Saturday after the Fourth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Samuel 2:18-36 (NKJV)
18 But Samuel ministered before the LORD, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod. 19 Moreover his mother used to make him a little robe, and bring it to him year by year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “The LORD give you descendants from this woman for the loan that was given to the LORD.” Then they would go to their own home. 21 And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the LORD.
22 Now 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. 23 So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. 24 No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the LORD’s people transgress. 25 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, because the LORD desired to kill them. 26 And the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the LORD and men.
27 Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Did I not clearly reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house? 28 Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to offer upon My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod before Me? And did I not give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire? 29 Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’ 30 Therefore the LORD God of Israel says: ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the LORD says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32 And you will see an enemy in My dwelling place, despite all the good which God does for Israel. And there shall not be an old man in your house forever. 33 But any of your men whom I do not cut off from My altar shall consume your eyes and grieve your heart. And all the descendants of your house shall die in the flower of their age. 34 Now this shall be a sign to you that will come upon your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die, both of them. 35 Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever. 36 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and say, “Please, put me in one of the priestly positions, that I may eat a piece of bread.”‘”
In 1 Samuel 2 we see a contrast portrayed. The faithful service of Samuel is contrasted with the unfaithful service of Eli’s sons, Phinehas and Hophni. Samuel “grew in stature, and in favor both with the Lord and men.” Phinehas and Hophni, on the other hand, had a prophecy of their death due to their unfaithful service to the Lord.
What is the difference between Samuel and Eli’s sons? Phinehas and Hophni were greedy. They took what was not theirs by right and were only concerned with serving themselves, and not God. Samuel, on the other hand, served God. Even his name reflects his service—Samuel means “His Name is God.” Hannah named him this as a testimony to Who her God is, and Samuel was truly Hannah’s son, for he possessed the same faith that she had shown.
As corrupt as Phinehas and Hophni are, Eli is not without fault, which is why the prophecy is given to him and includes his whole household. Eli knew about his sons’ corruption and did nothing to stop it. And so, in Eli and his sons we see both sides of the Fourth Commandment being broken; Phinehas and Hophni for not honoring their father, and Eli for allowing his sons to be wicked and undisciplined.
This is why Samuel stands in contrast to the corruption of Eli’s sons. Samuel is the image of the one true Priest, Who atones for the sins of the whole world, our Lord Jesus. Christ is faithful where we are unfaithful, and redeems us with His obedience to the Law, and with His death.