The Story of Samuel | Eli’s Evil Sons | 1 Samuel 2.12-17 |

by | Jun 30, 2020

“Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord. 13 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 14 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. 15 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.” 16 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.” 17 This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they[b] were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.” 1 Samuel 2.12-17

The Bible is filled with hundreds if not thousands of characters in different stories, narratives of God’s people at work. Some of these people are good, honorable, not without their faults but seeking God first and foremost. Other’s are evil to the core and even when given a chance to repent, refuse and continue in their wickedness.

Eli’s sons were these kinds of people – selfish, evil and wicked in the sight of the Lord. It’s easy to contrast these with Hannah who just delivered an amazing song of praise and adoration to the Lord. Here we have the son’s of the priest of Eli, the overseer of the house of the Lord at Shiloh, doing unspeakable things.

It was their custom, as the Scripture tells us, that the priest would not only administer the burnet offering but also benefit from this offering as a part of their payment, compensation or allotment. They would receive a portion of the meat from the sacrifice for their own sustainability. But the sons of Eli did not just take the honorable portion, that what was acceptable for them to take, they took more and by force. The text says they would often say to the people making the sacrifice, “Hand it over now; if you don’t, I’ll take it by force. The sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.”

To lead God’s people one must have a humility of spirit, a love for God and an awareness of their own sin and to flee from it. These sons of Eli had none of these qualities. They were selfish, bullies and sinful. They were profiting from the Lord’s sacrifice when they should have been honoring and adoring the Lord through it. Rather than absolving the sins of the worshippers, they themselves were defiling the offering and sinning directly against the Lord.

It’s hard to believe that the sons of a holy and high priest Eli could act this way. These young men who were in the Lord’s service were taking a profit and taking for themselves what belonged to the Lord and his people. Unfortunately, I’ve known people like this and how their actions in the church was less than honorable.

Although we are all sinners, saved by grace, we must continually reflect upon our own lives, motives and actions to make sure that we are in line with God’s heart. He blesses us richly. Even Hannah’s song said, “The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts,” v.7. The Lord gives and takes away but everything always belongs to the Lord. If he gives us an abundance than we in turn bless him with it. If he gives us lack, then we thank him for his provisions. Eli’s son neither honored or blessed the Lord for the sacrifices in Shiloh. They “were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt,” and would consequently face punishment.

Today is a wonderful opportunity to turn from our sin and repent before the Lord. We are all sinful but it’s what we do when we sin that matters. Do we confess? Repent? Run from evil? Or do we delight in the wickedness, riches and rewards gained not from the hand of the Lord but from the hand of evil?

“O Lord God, you so good. Even when I fail, you pursue me with your love. You turn my heart from evil toward your loving compassion. You call me to repentance and for me to walk in holiness as you walk. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your love and grace. Help me represent you to the world so others might find a God who never relents in molding, shaping and remaking his people. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen