1 Samuel 2
-As the second chapter begins, we hear Hannah’s song of thanksgiving that she expresses in a prayer. Her heart exalts in the LORD, her horn (qeren- a ray of light, strength, power) is exalted in the LORD, her mouth speaks boldly against her enemies, and she rejoices in her salvation. There is no comparison, she states, to the LORD. He is the Rock, the Fortifier, of His people. The boasting and arrogance of the proud will be no more, for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and He is the Judge of all things. He shatters the weapons of the enemy and girds the feeble with strength. The full and luxurious will want, but the hunger of the hungry will cease. The barren woman gives birth to seven children, but the one who has many children languishes. The LORD is the Controller of life and death. He brings down to Sheol (the underwold, place of the dead) and raises up (perhaps a Messianic prophecy here). The LORD makes poor and rich. He brings some low, but exalts others by His power. Those He blesses sit with nobles and inherit a seat of honor. “For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s, and He set the world on them.” He keeps His godly ones, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. Not by might shall man prevail. Contention with the LORD will be shattered by Him. His thunder in the heavens signal His judgment of the earth, and He will give strength to His king (maybe King as in another Messianic reference). God will exalt the horn of His anointed (maybe Anointed as in Christ, 1 Samuel 2:1-10).
-Elkanah returned to his home at Ramah as the narrative starts back up in verse 11. Samuel, the gift of God and still a very young boy, remained at Shiloh ministering to the LORD before Eli the priest. “Now the sons of Eli were worthless (sons of Belial) men; they did not know the LORD (1 Samuel 2:12). They discredited the Law of Moses and his prescription given by God for the proper methods of sacrifice (see Leviticus 3:3-5; 6:8-30). In short, they were unlawfully taking portions of the sacrificed meat. This was rebellion and a lack of fear for the Almighty. In fact, they argued with those who tried to correct their waywardness, even threatening to take the materials by force if they didn’t get their way. “Thus the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD, for the men despised the offering of the LORD (1 Samuel 2:13-17).” Eli should have followed the law, which would have had them completely cut off (Numbers 15:22-31). Their sin was intentional.
-Now Samuel, on the other hand, was ministering before the LORD as a boy even wearing the linen ephod. His mom would bring him a homemade robe year to year as they came to visit on their yearly sacrifices in Shiloh. Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife with the prayer of more children in lieu of her dedication to give Samuel to the LORD. The LORD indeed visited Hannah, and she had three more sons and two more daughters as their older brother, Samuel, grew before the LORD (1 Samuel 2:18-21).
-Now Eli was very old, and he was aware of all that his sons had been doing as hypocrites to their position of priests. In all of Israel they were making a mockery of the priesthood, even laying with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting in sexual immorality (1 Samuel 2:22). Eli tried to confront them telling them of all he had heard reported to him. However, they would not listen to the voice of their father. Because of their rebellion, the LORD desired to put them to death. At the same time the boy Samuel, much like Jesus would later be described (Luke 2:52), was growing in stature and in favor with both the LORD and men. Then, an unnamed man of God came to Eli and prophesied. His message was clear, “Thus says the LORD.” He reminded Eli of who He was in bringing His children out of Egypt, out of bondage in Pharaoh’s house. He had revealed Himself to them and choose them of His people, from the tribe of Levi, to be His priests perpetually. He had given them His good and perfect Law for them to solemnly adhere. God was ticked. He rightly accused them of kicking at His sacrifice and offering, which made Eli guilty because he honored his sons above the LORD Almighty in excusing them. They had made themselves fat with the choicest of every offering of His people Israel. Therefore, He declared through this man of God that He would now “lightly esteem” these who did not deserve honor and recognition because of their wicked deeds. The days were coming when the LORD would break their strength and there would not be an old man in their house. They would see the distress of the LORD’s dwelling place in spite of all the good that God had done for them. They would be cut off, both Hophni and Phinehas, on the same day indeed they would die. Yet, not every man would be cut off from the altar. This would be too great a grief for the nation. God promised, “I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed always.” Everyone will come to this one and bow down to him for a piece of silver of loaf of bread, and they would humbly ask to be assigned to one of the priest’s offices so that they could have a piece of bread (1 Samuel 2:23-36). I interpret this section as having a then and future meaning prophetically in relation to the Messiah. Indeed, Samuel took over the mantle and reigned as a righteous judge during this period of corruption and intrigue. However, later we see Jesus Christ, from the tribe of Judah, doing the same things as the ultimate Prophet, Priest, and King for His people. Eli’s line was cut off in fulfillment of this prophecy literally in the time of Solomon when Abiathar was removed (1 Kings 2:26-27). Zadok was raised up with a line lasting perhaps as long as the time of Ezra. God always makes His necessary corrections to carry out His plan and purpose.
-*Application* Are there people in our lives that we honor above God like Eli did with his wayward boys? This is serious business because these become an idol to us. God expects us to fulfill His just and righteous ways on this earth. And, sometimes that means calling out and correcting those who are very close to us. This takes courage, strength, and most of all love. Don’t be an Eli in regards to putting up with junk. Be more like Hannah who exalted the LORD and found His power to be all-sufficient.
Verse to Memorize: 1 Samuel 2:35