Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Sep 30 2011 - E100.31b – 1 Samuel 2:12-36, Eli's family rejected

Eli the priest was responsible for the worship at the Tabernacle but seems to have delegated much of the day-to-day work to his sons whom he expected to succeed him in the work. But his two sons, Hophni and Phineas, were intent on serving themselves rather than the Lord – or those who came to worship. They took by force the best parts of the animals brought for sacrifice and slept with the women who helped with the work of the Tabernacle. Their conduct seems to have been modelled more on that of the priests of Baal that the Law of God. Eli rebuked them for their wickedness but they took no notice of his words.

Meanwhile, Samuel "continued to grow in stature and in favour with the LORD and with men" (1 Samuel 2:26).

The Lord sent a prophet to Eli to tell him that because of the behaviour of his sons, judgment will fall upon his whole family; "Those who honour me I will honour, but those who despise me will be disdained" (12:30). It is telling that the judgment is pronounced against Eli; he is held responsible for the conduct of his sons. The sign that God will fulfil all that he has spoken will be that Hophni and Phineas will die on the same day.

But God's purpose will not be defeated; his enigmatic promise through his prophet is, "I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his house, and he will minister before my anointed one always" (2:35). Ultimately, God's faithful priest and his anointed are one and the same; Jesus Christ is our faithful High Priest who offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins and lives for ever to build the house(hold) of God.

Holy Father, thank you that the punishment our sins deserved fell in all its force on Jesus. Thank you that he is our Great High Priest who ever lives to intercede for us. Thank you that he is the Christ, your anointed one, whose kingdom shall increase and never end. Help us so to follow him that we may grow in grace and rejoice in your favour.

Peter Misselbrook