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1 Samuel 2:11-36

Context

2:11 Then Elkanah went back home to Ramah. But the boy was serving the Lord under the supervision of 1  Eli the priest.

Eli’s Sons Misuse Their Sacred Office

2:12 The sons of Eli were wicked men. 2  They did not recognize the Lord’s authority. 3  2:13 Now the priests would always treat the people in the following way: 4  Whenever anyone was making a sacrifice, while the meat was boiling, the priest’s attendant would come with a three-pronged fork 5  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 6  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.” 7  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! 8  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 9  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 10  from this woman to replace the one that she 11  dedicated to the Lord.” Then they would go to their 12  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. 13 

2:22 Now Eli was very old when he heard about everything that his sons used to do to all the people of Israel 14  and how they used to have sex with 15  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 16  people. 2:24 This ought not to be, 17  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 18  would not listen to their father, for the Lord had decided 19  to kill them.

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

The Lord Judges the House of Eli

2:27 A man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Did I not plainly 20  reveal myself to your ancestor’s 21  house when they were in Egypt in the house of Pharaoh? 2:28 I chose your ancestor 22  from all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer sacrifice on my altar, to burn incense, and to bear the ephod before me. I gave to your ancestor’s house all the fire offerings made by the Israelites. 2:29 Why are you 23  scorning my sacrifice and my offering that I commanded for my dwelling place? 24  You have honored your sons more than you have me by having made yourselves fat from the best parts of all the offerings of my people Israel.’

2:30 Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘I really did say 25  that your house and your ancestor’s house would serve 26  me forever.’ But now the Lord says, ‘May it never be! 27  For I will honor those who honor me, but those who despise me will be cursed! 2:31 In fact, days are coming when I will remove your strength 28  and the strength 29  of your father’s house. There will not be an old man in your house! 2:32 You will see trouble in my dwelling place! 30  Israel will experience blessings, 31  but there will not be an old man in your 32  house for all time. 33  2:33 Any one of you that I do not cut off from my altar, I will cause your 34  eyes to fail 35  and will cause you grief. 36  All of those born to your family 37  will die in the prime of life. 38  2:34 This will be a confirming sign for you that will be fulfilled through your two sons, 39  Hophni and Phinehas: in a single day they both will die! 2:35 Then I will raise up for myself a faithful priest. He will do what is in my heart and soul. I will build for him a secure dynasty 40  and he will serve my chosen one for all time. 41  2:36 Everyone who remains in your house will come to bow before him for a little money 42  and for a scrap of bread. Each will say, ‘Assign me to a priestly task so I can eat a scrap of bread.’”

1 tn Heb “with [or “before”] the face of.”

2 tn Heb “sons of worthlessness.”

3 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.

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

5 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.

6 tn Heb “to all Israel.”

7 tn Heb “living.”

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

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

10 tn Heb “seed.”

11 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.

12 tn Heb “his.”

13 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.”

14 tn Heb “to all Israel.”

15 tn Heb “lie with.”

16 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.

17 tn Heb “no.”

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

19 tn Heb “desired.”

20 tn The infinitive absolute appears before the finite verb for emphasis.

21 tn Heb “to your father’s” (also in vv. 28, 30).

22 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Eli’s ancestor, i.e., Aaron) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

23 tc The MT has a plural “you” here, but the LXX and a Qumran ms have the singular. The singular may be the correct reading; the verb “you have honored” later in the verse is singular even in the MT. However, it is more probable that the Lord here refers to Eli and his sons. Note the plural in the second half of the verse (“you have made yourselves fat”).

24 tn Heb “which I commanded, dwelling place.” The noun is functioning as an adverbial accusative in relation to the verb. Since God’s dwelling place/sanctuary is in view, the pronoun “my” is supplied in the translation.

25 tn The infinitive absolute appears before the finite verb for emphasis.

26 tn Heb “walk about before.”

27 tn Heb “may it be far removed from me.”

28 tn Heb “chop off your arm.” The arm here symbolizes strength and activity.

29 tn Heb “arm.”

30 tn Heb “you will see [the] trouble of [the] dwelling place.” Since God’s dwelling place/sanctuary is in view, the pronoun is supplied in the translation (see v. 29).

31 tn Heb “in all which he does good with Israel.”

32 tc The LXX and a Qumran manuscript have the first person pronoun “my” here.

33 tn Heb “all the days.”

34 tc The LXX, a Qumran ms, and a few old Latin mss have the third person pronominal suffix “his” here.

35 tn Heb “to cause your eyes to fail.” Elsewhere this verb, when used of eyes, refers to bloodshot eyes resulting from weeping, prolonged staring, or illness (see Lev 26:16; Pss 69:3; 119:82; Lam 2:11; 4:17).

36 tn Heb “and to cause your soul grief.”

37 tn Heb “and all the increase of your house.”

38 tc The text is difficult. The MT literally says “they will die [as] men.” Apparently the meaning is that they will be cut off in the prime of their life without reaching old age. The LXX and a Qumran ms, however, have the additional word “sword” (“they will die by the sword of men”). This is an easier reading (cf. NAB, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT), but that fact is not in favor of its originality.

39 tn Heb “and this to you [is] the sign which will come to both of your sons.”

40 tn Heb “house.”

41 tn Heb “and he will walk about before my anointed one all the days.”

42 tn Heb “a piece of silver” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).



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