1 Samuel 2
Eli’s Extinction predicted
Hannah’s song about God1I am so happy because of the LORD.
With the LORD’s help, I won.
I’m laughing at my enemies now.
Thank you, God, for the save.
2You are one of a kind, LORD.
There’s no one like you—
Our rock-solid-reliable God.
3But you people with noses in the air,
It’s time to stop bragging now.
The LORD is a God of knowledge.
He knows what you do,
And He’ll judge you accordingly.
God of our reversals4Like snapping twigs,
The LORD snaps bows of mighty archers,
But gives power to the weak and broken.
5The rich and well-fed now work for their bread,
And the poor aren’t hungry anymore.
The mother of none becomes the mother of seven.
And the mother of many becomes the mother of none.
6The LORD takes our life, or he gives us life.
He sends us to the grave  or he saves  us.
7The LORD can make us rich or poor,
Influential or invisible.
8And he lifts the poor from dust of the street.
And he seats them beside world leaders,
Where they inherit the respect they deserve.
9He guards those who follow his path.
But the wandering wicked will die in the dark.
For no matter how strong we think we are,
We can’t go far on our own.
10The LORD’s enemies don’t have a prayer.
He’ll thunder from heaven and break them in two.
He’ll judge the world, east to west.
But he’ll strengthen the leaders who follow him,
All those he entrusted with power.
11Elkanah and Hannah left their son with Samuel so he could devote his life to serving the LORD. They headed home to Ramah.
Eli’s sons, the crooked priests12Eli’s sons were corrupt. They didn’t give a holy goat about the LORD. 13Or about the people they served. When someone brought a sacrifice, one of the priest’s servants would go to where the meat was boiling in a pot. They brought a three-pronged fork with them. 14They would drive the fork into the meat and lift out a choice piece  for the priest—whatever the servant grabbed. This was the corrupt practice at Shiloh. All Israelites who came there to worship were mistreated like that.
15That’s not all. Before worshipers had a chance to burn the fat  as a required sacrifice to God, the priest’s servant would intrude. The servant would say, “You need to give me some uncooked fresh meat. Not that boiled stuff. The priest doesn’t accept cooked meat. He wants it raw.”
16Sometimes the worshipers pushed back: “Well, at least let us burn the fat first. After we’ve given that to God, take what you want.” But the servants would say, “We’ll take what we want now, either peacefully or by force.”
17These two young priests were rotten from teeth to toes. They treated the sacred offerings intended for the LORD with no respect at all.
God’s little minister18While Samuel was still a boy, he helped the priests at the worship center. And he wore the uniform of a priest, which included an ephod apron. 
19His mother made him a new robe every year. She took it to him when she and her husband made their annual trip to offer a sacrifice to God. 20And each year, Eli offered them a prayer. He would say, “May the good LORD reward you with more children for the one you loaned him.” Then they would go home.
21The LORD did, in fact, reward Hannah. He gave her five children. She gave birth to three boys and two girls.
Eli’s sons sleep with the help22When Eli grew old,  he started hearing about how his sons were exploiting the people of Israel. He even heard about them having sex with women who worked at the entrance to the worship center, which was still called the Meeting Tent. 
23Eli asked them, “Why are you doing these horrible things? People are telling me what you’re doing. 24Sons, this is not good news. They’re spreading the word about what you’re doing. 25If we sin against another person, God’s the mediator who will help us restore the damaged relationship. But if we sin against God, who’s going to help us fix that?” Eli’s sons wouldn’t listen to their father. In time, the LORD would kill them.
26Samuel grew older. God liked what he saw in this young man. So did the people of Israel.
Prophecy of Eli’s dead end27A man devoted to the LORD came to Eli with a prophecy about Eli’s family. He said, “This is the LORD’s message:
I introduced myself to your ancestors when they were slaves in Egypt, working for the Pharaoh. 28Out of all the people in all the tribes of Israel, I chose your ancestor, Aaron, to become my priest. He sacrificed animals on my altar, burned incense, and wore the one-of-a-kind ephod.  I gave your family the meat, grain, and wine that people brought as their sacrificial offerings. You kept everything that didn’t get burned up or returned to the worshipers. 
29So why do you want even more? Why do you take whatever prime cuts of meat you want instead of the cuts you’re entitled to take? And why do you show more respect to your sons than to me? 30The LORD and God of Israel makes this promise. I gave you and your ancestors the privilege of serving me in this worship center. That’s about to change. I won’t continue to honor people who dishonor me. If you treat me with contempt, I’ll punish you for that.
31And that day is coming. Your family will lose its influence in Israel. 32In fact, no one in your family will get old. 33Swords will kill all but one.  That one person will continue to serve as priest, but he’ll live a bitter life, grieving over what he lost.
34I’m going to give you a sign, so you’ll know I’m not bluffing. Both of your sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will die on the same day. 35I’ll replace them with a priest who will respect my wishes. He’ll serve as my priest forever. 
36Those of your descendants who survive will come crawling to this new priest, begging for work. They’ll say, ‘Please put me on the schedule to serve a stretch as priest so I can get something to eat, even if it’s just a piece of bread.’”
“Grave” is literally “he sends us to Sheol,” which is the place of the dead. When Old Testament writers talked about life after death, it was usually about a place called Sheol, where the dead spirits go and tend not to come back (Genesis 37:35), except for Samuel, conjured up by a medium (1 Samuel 28:15). In King Solomon’s day, most Israelite ancestors of today’s Jewish people didn’t seem to believe in an afterlife where good people get rewarded and bad people get punished. Some Jewish scholars say Isaiah 26:19 helped convince Jews in Medieval times that there is a resurrection. Rabbinic Judaism, like much of Christianity, teaches that all people will rise from the dead.
“Saves us” is more literally “raises up.” As in, he can drop us into a grave or lift us from our sickbed. Most scholars, it seems, say this isn’t a reference to resurrection after death. Instead, the writer seems to be talking about a rescue from death. Some psalms do the same thing, “LORD, you lifted me out of the grave…and spared my life” (Psalm 30:3).
This was a bit of an overreach, to use a pun. If this is a peace offering, which worshipers get to help eat, then the priests are allowed “the breast and the right thigh” (Leviticus 7:35). If the worshiper slaughtered a cow, the priests got: “shoulder, stomach, and both cheek muscles from the head” (Deuteronomy 18:3). Not what you’d call choice cuts.
Juicy fat was considered the Food of God. “All of the best part of the animal—the fat—belongs to the LORD” (Leviticus 3:16).
“Apron” is a guess. Scholars aren’t sure what an ephod looked like. Several centuries before Samuel, in the time of Moses, an ephod was an apron or vest worn by the high priest. Some scholars describe it as a skirt or a shift-like garment that covered the body from about the waist to the mid-thigh. Priests, after the time of Samuel, would use what was described as an ephod to store the sword of Goliath. That was after David killed this Philistine champion warrior (1 Samuel 23:9). Some scholars suggest the Hebrew word ephod was related to the Akkadian word epattu. Assyrian writings say epattu were idols dressed in expensive clothing worn by high officials.
Eli died at age 98 (2 Samuel 4:15).
The worship center may have been a tent, or perhaps something more permanent, with the old name still sticking. Bible writers talk about this Meeting Tent in Exodus 36-40.
The Bible describes several kinds of sacrifices, including burnt, grain, and peace, along with the sin and guilt offerings. Only the “burnt offering” was entirely burned. Worshipers and priests shared some of the offerings. For a description of the sacrifices, see Leviticus, chapters 1-5.
Eli’s sons will die in a battle with the Philistines. And when Eli gets that bad news, he will fall out of a chair and break his neck (1 Samuel 4:17-18). But scholars say fulfillment of the prophecy comes later, when King Saul, on a hunt for runaway David, wipes out the priests of Nob (1 Samuel 22:11-23). Those priests were reportedly descended from Eli. Only a priest named Abiathar survives. He serves King David, but gets fired from the service of David’s son and successor, Solomon.
Many scholars say this was the family of Zadok, which rose to power and served King David and his son King Solomon. Aaron, brother of Moses, was the founding priest of Israel. All priests came from his descendants. But among those descendants, there were power struggles, pitting one extended family of priests against other groups. Levites from the same tribe but unqualified to serve in the worship center rituals, became second-class priests. The kind of person who would pick up the boss’s laundry and run across the street to get him a maple long john with Bavarian crème.
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