The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), April 9
- His sons are unregenerate. They are “corrupt; they did not know the LORD” (1 Sam. 2:12).
- His sons use the ministry for personal gain. They scorn the LORD’s sacrifice and offering by making “yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people” (2:29). Instead of burning the choice parts upon the altar, they keep those parts for themselves. They violate the instructions given to the Levites in Leviticus 3:3-5 and dishonor the LORD before Israel (1 Sam. 2:30).
- His sons use the ministry to take advantage of women. They “lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting” (2:22).
- His sons ignore the rebukes of their father, “No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the LORD’s people transgress. 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” (2:24-25).
- His sons misrepresent the ark of the covenant by permitting the Israelites to take it into battle against the Philistines: “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 land of our enemies” (4:3). Israel loses this battle as well as the ark of the covenant; it is captured by the Philistines and remains among them for seven months.
This trend of corrupt priests continues during the following generation, when Samuel’s sons become priests. The Israelites use this to justify their request for a king like the peoples around them (8:1-4).
Sadly, even in our day unregenerate men serve in the ministry. They may be identified by their use of the ministry for financial gain, for power over others, and for sexual immorality. They resist accountability and manufacture substitutes for the presence of God. Though they may preach with persuasive words to large audiences, they manifest neither the power of God nor the fruit of His Holy Spirit. God’s men honor God in their money, their marriages, and their servants’ hearts for ministry.
Questions from today’s reading (1 Samuel 1:9-4:11):
What does Eli’s initial response to Hannah reveal about his spiritual state and the spiritual state of the Levites?
What does Hannah’s prayer reveal about her view of God?
How does the LORD distinguish Samuel from Eli? What does this reveal about those to whom God commits Himself?