1 Samuel 2:11 – 3:14

by | Nov 29, 2023 | 1 Samuel, Old Testament


NLT– and the child grew up in the presence of the Lord.
In some ways that were appropriate for his age, Samuel helped Eli at the Tabernacle of meeting.
Perhaps lighting lamps, playing musical instruments, sweeping and cleaning, etc.


Literally– Sons of Belial, sons of destruction, wickedness, worthlessness.

The priesthood was passed on from father to son.
Eli passed on the position of priest, but he didn’t teach his sons the ways of God.

It is amazing that many people in the ministry today do not know the ways of the Lord.
They simply choose the ministry as a career, and have no sense of calling from God.
They are many times not very familiar with God’s word, or may be nearly Biblically illiterate.
They teach the ideas and doctrines of man, or of their church tradition.
Many times, there is very little or nothing about Jesus Christ contained in their messages or programs.
Many churches turn out to be little more than social service organizations.


God had made provision for the priests to live off of the offerings brought by the people, but their portion was specified by God.

Lev. 7:28-34 28Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 29“Speak to the children of Israel, saying: “He who offers the sacrifice of his peace offering to the LORD shall bring his offering to the LORD from the sacrifice of his peace offering. 30 His own hands shall bring the offerings made by fire to the LORD. The fat with the breast he shall bring, that the breast may be waved as a wave offering before the LORD. 31And the priest shall burn the fat on the altar, but the breast shall be Aaron’s and his sons’. 32Also the right thigh you shall give to the priest as a heave offering from the sacrifices of your peace offerings. 33 He among the sons of Aaron, who offers the blood of the peace offering and the fat, shall have the right thigh for his part. 34 For the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offering I have taken from the children of Israel, from the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and I have given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons from the children of Israel by a statute forever.”‘

From the thank offering, they were supposed to get their portion, after the fat was burnt to God, but they wanted to take more from God and from the people.

The law was specific – the priests were to receive the breast and the right thigh.
But the sons of Eli sent their servants to take portions of the sacrificial meat while it was boiling.

Some of the offerings required that the worshipped first wave a portion before the Lord, to firstly acknowledge God before either the priest or the worshipper received their portion.

Also, you may recall, fat was forbidden to eat – it was only for sacrifice.
Lev. 3:16-17 “And the priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar {as} food, an offering by fire for a soothing aroma; all fat is the LORDS. It is a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall not eat any fat or any blood.”

But again, the sons of Eli were wicked.
They sent their servants to take the sacrificial meat raw, along with the fat.
They strong-armed them into submission.
It is interesting that Hophni’s name means, “pugilist,” (pyoo-jul-ist) or “boxer” in our terms.
He could certainly resort to violence to get his way.

This is of course opposite to the way that God has taught us to minister.
1Pet. 5:2-3 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to {the will of} God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.

The result was that the Jewish people hated going to make offerings to the Lord.
Corrupt ministers and corrupt servants of God create an environment that is undesirable for God’s people.
Because of selfishness, the sons of Eli kept people from God instead of leading people to God.
Abuses in ministry keep people away from God.

Selfishness among God’s servants comes in many forms, but the basic components are always the same.

1 John 2:15-17 15Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. 17And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Turn to Ezekiel 34. God places a big responsibility upon is shepherds.
Dads, moms, teachers…be good shepherds.
If you feel called to ministry in any way, be a good shepherd.


The linen ephod shows that Samuel was being prepared for the priesthood.
Samuel was probably in the elementary school age group, and yet he helped minister in the very house of God.
We should not think that kids cannot serve God from a very young age, because they can.


God greatly blessed Hannah and Elkanah for their gift of Samuel to the Lord.
These godly parents continued to worship the Lord in a regular fashion.
Hannah brought new clothes for Samuel each year.


22Now 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.

These were women who lived humbly before the Lord and served the Lord in general duties at the tabernacle. We see this same office of women during the time of Jesus.

Luke 2:36, 37  36Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years,[i] who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
The sons of Eli committed fornication with these women had the intention of serving God. There was no fear of God in the hearts of these men. Proverbs 16:6 And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil.


The sins of Eli’s sons were well known, even to Eli.
He rebuked them but never took strong enough action to stop what they were doing.
Eli was not a strong and godly father His words were right, but he did take appropriate action.
He should have removed his sons from the priesthood.

V. 24 The priests were making the people sin. They were supposed to help the people bring offerings for their sins, but instead led them into sin.
V. 25– It is always bad when one man sins against another. But there is a different offense when one sins directly against the Lord, and especially in the things pertaining to ministry. The Lord desired to kill them. Because…
2:26 Samuel stands in such contrast to the sons of Eli. He is living rightly before God and before man.

2:27, 28

This man is speaking about Aaron being chosen as priest.
This un-named prophet is reminding Eli that God had graciously chosen Aaron and his lineage to be priests in the Tabernacle of God.
He also reminds him that God had promised to provide all that the priests needed in order to survive.

One of the things that happens is that we forget our humble beginnings.
We forget that God graciously offered us salvation, and then calls and equips us to serve Him.
We begin to think that our place of ministry s all for us, & all about us, and what we can get out of it.

Ministry isn’t for us or about us.
It is for and about Jesus Christ.

When we forget that it is a privilege to serve God, we then begin to think that ministry and people exist to serve us, and we become self focused in our service to God.

Earlier in Israel’s history, Aaron’s two oldest sons were killed by God for their disobedience in bringing profane fire before the Lord.
Those sons were name Nadab and Abihu.

The sons that remained were Eleazar and Ithamar.
Eli was a descendant of Ithamar.

Because of Eli’s sins, and the sins of his sons, the family of Ithamar would no longer be allowed to be in the priesthood, and all the priestly duties would fall to the family of Eleazar.

The cutting off of Eli’s family from priesthood would happen under the reign of Solomon.
At this point, the High Priesthood stopped bouncing back and forth from Eleazar’s and Ithamar’s lines and stayed with Eleazar, with Zadok being named the High Priest.


This is a strong rebuke.
Eli honored his sons more than he honored God. Even though Eli knew that his sons were wrong, and rebuked them for it, he was still willing to eat the meat that they took, and he made himself fat doing it. (Chapter 4:18)

How many pastors treat themselves instead of serving the people? How many fathers like being the head of the family in order to indulge themselves?


V. 32- (1 Sam 2:32 NIV) and you will see distress in my dwelling

2:33, 34

God pronounces judgment upon the house of Eli, and upon his lineage. He would not have a family that would continue on in the ministry of the priesthood. We will see the death of Hophni and Phinehas in Chapter 4.

2:35, 36

The position and privilege that should have been theirs was lost. They lost their place of service because they were disobedient to God and self-serving.


KJV1And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious (rare) in those days; there was no open vision.

Open vision– to be able to break through with a fresh revelation.
If this is overlapping the time of the Judges, we know that everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes.

It’s often not that God isn’t speaking, or doesn’t want to speak.
It is often the case that people aren’t interested in listening.


Samuel- Shama-el- “hearing God”
This is a wonderful description of the posture of a servant of God.
To be listening is what we need to be doing.

John 16:12-15 12“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.


Eli and his family are permanently disqualified from the priesthood.
That exalted position that was given to them has now been taken away.
The sons failed in their open disregard for God and His law.
Eli failed because he did not restrain his sons.

(1 Cor 9:24-27 NLT) Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win. 25 All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.