August 12, 2017
1 Samuel 2:35
If Hannah is put forward as a model for godly parenting, the second half of 1 Samuel 2 reveals the priest Eli as a model for negligent parenting. Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are worthless men who do not know Yahweh (1 Sam. 2:12). They steal for themselves the choicest parts of the sacrifices that people bring to the tabernacle (1 Sam. 2:13–17), and they abuse their priestly authority by seducing the women who serve at the entrance of the tabernacle (1 Sam. 2:22).
Certainly, Eli tries to stop his sons from treating Yahweh with contempt. In 1 Samuel 2:23–25, Eli confronts them, warning that, “If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?” (1 Sam. 2:25). Eli’s sons do not, however, listen, “for it was the will of the LORD to put them to death” (1 Sam. 2:25).
Because Eli does not remove his sons from the priesthood, Yahweh declares that he himself will put Hophni and Phinehas to death on the same day (1 Sam. 2:34). Yahweh rejects Eli’s house from the priesthood and instead promises to raise up a new house to serve him as priest forever: “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” (1 Sam. 2:35).
On one level, Yahweh keeps this promise by raising up Samuel as the faithful priest who will do everything in Yahweh’s heart and in his mind. But on the other hand, Samuel cannot be the ultimate fulfillment of this promise, for two reasons. First, while Samuel is a Levite (1 Chron. 6:27, 33), he is a descendent of Korah and not of Aaron (1 Chron. 6:33–37), and we do not see any long-term justification for Samuel’s irregular priesthood. Second, Samuel’s sons do not end up walking in the ways of their father, but instead they take bribes and pervert justice (1 Sam. 8:1–5). Ultimately, Samuel’s house is not a sure house, to go in and out before Yahweh’s anointed forever.
Instead, Yahweh will later send another priest to mediate and to intercede for us with God—a priest who also could not claim Aaron as his ancestor. Instead, this priest arises from the order of Melchizedek (Gen. 14; Ps. 110:4; Heb. 7). Furthermore, we read that, through his perfect priesthood, this priest has made his entire people into a holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 1:6).
In Christ, not only have have you been blessed by Yahweh’s fulfillment of his promise in 1 Samuel 2:35, but you are the fulfillment of that prophecy as well