you.”18 So Samuel told him everything and did not hide anything from him. Eli responded, “He is the Lord. He will do what He thinks is good.”[h]

19 Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and He fulfilled everything Samuel prophesied.[i] 20 All Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a confirmed prophet of the Lord. 21 The Lord continued to appear in Shiloh, because there He revealed Himself to Samuel by His word. And Samuel’s words came to all Israel.

The Ark Captured by the Philistines

Israel went out to meet the Philistines in battle and[j] camped at Ebenezer while the Philistines camped at Aphek.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Samuel 2:20 DSS; MT reads he
  2. 1 Samuel 2:28 Lit selected him
  3. 1 Samuel 2:33 Lit grief to your eyes
  4. 1 Samuel 2:33 DSS, LXX read die by the sword of men
  5. 1 Samuel 2:33 Lit die men
  6. 1 Samuel 3:4 DSS, LXX read called, “Samuel! Samuel!”
  7. 1 Samuel 3:13 Ancient Jewish tradition, LXX, Old Lat read are cursing God
  8. 1 Samuel 3:18 Lit what is good in His eyes
  9. 1 Samuel 3:19 Lit He let no words fall to the ground
  10. 1 Samuel 4:1 LXX reads In those days the Philistines gathered together to fight against Israel, and Israel went out to engage them in battle. They