1 Samuel 2:12-36
New English Translation
12 But the sons of Eli were wicked men.[a] They did not acknowledge the Lord’s authority.[b] 13 This was the priests’ routine with the people. Whenever anyone was making a sacrifice,[c] the priest’s attendant would come with a three-pronged fork[d] in his hand, just as the meat was boiling. 14 He would jab it into the basin, kettle, cauldron, or pot. Everything that the fork would bring up the priest would take for himself. This is how they used to treat all the Israelites[e] who came there[f] to Shiloh.
15 Also, before they burned the fat the priest’s attendant would come and say to the person who was making the sacrifice, “Give some meat for the priest to roast! He[g] won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.”[h] 16 If[i] the individual said to him, “They should certainly burn[j] the fat away first, then take for yourself[k] whatever you wish,”[l] then he would say, “No![m] Give it now! If not, I’ll take it by force!”[n] 17 The sin of these young men[o] was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they[p] treated the Lord’s offering with contempt.
18 Now[q] Samuel was ministering with the favor of the Lord.[r] The boy[s] was dressed in a linen ephod. 19 His mother used to make him a small robe and bring it to him from time to time when she would go up with her husband to make the annual sacrifice. 20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife saying, “May the Lord establish[t] descendants[u] for you from this woman in place of the one that she dedicated[v] to the Lord.” Then they[w] would go to their[x] home. 21 And indeed the Lord attended to[y] Hannah. She got pregnant and gave birth to[z] three sons and two daughters. But the boy[aa] Samuel grew up before the Lord.[ab]
22 Eli was very old. And he would hear about everything that his sons used to do to all the people of Israel[ac] and[ad] how they used to go to bed with[ae] the women who were stationed at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 So he said to them, “Why do you do these things, these evil things that I hear about from all these people?[af] 24 No, my sons! For the report that I hear circulating[ag] among the Lord’s people is not good. 25 If a man sins against a man, one may appeal to God on his behalf.[ah] But if a man sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But Eli’s sons[ai] would not listen to their father.[aj] Indeed[ak] the Lord had decided[al] to kill them. 26 However, the boy[am] Samuel was growing up and finding favor both with the Lord and with people.[an]
The Lord Judges the House of Eli
27 Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘I plainly[ao] revealed[ap] myself to your ancestor’s house when they were slaves to the house of Pharaoh in Egypt.[aq] 28 I chose[ar] your ancestor[as] from all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer sacrifice on my altar, to burn incense, and to bear[at] the ephod before me. I gave to your ancestor’s house all the fire offerings made by the Israelites. 29 Why are you[au] scorning my sacrifice and my offering that I commanded for my dwelling place?[av] 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.’
30 “Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘I really did say[aw] that your house and your ancestor’s house would serve[ax] me forever.’ But now the Lord says, ‘May it never be![ay] For I will honor those who honor me, but those who despise me will be cursed! 31 In fact, days are coming when I will remove your strength[az] and the strength[ba] of your father’s house. There will not be an old man in your house! 32 You will see trouble in my dwelling place![bb] Israel will experience blessings,[bc] but there will not be an old man in your[bd] house for all time.[be] 33 Any man of yours that I do not cut off from my altar, I will cause his[bf] eyes to fail[bg] and will cause him grief.[bh] All those born to your family[bi] will die by the sword of man.[bj] 34 This will be a confirming sign for you that will be fulfilled through your two sons,[bk] Hophni and Phinehas: in a single day they both will die! 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 lasting dynasty,[bl] and he will serve my chosen one for all time.[bm] 36 Everyone who remains in your house will come to bow before him for a little money[bn] and for a scrap of bread. Each will say, “Assign me to a priestly task so I can eat a scrap of bread.”’”Read full chapter
- 1 Samuel 2:12 tn Heb “sons of worthlessness.”
- 1 Samuel 2:12 tn Heb “they did not know the Lord.” The verb here has the semantic nuance “acknowledge [the authority of].” Eli’s sons obviously knew who the Lord was; they served in his sanctuary. But they did not acknowledge his moral authority.
- 1 Samuel 2:13 tc The LXX reads “As to the right of the priests from the people, [from] anyone sacrificing.”
- 1 Samuel 2:13 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.
- 1 Samuel 2:14 tn Heb “everyone of Israel.”
- 1 Samuel 2:14 tc The LXX reads “who came to sacrifice at Shiloh.”
- 1 Samuel 2:15 tc LXX “I.”
- 1 Samuel 2:15 tn Heb “living.”
- 1 Samuel 2:16 tn The Hebrew has a preterite verb, normally “and then he said.” In this case it gives the next event in a sequence that is modal and describes something typical in past time. Most English translations add “if” because this is a possible and common scenario rather than a specific incident only.
- 1 Samuel 2:16 tc The construction is a Piel infinitive absolute followed by a Hiphil imperfect, the only case of such syntax. Normally the infinitive absolute agrees with the verbal stem of the main verb, or sometimes is Qal when the main verb is not. The LXX renders in the passive voice, “the fat should be burned,” probably interpreting the consonants of these verbs as Pual forms.
- 1 Samuel 2:16 tc The LXX adds “from any.”
- 1 Samuel 2:16 tn Heb “whatever your soul desires.”
- 1 Samuel 2:16 tc The translation follows the Qere and many medieval Hebrew mss (“no”) rather than the MT’s Kethib, which reads “to him.”
- 1 Samuel 2:16 tc The Qumran text, 4QSama, reads “you must give and I will take by force.” 4QSama continues with a text similar to vss 13-14, in which the priest’s servant describes stabbing the trident into the pot to take whatever would come up. Either this repetition was original and the MT and LXX eliminated the redundancy, or the tradition behind the Qumran scroll may have read these elements in a different order than the MT and LXX and then added the material to the earlier location (matching the MT and LXX) resulting in the repetition. See Graeme Auld, I & II Samuel (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011) 44-45.
- 1 Samuel 2:17 tn The term נַעַר (naʿar), here translated “young men,” often refers to a servant or apprentice in line for a position of authority. The same term describes Samuel in vs 11 and 18. The repetition helps establish the contrast between Samuel and Eli’s sons.
- 1 Samuel 2:17 tc Heb “the men,” which is absent from one medieval Hebrew ms, a Qumran ms, and the LXX.
- 1 Samuel 2:18 tn The word “now” does not appear in the Hebrew but was added as part of beginning a new topic in a new paragraph. Verse 11b begins similarly.
- 1 Samuel 2:18 tn Heb “with [or “before”] the face of.” Cf. 1 Sam 2:11 and 1 Kgs 13:6 where the face represents favor.
- 1 Samuel 2:18 tn The term נַעַר (naʿar), here translated “boy,” often refers to a servant or apprentice in line for a position of authority. The same term describes Samuel in vs 11 and Eli’s sons in vs 17. The repetition helps establish the contrast between Samuel and Eli’s sons.
- 1 Samuel 2:20 tn The Hebrew verb שִׂים (sim) means “to position, to set down, to set up, to install.”
- 1 Samuel 2:20 tn Heb “seed.”
- 1 Samuel 2:20 tc The MT reads “in place of the request which he asked of the Lord.” The LXX reads “in place of the loan which you lent to the Lord.” At Qumran 4QSama has the Hiphil form of שָׁאַל (shaʾal), “which she loaned (or entrusted) to the Lord” (cf. 1:28). The masculine verb in the MT is odd, since the context expects Hannah to be the subject. A masculine form would need to be read impersonally or repointed as a passive. The translation most closely follows 4QSama and understands the “request” to be Samuel, the requested one. A longer English translation would be “in place of the one which was requested which she dedicated to the Lord.”
- 1 Samuel 2:20 tc LXX “the man.”
- 1 Samuel 2:20 tn Heb “his.”
- 1 Samuel 2:21 tn The core component of Hebrew verb פָּקַד (paqad) is “to take note of.” But it also carries the implication of acting accordingly with what is noted. When the syntax combines the Qal of פָּקַד (paqad) plus a direct object which is a person, plus contextually stated benefits, the verb regularly describes assisting or providing for someone (Brian Webster, The Cambridge Introduction to Biblical Hebrew [New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009] 230). The same verb is used to describe enabling Sara to have Isaac in Gen 21:1.
- 1 Samuel 2:21 tn Presumably in successive pregnancies, not as quintuplets.
- 1 Samuel 2:21 tn The term נַעַר (naʿar), here translated “boy,” often refers to a servant or apprentice in line for a position of authority. tc At Qumran 4QSama omits “the boy” and reads “he grew up there.” The Hebrew word “there” (שָׁם; sham) consists of the first two letters of Samuel’s name.
- 1 Samuel 2:21 tc The MT reads “with the Lord.” The LXX and 4QSama read “before the Lord.” The Hebrew phrasing “with (עִם; ʾim) the Lord” or “with God” is uncommon and varies in significance. The preposition indicates generally that the action in the verb is done in association with the preposition’s object. From context we understand that Samuel’s religious duties are specially in the Lord’s presence, hence the NAB and TEV “in the service of the Lord”; or the CEV “at the Lord’s house in Shiloh.” The NIV, NRSV, and NLT follow the LXX “in the presence of the Lord.”
- 1 Samuel 2:22 tn Heb “to all Israel.”
- 1 Samuel 2:22 tc The latter half of the verse is absent in the LXX. It also appears to be absent from 4QSama, as judged by the lack of adequate space between the remaining text.
- 1 Samuel 2:22 tn Heb “lie down with,” a euphemism for sexual relations.
- 1 Samuel 2:23 tn The MT reads, “Why do you act according to these things which I am hearing—evil things—from all these people?”tc The LXX ends “from all the people of the Lord” (κυρίου, kuriou). Perhaps the final phrase of v. 24 (“the people of the Lord”) influenced the LXX. 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.
- 1 Samuel 2:24 tn The verb is a Hiphil participle from עָבַר (ʿabar). The Concise Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (p. 309) understands it to mean “spread[ing] about” in this context. The term can also mean “causing to transgress.”tc The LXX reads “the report…is not good, so that the people do not serve God.”
- 1 Samuel 2:25 tc MT “God may arbitrate [for] him.” LXX “they shall pray for him to the Lord.” Auld suggests that אֶל יהוה (ʾel YHWH; “to the Lord”), attested in 4QSama, may have been corrupted into אֱלֹהִים (ʾelohim; “God”) (Graeme Auld, I & II Samuel [Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011] 46).
- 1 Samuel 2:25 tn Heb “they”; the referent (Eli’s sons) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 1 Samuel 2:25 tn Heb “the voice of their father.”
- 1 Samuel 2:25 tn Or “Indeed.”
- 1 Samuel 2:25 tn Heb “desired” or “had become willing to.”
- 1 Samuel 2:26 tn The term נַעַר (naʿar), here translated “boy,” often refers to a servant or apprentice in line for a position of authority. A decade or more has probably passed since Hannah brought him to Eli.
- 1 Samuel 2:26 sn This is a parenthetic remark in which Samuel is again contrasted with Hophni and Phinehas (cf. 2:11b-12; 2:17-18).
- 1 Samuel 2:27 tn Or “certainly.” The infinitive absolute appears before the finite verb to emphasize its modality, here the indicative mode.
- 1 Samuel 2:27 tc The MT poses as a question “Did I actually reveal myself…?” The LXX records as a statement “I revealed myself…” The syntax of the Hebrew can either ask for information that is not known or be used as a rhetorical question which expects the answer “no.” In this context the expected answer would be “yes.” One approach is to leave the question as in the Hebrew, probably expecting the reader to still think the answer should be “yes,” even though it is the not the syntax for it (ESV, KJV). Another is to add a missing negative “did I not reveal myself…” so that the question expects the answer “yes” (NIV, NAS, NKJV). More likely the interrogative הֲ (ha) is a case of dittography, as the previous word ends with the same letter ה (he) (NRSV, NLT).
- 1 Samuel 2:27 tc Reading with 4QSama and the LXX “when they were in the land of Egypt, slaves to the house of Pharaoh.” The MT omits “slaves,” probably lost due to homoioteleuton.
- 1 Samuel 2:28 tn Heb “even choosing.” The finite verb shortens the sentence for better English style.
- 1 Samuel 2:28 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Eli’s ancestor, i.e., Aaron) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 1 Samuel 2:28 tn The verb נָשָׁא (nasaʾ) normally means “to carry” or “to bear” and refers to an ephod three times. The issue is whether the context here views the ephod more as a piece of clothing or as a cultic object. Exodus 28:4 classifies the ephod as a garment, which is made of linen (Exod 39:2). But a different verb is used in 1 Sam 2:18 and elsewhere to describe wearing an ephod. The ephod also includes stones with cultic significance as a memorial (Exod 28:12; 39:7). An ephod is associated with or appears as a cultic object (Judg 8:27 and possibly 17:5 and 18:14-20) and can be “in the hand” (1 Sam 23:6) or brought as an object (1 Sam 30:7). David uses an ephod, brought by Abiathar the priest, to consult the Lord’s will (1 Sam 23:9-10; 30:7-8). In keeping with the other infinitives in this verse that refer to priestly activities and functions, the translation “bear the ephod” reflects carrying the ephod which was used for divine consultation.
- 1 Samuel 2:29 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”).
- 1 Samuel 2:29 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.tc The LXX reads “Why did you look at my incense and my sacrifice with a shameless eye?” The LXX may have read the first verb as being from the root נָבַט (nabat) “to look at” rather than the rare בָּעַט (baʿat) “to kick.” And the final consonants of מָעוֹן (maʿon) are easily confused with עַיִן (ʿayin). But the rest of the variation appears inexplicable as a copying error from either direction.
- 1 Samuel 2:30 tn The infinitive absolute appears before the finite verb for emphasis.
- 1 Samuel 2:30 tn Heb “walk about before.”
- 1 Samuel 2:30 tn Heb “may it be far removed from me.”
- 1 Samuel 2:31 tn Heb “chop off your arm.” The arm here symbolizes strength and activity.
- 1 Samuel 2:31 tn Heb “arm.”
- 1 Samuel 2:32 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).
- 1 Samuel 2:32 tn Heb “in all which he does good with Israel.”
- 1 Samuel 2:32 tc The LXX and a Qumran manuscript have the first person pronoun “my” here.
- 1 Samuel 2:32 tn Heb “all the days.”
- 1 Samuel 2:33 tc The MT reads “your eyes.” The LXX, a Qumran ms, and a few old Latin mss read “his eyes.”
- 1 Samuel 2:33 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).
- 1 Samuel 2:33 tn The MT reads “and to cause your soul grief.” The LXX, a Qumran ms, and a few old Latin mss read “his soul.”
- 1 Samuel 2:33 tn Heb “and all the increase of your house.”
- 1 Samuel 2:33 tc The MT says “all the increase of your house will die men.” The LXX and a Qumran ms, read “all…will die by the sword of men.” This reading (cf. ESV, NAB, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT) makes sense syntactically. Some translations take “men” adverbially, “die as men,” and then understand it to mean something like “all…will die in the prime of life” (cf. NASB, NIV, KJV). However, the proposed syntax is very odd and such an adverbial function for “men” is otherwise unattested.
- 1 Samuel 2:34 tn Heb “and this to you [is] the sign which will come to both of your sons.”
- 1 Samuel 2:35 tn Heb “house.”
- 1 Samuel 2:35 tn Heb “and he will walk about before my anointed one all the days.”
- 1 Samuel 2:36 tn Heb “a piece of silver” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).