2 And Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the LORD;
my horn is exalted in the LORD.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.
“There is none holy like the LORD:
for there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the LORD is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble bind on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
The LORD kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low and he exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s,
and on them he has set the world.
“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness,
for not by might shall a man prevail.
The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces;
against them he will thunder in heaven.
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.”
Then Elkanah went home to Ramah. And the boy was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli the priest.
Eli’s Worthless Sons
Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the LORD. The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, and he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot. All that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw.” And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.” Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the LORD, for the men treated the offering of the LORD with contempt.
Samuel was ministering before the LORD, a boy clothed with a linen ephod. And his mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “May the LORD give you children by this woman for the petition she asked of the LORD.” So then they would return to their home.
Indeed the LORD visited Hannah, and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew in the presence of the LORD.
Eli Rebukes His Sons
Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting. And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the LORD spreading abroad. If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the LORD to put them to death.
Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the LORD and also with man.
The Lord Rejects Eli’s Household
And there came a man of God to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Did I indeed reveal myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt subject to the house of Pharaoh? Did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? I gave to the house of your father all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel. Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded for my dwelling, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’ Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. Then in distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed on Israel, and there shall not be an old man in your house forever. The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his eyes out to grieve his heart, and all the descendants of your house shall die by the sword of men. And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day. And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever. And everyone who is left in your house shall come to implore him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread and shall say, “Please put me in one of the priests’ places, that I may eat a morsel of bread.”’”
1 Samuel 2 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“God knows what’s going on. He takes the measure of everything that happens.”1 Samuel 2:3 MSG
Hannah sings praise to God for hearing her heart cry. He’s seen her affliction, her struggle and now feels vindicated on every level knowing God has answered her prayer. The song is a beautiful testimony to the attentiveness of God.
He is attentive to your need as well. He knows the measure of your day, the hours that pass in struggle and wandering. He sees all the hardship and joy that it’s laced with. He is all-powerful and all-knowing. It’s the knowing part though that may cause us to pause or shudder a bit, right? Yes, He knows all these things and will work His plan despite.
What this chapter does is reveal the world of which Samuel was born into, grew in wisdom and stature, and what task God had ordained. It also shows the depth of overhaul Samuel would be required to do when he was of age in bringing the people back to a holy reverence of God. Not only is the nation of Israel a mess, so is His Temple. Eli the priest is old in age and his sons are priests as well. They are corrupt and sinful on many levels.
The New American Standard Version states they ‘are worthless.’ They’ve gotten away with many things for years and their behavior is shockingly known throughout the area, but nothing was done. Although they have skated pretty freely in their sin, God reveals he is about to bring these men down. They don’t respect God in his Law. They don’t respect their role and calling.
They don’t respect their father who after confronting them, pay no attention. A nameless man comes to Eli speaking for the Lord that not only will these men be killed on the same day in the prime of their lives, but the offices his family has held will be ripped from him, grief and sorrow will pierce and be inescapable, and He is raising up another who will be one after His heart.
As Hannah sang “God knows what’s going on”, her words speak toward not only her own life but it tells His attentiveness to everything happening within people. Verse 30 God states, “Those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed.”
The sobering reality is God sees all. He may not act as fast as we would like in situations but that’s His grace. But He does know everything that is going on and will indeed act and move in the positive (Hannah’s situation) and the negative (the sons of Eli) when His timing is right.
1 Samuel 2 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The book of 1 Samuel is interesting because it transitions from a time of judges into a political and religious monarchy. As Hank has written, we get a picture of the time period in which Samuel grew up. The people were functioning during an era where the layperson knew more about God than the priests did. Think about that!
Eli’s sons were called worthless which literally means “sons of Belial.” The Old Testament uses Belial as a personification of evil, but in the New Testament, the phrase is used to describe Satan!
Eli’s sons were supposed to be priests. They were expected to know the laws and rituals that brought people closer to God. However, they took advantage of their authority and used it for selfish gain. They took any part of the meat from sacrifices that they pleased without consecrating it before the Lord. If anyone opposed them, they would take it by force. They also engaged in immoral acts with the women at the tabernacle.
The fascinating thing to consider is that there are many leaders in ministry today doing the same thing. Being puffed up with pride, they use their authority to take advantage of others and serve themselves. We must be careful that we do not slip into the same mindset.
When we begin to go through the motions and lose the personal conviction of a relationship with God, we too are susceptible to such behavior. The sons of Eli were performing the duties of God without a knowledge of God. They had no love for him because their actions proved otherwise. Does this describe you? Are you doing through the motions of religion without experiencing the richness of a relationship with Jesus?