Hannah & Samuel, Eli & Sons
1 Samuel 1-4
Priscilla Van Sutphin
1 SAMUEL NKJV The Family of Elkanah
1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
Ramathaim Zophim means - high place of watchers/to peer into the distance
Elkanah means “God has obtained”, Jeroham – compassionate, Elihu – God of him,
Tohu - depress; abasement; Zuph – honeycomb
Perhaps this name of this city gives us a clue that there was a need for those in this place to be WATCHFUL, as they were on a high place, and vulnerable to enemies ?
2 And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
Hannah means FAVORED, Peninnah means * paniyn (paw-neen'); or paniy (paw-nee'); from the same as OT:6434; probably a pearl (as round): KJV = ruby
3 This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. Also the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there.
Hophni means: perhaps pugilist; a person who fights with the fists; a boxer, usually a professional. Phinehas means: OT:6372 Piynechac (pee-nekh-aws'); apparently from OT:6310 and a variation of OT:5175; mouth of a serpent; Pinechas KJV - Phinehas. Now that is significant as they both were fighting against the Lord’s ways !
4 And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. 6 And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.
It was a great humiliation in that culture to not have children and considered a curse. So you can imagine how desperate Hannah would be, like Sarah. Then not only did she have grief over not being able to bear children, but her rival, the other wife, goaded her and mocked her on top of it. Yet in this little portion of scripture, I see a likeness of the LORD in Elkanah giving to Hannah a DOUBLE PORTION.
In Deut 21:15-17 NKJV it says:
15 "If a man has two wives, one loved and the other unloved, and they have borne him children, both the loved and the unloved, and if the firstborn son is of her who is unloved, 16 then it shall be, on the day he bequeaths his possessions to his sons, that he must not bestow firstborn status on the son of the loved wife in preference to the son of the unloved, the true firstborn. 17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.
Now this law in Deuteronomy pertains to the firstborn son, that even if that son is from the unloved wife, he will get the double portion. But here, Elkanah gives to Hannah, his beloved wife a double portion just out of his love for her.
Isa 61:7 NKJV Instead of your shame you shall have double honor,
And instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion.
Therefore in their land they shall possess double; Everlasting joy shall be theirs.
This verse is what makes me see it as a type of Christ and His bride – Elkanah and Hannah that is. He gives Hannah double, knowing the pain of her suffering.
8 Then Elkanah her husband said to her, "Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?"
Oh my, how some men can say the wrong thing at the wrong time ! Surely he was a good man, but some men have a bit of self in the way of seeing through the feelings of a woman. I have to laugh reading his words. Like yes, it should be enough, but it wasn’t in that culture, and he was minimizing her feelings as sometimes happens. BUT if he represents the LORD, indeed as a type, then it makes sense, because HE of course is to us, much more than 10 sons.
9 So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh.
SHILOH: tranquil; Shiloh, an epithet of the Messiah: [an identification of HIM : Jesus ]
Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. 10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. 11 Then she made a vow and said, "O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head."
This is the vow of a nazarite, for no razor to touch his head. And she is willing to give up the child, though that would be VERY hard after not having a child in so long, but a sure vindication from the Lord in the face of her opponent Peninnah.
12 And it happened, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli watched her mouth. 13 Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. 14 So Eli said to her, "How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!" 15 But Hannah answered and said, "No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord.
Often this is the treatment of those who’ve felt so rejected – more rejection.
The priest thinks she’s drunk, but she is just overwhelmed with grief.
16 Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now." 17 Then Eli answered and said, " Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him." 18 And she said, " Let your maidservant find favor in your sight." So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
There is something about desperate prayer and self sacrifice that touches the heart of God like nothing else. God does listen to all of our prayers, but there is a watching I think sometimes and waiting for us to really cry out, maybe it’s a level of FAITH and trust that He is looking for, that really reaches His heart. Maybe it was a level of humility, since she was bitter in heart, and she needed to rid herself of that bitterness to have what she wanted from the Lord. That too will stifle answers to prayer. She knew she had overcome it would seem as she was no longer sad.
Often when we get bitter, it is because we have pent up our emotions instead of releasing our pain and anger to the LORD in PRAYER. You have to get it out to someone, and who better, than the LORD HIMSELF ? This brings often an answer just laying it all out before the Judge of the earth.
Samuel Is Born and Dedicated
19 Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, "Because I have asked for him from the Lord."
I love that it says, the LORD remembered her. Sometimes when we go through difficult circumstances, we may feel like God has abandoned us, but He promised He would NEVER leave us or forsake us. So God remembered Hannah and she conceived a son. [Samuel means: OT:8050 heard of God]
21 Now the man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, "Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the Lord and remain there forever." 23 So Elkanah her husband said to her, "Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him. Only let the Lord establish His word." Then the woman stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him.
Why did Elkanah say “only let the Lord establish His word ? Eli had blessed her saying, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him” and Hannah had promised if she gave birth to give her son to God. It was God Who motivated Eli to speak and Hannah as well.
Lamentations 3:37-38 NKJV Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, When the Lord has not commanded it? 38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed?
24 Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh. And the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered a bull, and brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, "O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord. 27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. 28 Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord." So they worshiped the Lord there.
Then Hannah, filled with the Spirit of God prays very powerfully a prophetic prayer/declaration:
Chapter 2: Hannah's Prayer (cf. Luke 1:46-55) And Hannah prayed and said: "My heart rejoices in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation. 2 "No one is holy like the Lord, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God. 3 "Talk no more so very proudly; Let no arrogance come from your mouth, For the Lord is the God of knowledge; And by Him actions are weighed. 4 "The bows of the mighty men are broken, And those who stumbled are girded with strength. 5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, and the hungry have ceased to hunger. Even the barren has borne seven, And she who has many children has become feeble.
6 "The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. 7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. 8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory. "For the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and He has set the world upon them. 9 He will guard the feet of His saints, but the wicked shall be silent in darkness. "For by strength no man shall prevail. 10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces; From heaven He will thunder against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. "He will give strength to His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed."
Go to Luke 1:46 NKJV and compare Mary’s declaration when she saw Elizabeth:
The Song of Mary... And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name.
50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with His arm;He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things,
Mary would have grown up learning the story of Hannah and singing the scriptures.
11 Then Elkanah went to his house at Ramah. But the child ministered to the Lord before Eli the priest.
Oh what a hard thing that is to give up your child and the Lord knows. What a brave woman Hannah was ! After years and years of rejection to give up what you love most, your beloved son. How much strength does that take ? A truckload I know. And God is good to Hannah in return.
Let’s go on…
The Wicked Sons of Eli
12 Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the Lord. 13 And the priests' custom with the people was that when any man offered a sacrifice, the priest's servant would come with a three-pronged flesh-hook in his hand while the meat was boiling. 14 Then he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; and the priest would take for himself all that the fleshhook brought up. So they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15 Also, before they burned the fat, the priest's servant would come and say to the man who sacrificed, "Give meat for roasting to the priest, for he will not take boiled meat from you, but raw."
16 And if the man said to him, "They should really burn the fat first; then you may take as much as your heart desires," he would then answer him, "No, but you must give it now; and if not, I will take it by force." 17 Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.
This was a great evil in the sight of the Lord. Eli’s sons are defying the Living God and His instructions to the priesthood here and full of GREED.
Matthew Henry’s commentary
(1.) “They profaned the offerings of the Lord, and made a gain to themselves, or rather a gratification of their own luxury, out of them. God had provided competently for them out of the sacrifices. The offerings of the Lord made by fire were a considerable branch of their revenue, but not enough to please them; they served not the God of Israel, but their own bellies (Rom 16:18), being such as the prophet calls greedy dogs that can never have enough, Isa 56:11. [1.] They robbed the offerers, and seized for themselves some of their part of the sacrifice of the peace-offerings. The priests had for their share the wave-breast and the heave shoulder (Lev 7:34), but these did not content them; when the flesh was boiling for the offerer to feast upon religiously with his friends, they sent a servant with a flesh-hook of three teeth, a trident, and that must be stuck into the pot, and whatever that brought up the priest must have (v. 13,14), and the people, out of their great veneration, suffered this to grow into a custom, so that after awhile prescription was pleaded for this manifest wrong. [2.] They stepped in before God himself, and encroached upon his right too. As if it were a small thing to weary men, they wearied my God also, Isa 7:13. Be it observed, to the honour of Israel, that though the people tamely yielded to their unwarrantable demands from them, yet they were very solicitous that God should not be robbed: Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, v. 16. Let the altar have its due, for that is the main matter.
Unless God have the fat, they can feast with little comfort upon the flesh. It was a shame that the priests should need to be thus admonished by the people of their duty; but they regarded not the admonition. The priest will be served first, and will take what he thinks fit of the fat too, for he is weary of boiled meat, he must have roast, and, in order to that, they must give it to him raw; and if the offerer dispute it, though not in his own favour (let the priest take what he pleases of his part) but in favour of the altar (let them be sure to burn the fat first), even the priest's servant had grown so very imperious that he would either have it now or take it by force, than which there could not be a greater affront to God nor a greater abuse to the people.
The effect was, First, That God was displeased: The sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, v. 17. Nothing is more provoking to God than the profanation of sacred things, and men serving their lusts with the offerings of the Lord. Secondly, That religion suffered by it: Men abhorred the offerings of the Lord. All good men abhorred their management of the offerings, and too many insensibly fell into a contempt of the offerings themselves for their sakes. It was the people's sin to think the worse of God's institutions, but it was the much greater sin of the priests that gave them occasion to do so. Nothing brings a greater reproach upon religion than ministers' covetousness, sensuality, and imperiousness. “
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, PC Study Bible Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All Rights reserved.)
Imperiousness: Arrogantly domineering or overbearing.
Samuel's Childhood Ministry
18 But Samuel ministered before the Lord, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod.
19 Moreover his mother used to make him a little robe, and bring it to him year by year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, "The Lord give you descendants from this woman for the loan that was given to the Lord." Then they would go to their own home. 21 And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the Lord.
Even as a child, Samuel dressed in his identity as a priest of the Lord. And the priest blessed Elkanah and Hannah each time he would see them for the sacrifice they made of their son to the Lord. And for said sacrifice, GOD BROUGHT BLESSING upon Hannah of three sons and two daughters…5 children, the number of GRACE.
Prophecy Against Eli's Household
22 Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 23 So he said to them, "Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. 24 No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the Lord's people transgress. 25 If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the Lord, who will intercede for him?" Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the Lord desired to kill them.
Wow, this is something. The young priests were laying with the women who assembled at the tablernacle door, no doubt seeking advice, and the Lord. So they perverted the priesthood and took advantage of these women in need, and the father rebukes them, but instead of listening, and instead of HIS doing something other than talking, it says they did NOT listen BECAUSE the Lord desired to kill them ! We know from the story of Moses that God can harden hearts like He did with pharaoh. This is so sad, but instead of repenting they continued on in sin, the Lord did not grant them grace, nor did they ask for it. Their hearts were hard. How disgraceful this is for the royal priesthood, to be doing such things, yet today it is still going on. Men perverting their positions, and the character of the Lord, giving the church a bad name through distorting all that is holy, and lying with other men, women and even children.
26 And the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the Lord and men.
27 Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, "Thus says the Lord: 'Did I not clearly reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house? 28 Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to offer upon My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod before Me? And did I not give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire? 29 Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?'
Now Eli gets a warning from a no name prophet, the Lord rebuking him for allowing the sin to go on and on. He brings up the greed, and being more afraid of losing his son’s love, than the Lord’s.
30 Therefore the Lord God of Israel says: 'I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.' But now the Lord says: 'Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father's house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32 And you will see an enemy in My dwelling place, despite all the good which God does for Israel. And there shall not be an old man in your house forever. 33 But any of your men whom I do not cut off from My altar shall consume your eyes and grieve your heart. And all the descendants of your house shall die in the flower of their age.
Another wow judgment word comes from the LORD that Eli’s whole house will be wiped out, all descendents being under a curse, shall die in the flower of their age.
34 Now this shall be a sign to you that will come upon your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die, both of them. 35 Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever. 36 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and say, "Please, put me in one of the priestly positions, that I may eat a piece of bread."'"
The man of God, tells him that both sons will die in a day, and that HE will replace the priesthood with a “FAITHFUL priest who shall do according to what is in MY heart and My mind” When I read this, I suddenly felt it was JESUS that the prophet was talking about, because it says He will have the heart and mind of God, but also all will come and bow down to him, asking for provision. The only provision for the priests was the LORD Himself, and what was given in a portion of the offerings. Then it says He will build him a sure house, and the meaning for house has to do with FAMILY.
The original Hebrew word for sure is AMAN…
OT:539 'aman (aw-man'); a primitive root; properly, to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; figuratively to render (or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe, to be permanent or quiet; morally to be true or certain; once (Isa 30:21; interchangeable with OT:541) to go to the right hand: KJV - hence, assurance, believe, bring up, establish, + fail, be faithful (of long continuance, stedfast, sure, surely, trusty, verified), nurse, (-ing father), (put), trust, turn to the right.
OT:541 'aman (aw-man'); denominative from OT:3225; to take the right hand road:KJV - turn to the right. See OT:539.
Samuel's First Prophecy
3 Now the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.
This is sad but expected in an environment of rebellion that there isn’t much of the WORD of the LORD. It says there was NO widespread revelation. So apparently at other times there had been such.
2 And it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and when his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he could not see, 3 and before the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down, 4 that the Lord called Samuel. And he answered, "Here I am!" 5 So he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." And he said, "I did not call; lie down again." And he went and lay down.
The Lord makes His first call to young Samuel, and he is unfamiliar so he runs to Eli, thinking Eli is calling to him. Often just as we are lying down is when God speaks to us interestingly enough. When we turn away from busyness and work, and just rest it is easier to hear the Lord.
6 Then the Lord called yet again, "Samuel!" So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." He answered, "I did not call, my son; lie down again." 7 (Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.) 8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you did call me." Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, "Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, 'Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.'
Finally Eli figures out what is going on and instructs young Samuel.
" So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel answered, "Speak, for Your servant hears."
11 Then the Lord said to Samuel: "Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them. 14 And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever."
THAT is a heavy duty FIRST prophecy to get as a young man. Imagine being Samuel who’d not heard even the voice of the Lord before and finally he hears for the first time and it is such a hard word. Today, leaders would tell him perhaps that he is being
”too negative” for today people want tintillating words in too many places.
15 So Samuel lay down until morning, and opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision.
Anyone could understand why Samuel would be afraid…
16 Then Eli called Samuel and said, "Samuel, my son!" He answered, "Here I am." 17 And he said, "What is the word that the Lord spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the things that He said to you." 18 Then Samuel told him everything, and hid nothing from him. And he said, "It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him."
Eli encourages him not to hide what the Lord has said, so Samuel coughs it up, but I’m sure it was a hard thing, since Eli had been like a father to him. And yet like Gideon, he had to tear down the idols in His father’s house. Well in this case, just deliver the word that would accomplish it.
19 So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the Lord. 21 Then the Lord appeared again in Shiloh. For the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord.
This is quite a statement, that the Lord let NONE of his words fall to the ground.
The Lord listened to ALL HIS PRAYERS, and executed all the words given him ! And we see as a result that all the people knew Samuel to be a true prophet of God.
The Hebrew word for KNEW means they ascertained by SEEING.
Then it says that the LORD APPEARED again in Shiloh.
OT:7886 Shiyloh (shee-lo'); from OT:7951; tranquil;
Shiloh, an epithet of the Messiah: KJV - Shiloh.
4 And the word of Samuel came to all Israel.
Not only did God see that his words didn’t fall to the ground, but also that his words were distributed so that ALL ISRAEL heard them. So much for self promotion ! It is GOD who gives favor and assures that people hear.
The Ark of God Captured
Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines, and encamped beside Ebenezer; and the Philistines encamped in Aphek. 2 Then the Philistines put themselves in battle array against Israel. And when they joined battle, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men of the army in the field. 3 And when the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, "Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us it may save us from the hand of our enemies." 4 So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who dwells between the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.
Israel goes out to war with the Philistines and 4 thousand are killed. The Elders seem puzzled. That seems astounding considering the circumstances in the temple. So the people get an idea…maybe if we bring the ARK with us, we will win ! hmmm And WHO is with the ark of the Lord ? Eli’s two sons.
5 And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook.
Now that is something that the earth shook at the shouts of all Israel…still reading on…
6 Now when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, "What does the sound of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?" Then they understood that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. 7 So the Philistines were afraid, for they said, "God has come into the camp!" And they said, "Woe to us! For such a thing has never happened before. 8 Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. 9 Be strong and conduct yourselves like men, you Philistines, that you do not become servants of the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Conduct yourselves like men, and fight!"
At the shout of the people the Philistines are scared knowing the stories of Egypts’ defeat they are filled with fear, but they stir themselves up to fight, not knowing GOD had intention to use them to bring judgment on Israel.
10 So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. 11 Also the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.
So now 30,000 are killed, a great defeat for Israel, and not only that but the words the no name prophet spoke are fulfilled and those of Samuel and Eli’s two sons are killed, and the ARK is taken captive by the philistines !
Death of Eli
12 Then a man of Benjamin ran from the battle line the same day, and came to Shiloh with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. 13 Now when he came, there was Eli, sitting on a seat by the wayside watching, for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city and told it, all the city cried out. 14 When Eli heard the noise of the outcry, he said, "What does the sound of this tumult mean?" And the man came quickly and told Eli. 15 Eli was ninety-eight years old, and his eyes were so dim that he could not see.
16 Then the man said to Eli, "I am he who came from the battle. And I fled today from the battle line." And he said, "What happened, my son?" 17 So the messenger answered and said, "Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has been a great slaughter among the people. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead; and the ark of God has been captured." 18 Then it happened, when he made mention of the ark of God, that Eli fell off the seat backward by the side of the gate; and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.
Eli’s heart trembled it says for the ark of the Lord. Do you suppose he was especially concerned, knowing that God was angry with him ? Imagine the anxiety that may have caused him. Then the messenger comes to share the bad news, and all Israel is upset to hear the ark had been captured by the Philistines. Then he finds out his two sons have been killed, and ark captured, Eli fell off the seat, not a normal consequence occurs, but his neck is broken, and he died. He had JUDGED Israel for 40 years. 40 is the number for trials and testings. Nothing is by accident in the bible. God is patient with us, but His patience had been tested fully by these sons of Eli, and they didn’t pass the test & their father is also now removed from his position for he did not restrain them.
19 Now his daughter-in-law, Phinehas' wife, was with child, due to be delivered; and when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and gave birth, for her labor pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women who stood by her said to her, "Do not fear, for you have borne a son." But she did not answer, nor did she regard it. 21 Then she named the child Ichabod, saying, "The glory has departed from Israel!" because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, "The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured."
There are people in the church today, who are unable to recognize that the GLORY of the Lord has departed from them. For the GLORY of God should be the norm in those that worship Him. But when sin has consumed the camp, there is no presence of God.
The glory DEPARTS.
GOD IS GRACIOUS we know. And His mercy endures forever, but we should not TAKE FOR GRANTED HIS GRACE and PATIENCE with us. He judges the HEART, so we know that when He brings judgment, it is often because He has sent many messengers to warn and speak, yet they were not heeded.
PRAISE GOD for the blood of JESUS, because we do not live in Old Testament grace, but NEW TESTAMENT GRACE. God allowed Peter to fail again and again and still LOVED HIM, and gave him grace to endure a tortuous death in the end.
Paul had GREAT grace on his life, for he had been religious and murderous, yet was turned into a firebrand by the LORD. IT WAS THE LORD’s DOING not Paul’s. IT is GOD Who gives grace for us to be able to DO anything, to obey, to worship, to study, to pray, etc. So if we are anything at all it is because of HIM, not our efforts. APART from HIM, we can do NOTHING.
This is how we know that those who were judged here did NOT prevail upon the Lord for His grace and mercy. We see that though DAVID made many mistakes, yet he had a humble heart to seek the LORD, knowing his weaknesses. So though he endured consequences, he was favored because HE SOUGHT THE LORD’s FACE. GOD is not unjust. We are led away by our own desires James told us. YET GOD WHO IS LOVE, has greater grace for those of us who BELIEVE in the sacrifice made by His Son, and who live in GRACE, not under the law. This story is a testimony to the destruction that idolatry and rebellion to God’s ways brings to our lives, and the unnecessary destruction that comes into our lives if we do not heed HIS VOICE or seek His face.