The Wicked Sons of Eli

12 Now the sons of Eli were (A)corrupt;[a] (B)they did not know the Lord. 13 And the priests’ custom with the people was that when any man offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fleshhook in his hand while the meat was boiling. 14 Then he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; and the priest would take for himself all that the fleshhook brought up. So they did in (C)Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15 Also, before they (D)burned the fat, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who sacrificed, “Give meat for roasting to the priest, for he will not take boiled meat from you, but raw.”

16 And if the man said to him, “They should really burn the fat first; then you may take as much as your heart desires,” he would then answer him, “No, but you must give it now; and if not, I will take it by force.”

17 Therefore the sin of the young men was very great (E)before the Lord, for men (F)abhorred[b] the offering of the Lord.

Samuel’s Childhood Ministry

18 (G)But Samuel ministered before the Lord, even as a child, (H)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 (I)came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 And Eli (J)would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “The Lord give you descendants from this woman for the [c]loan that was (K)given to the Lord.” Then they would go to their own home.

21 And the Lord (L)visited[d] Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel (M)grew before the Lord.

Prophecy Against Eli’s Household

22 Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, [e]and how they lay with (N)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, (O)God[f] will judge him. But if a man (P)sins against the Lord, who will intercede for him?” Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, (Q)because the Lord desired to kill them.

26 And the child Samuel (R)grew in stature, and (S)in favor both with the Lord and men.

27 Then a (T)man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: (U)‘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 (V)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 (W)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 (X)kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My (Y)dwelling place, and honor your sons more than (Z)Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’ 30 Therefore the Lord God of Israel says: (AA)‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the Lord says: (AB)‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and (AC)those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, (AD)the days are coming that I will cut off your [g]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 (AE)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 (AF)a sign to you that will come upon your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: (AG)in one day they shall die, both of them. 35 Then (AH)I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. (AI)I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before (AJ)My anointed forever. 36 (AK)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, [h]put me in one of the priestly positions, that I may eat a piece of bread.” ’ ”

Samuel’s First Prophecy

Now (AL)the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. And (AM)the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation. And it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and when his eyes had begun to grow (AN)so dim that he could not see, and before (AO)the lamp of God went out in the [i]tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down, that the Lord called Samuel. And he answered, “Here I am!” So he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.”

And he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” And he went and lay down.

Then the Lord called yet again, “Samuel!”

So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” He answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” (Now Samuel (AP)did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.)

And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.”

Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, (AQ)‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”

11 Then the Lord said to Samuel: “Behold, I will do something in Israel (AR)at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 In that day I will perform against Eli (AS)all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 (AT)For I have told him that I will (AU)judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because (AV)his sons made themselves vile, and he (AW)did not [j]restrain them. 14 And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house (AX)shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

15 So Samuel lay down until [k]morning, and opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision. 16 Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son!”

He answered, “Here I am.”

17 And he said, “What is the word that the Lord spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. (AY)God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the things that He said to you.” 18 Then Samuel told him everything, and hid nothing from him. And he said, (AZ)“It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him.”

19 So Samuel (BA)grew, and (BB)the Lord was with him (BC)and let none of his words [l]fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel (BD)from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been [m]established as a prophet of the Lord. 21 Then the Lord appeared again in Shiloh. For the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by (BE)the word of the Lord.

The Death of Eli

And the word of Samuel came to all [n]Israel.

The Ark of God Captured

Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines, and encamped beside (BF)Ebenezer; and the Philistines encamped in Aphek. Then the (BG)Philistines put themselves in battle array against Israel. And when they joined battle, Israel was [o]defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men of the army in the field. And when the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? (BH)Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us it may save us from the hand of our enemies.” So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, (BI)who dwells between (BJ)the cherubim. And the (BK)two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook. Now when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What does the sound of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” Then they understood that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. So the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp!” And they said, (BL)“Woe to us! For such a thing has never happened before. Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. (BM)Be strong and conduct yourselves like men, you Philistines, that you do not become servants of the Hebrews, (BN)as they have been to you. [p]Conduct yourselves like men, and fight!”

10 So the Philistines fought, and (BO)Israel was [q]defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. 11 Also (BP)the ark of God was captured; and (BQ)the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

Death of Eli

12 Then a man of Benjamin ran from the battle line the same day, and (BR)came to Shiloh with his clothes torn and (BS)dirt on his head. 13 Now when he came, there was Eli, sitting on (BT)a seat [r]by the wayside watching, for his heart [s]trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city and told it, all the city cried out. 14 When Eli heard the noise of the outcry, he said, “What does the sound of this tumult mean?” And the man came quickly and told Eli. 15 Eli was ninety-eight years old, and (BU)his eyes were so [t]dim that he could not see.

16 Then the man said to Eli, “I am he who came from the battle. And I fled today from the battle line.”

And he said, (BV)“What happened, my son?”

17 So the messenger answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has been a great slaughter among the people. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead; and the ark of God has been captured.”

18 Then it happened, when he made mention of the ark of God, that Eli fell off the seat backward by the side of the gate; and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.


19 Now his daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, was with child, due to be delivered; and when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and gave birth, for her labor pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death (BW)the women who stood by her said to her, “Do not fear, for you have borne a son.” But she did not answer, nor did she [u]regard it. 21 Then she named the child (BX)Ichabod,[v] saying, (BY)“The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”


  1. 1 Samuel 2:12 Lit. sons of Belial
  2. 1 Samuel 2:17 despised
  3. 1 Samuel 2:20 gift
  4. 1 Samuel 2:21 attended to
  5. 1 Samuel 2:22 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; DSS, LXX omit rest of verse
  6. 1 Samuel 2:25 Tg. the Judge
  7. 1 Samuel 2:31 strength
  8. 1 Samuel 2:36 assign
  9. 1 Samuel 3:3 palace or temple
  10. 1 Samuel 3:13 Lit. rebuke
  11. 1 Samuel 3:15 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; LXX adds and he arose in the morning
  12. 1 Samuel 3:19 fail
  13. 1 Samuel 3:20 confirmed
  14. 1 Samuel 4:1 So with MT, Tg.; LXX, Vg. add And it came to pass in those days that the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight; LXX adds further against Israel
  15. 1 Samuel 4:2 Lit. struck
  16. 1 Samuel 4:9 Lit. Be men
  17. 1 Samuel 4:10 Lit. struck down
  18. 1 Samuel 4:13 So with MT, Vg.; LXX beside the gate watching the road
  19. 1 Samuel 4:13 trembled with anxiety
  20. 1 Samuel 4:15 fixed
  21. 1 Samuel 4:20 pay any attention to
  22. 1 Samuel 4:21 Lit. Inglorious

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