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1 Samuel 2:12-26

Context
Eli’s Sons Misuse Their Sacred Office

2:12 The sons of Eli were wicked men. 1  They did not recognize the Lord’s authority. 2  2:13 Now the priests would always treat the people in the following way: 3  Whenever anyone was making a sacrifice, while the meat was boiling, the priest’s attendant would come with a three-pronged fork 4  in his hand. 2:14 He would jab it into the basin, kettle, caldron, or pot, and everything that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they used to do to all the Israelites 5  when they came there to Shiloh.

2:15 Even before they burned the fat, the priest’s attendant would come and say to the person who was making the sacrifice, “Hand over some meat for the priest to roast! He won’t take boiled meat from you, but only raw.” 6  2:16 If the individual said to him, “First let the fat be burned away, and then take for yourself whatever you wish,” he would say, “No! 7  Hand it over right now! If you don’t, I will take it forcibly!”

2:17 The sin of these young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they 8  treated the Lord’s offering with contempt.

2:18 Now Samuel was ministering before the Lord. The boy was dressed in a linen ephod. 2:19 His mother used to make him a small robe and bring it up to him at regular intervals when she would go up with her husband to make the annual sacrifice. 2:20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife saying, “May the Lord raise up for you descendants 9  from this woman to replace the one that she 10  dedicated to the Lord.” Then they would go to their 11  home. 2:21 So the Lord graciously attended to Hannah, and she was able to conceive and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. The boy Samuel grew up at the Lord’s sanctuary. 12 

2:22 Now Eli was very old when he heard about everything that his sons used to do to all the people of Israel 13  and how they used to have sex with 14  the women who were stationed at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 2:23 He said to them, “Why do you behave in this way? For I hear about these evil things from all these 15  people. 2:24 This ought not to be, 16  my sons! For the report that I hear circulating among the Lord’s people is not good. 2:25 If a man sins against a man, one may appeal to God on his behalf. But if a man sins against the Lord, who then will intercede for him?” But Eli’s sons 17  would not listen to their father, for the Lord had decided 18  to kill them.

2:26 Now the boy Samuel was growing up and finding favor both with the Lord and with people.

1 tn Heb “sons of worthlessness.”

2 tn Heb “they did not know the Lord.” The verb here has the semantic nuance “recognize the authority of.” Eli’s sons obviously knew who the Lord was; they served in his sanctuary. But they did not recognize his moral authority.

3 tn Heb “the habit of the priests with the people [was this].”

4 sn The Hebrew word occurs only twice in the OT, here and again in v. 14. Its exact meaning is not entirely clear, although from the context it appears to be a sacrificial tool used for retrieving things from boiling water.

5 tn Heb “to all Israel.”

6 tn Heb “living.”

7 tc The translation follows the Qere and many medieval Hebrew mss (“no”) rather than the Kethib and MT, which read “to him.”

8 tc Heb “the men,” which is absent from one medieval Hebrew ms, a Qumran ms, and the LXX.

9 tn Heb “seed.”

10 tn The MT has a masculine verb here, but in light of the context the reference must be to Hannah. It is possible that the text of the MT is incorrect here (cf. the ancient versions), in which case the text should be changed to read either a passive participle or better, the third feminine singular of the verb. If the MT is correct here, perhaps the masculine is to be understood in a nonspecific and impersonal way, allowing for a feminine antecedent. In any case, the syntax of the MT is unusual here.

11 tn Heb “his.”

12 tn Heb “with the Lord.” Cf. NAB, TEV “in the service of the Lord”; NIV, NRSV, NLT “in the presence of the Lord”; CEV “at the Lord’s house in Shiloh.”

13 tn Heb “to all Israel.”

14 tn Heb “lie with.”

15 tc For “these” the LXX has “of the Lord” (κυρίου, kuriou), perhaps through the influence of the final phrase of v. 24 (“the people of the Lord”). Somewhat less likely is the view that the MT reading is due to a distorted dittography of the first word of v. 24. The Vulgate lacks the word.

16 tn Heb “no.”

17 tn Heb “they”; the referent (Eli’s sons) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

18 tn Heb “desired.”



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