. . . they shall mount up with wings as eagles . . . Isaiah 40:31

The Childhood of Samuel

1 Samuel 2:26 And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men.

Continuing with the book of First Samuel, we will recall that at the birth of Samuel, his mother made a vow that if the Lord would give her a son she would lend him to the Lord all his life.

And so, she conceived and bore a son, and she kept him until he was several years old and then took him to Shiloh, and gave him to Eli, the High Priest.

So, let’s pick up the story in 1 Samuel 2:12.

The wickedness of Eli’s sons

1 Samuel 2:12 Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; [or worthless fellows] they knew not the LORD. [They were godless.]

1 Samuel 2:13 And the priests' custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest's servant came, while the flesh was [boiling], with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand;

1 Samuel 2:14 And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither.

And we also read that they demanded raw meat from the people, which was against Mosaic law, because the fat of the offering was supposed to be burned. However, if the people refused to give it, they would take it by force.

1 Samuel 2:17 Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.

If we study the offering of the LORD, we will find that it is holy to the Lord. It represents the faith of the people, the faith in their God to bless those who give. And it still represents that today.

But these sons of Eli were forcefully taking it from the people to enrich themselves.

1 Samuel 2:19 Moreover [Samuel’s] mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

Why is this in the Bible? It seems to indicate that she was a good mother who loved her son and thought about him often, though from a distance.

1 Samuel 2:20 And Eli [the High Priest] blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD. And they went unto their own home.

1 Samuel 2:21 And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD.

Hannah had said in her prophetic prayer earlier in this chapter that “the barren hath born seven.” Seven is the number of completion. You might say, God blessed her completely with a family.

1 Samuel 2:22 Now Eli was very old, [in his nineties] and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

So, here is something else to add to their sins: they were sleeping with the women who came to the door of the tabernacle. They were destroying the sanctity of this place of worship, and causing the people to sin.

1 Samuel 2:23 And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.

1 Samuel 2:24 Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD'S people to transgress. [You cause the people to sin.]

1 Samuel 2:25 If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: [that’s one thing] but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat [or intervene] for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would [desired to] slay them.

When the Lord wants you dead, you’re in trouble? You’ve obviously gone too far in the things you’re doing. And they had come to that place.

1 Samuel 2:26 And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men.

This seems to be a scriptural parallel to Luke 2:52, where it says that Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. This is similar to the childhood of Jesus.

1 Samuel 2:27 And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Did I [not] plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house? [The house of Levi, the same tribe as Moses and Aaron.]

1 Samuel 2:28 And did I [not] choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I [not] give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel? [Didn’t I do that, Eli?]

1 Samuel 2:29 [Well why then] kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and [honor] thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people? [Why are you taking My offerings for yourselves?]

1 Samuel 2:30 Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: BUT NOW . . . the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

Did you notice that the Lord just abolished the Levitical priesthood with that statement? From now on, whoever honors me, I will honor them, no matter what tribe they’re from.

And the Bible says that those who are in Christ are a chosen generation and a royal priesthood, though none of us are Levites. Yet we’re priests unto God, every one of us.

1 Samuel 2:31 Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father's house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house.

The wickedness of Eli and his sons had brought a curse upon the entire tribe of Levi, from that point on.

1 Samuel 2:32 And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever.

All the men of your tribe will die young, Eli, even in the prime of their lives. Verse 34.

1 Samuel 2:34 And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them.

I’m going to give you a sign, Eli, to show you this word is true. Your two sons will both die on the same day. Not a good word. This was a word of judgment to Eli. Yes, the LORD is long-suffering and merciful, but there comes a time, if we don’t repent, that judgment will inevitably come.

1 Samuel 3:1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.

The word of the Lord was rare. It was spiritually, speaking, a dry time. Israel had backslidden. They were running after other gods, false gods. But Samuel was growing up with a pure heart, ministering unto the Lord.

Here's a side thought to take note of. Ministering unto the LORD produces a pure heart and a confidence before HIm. Selah.

1 Samuel 3:2 And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; [he was practically blind.]

1 Samuel 3:3 And [before] the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, [which was never supposed to go out] and Samuel was laid down to sleep;

1 Samuel 3:4 That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. [or here I am.]

1 Samuel 3:5 And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.

Now this happened three times and it says that Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child. And he told Samuel that if He calls again, say, Speak, for your servant hears. [Verse 11]

1 Samuel 3:11 And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.

1 Samuel 3:12 In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. [It’ll be quick.]

1 Samuel 3:13 For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.

Is it important to raise our children with a reverence for the Lord? Yes. That’s what Eli should have done. Yet he didn’t. And the Lord was preparing Samuel for what’s coming.

1 Samuel 3:15 And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.

But Eli pressed Samuel to tell him what the LORD had said to him. [Verse 18]

1 Samuel 3:18 And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he [Eli] said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.

Was that the best response he could come up with? Yep, it’s the Lord, let Him do what seems good to HIm? You would think that he might cry out for mercy, or fast and pray, or repent in sackcloth and ashes. Maybe he felt that it was too late to ask for mercy.

1 Samuel 3:20 And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.

1 Samuel 3:21 And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.

Or, we might say it this way. And the Lord had appeared once again in Shiloh by the word of the Lord. Let’s move on to the action.

The Battle

1 Samuel 4:2 And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men. [That’s a lot of men.] [Verse 4]

1 Samuel 4:4 So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

The Ark of God

We could say that the ark of God represented the presence of God to Israel, but it was more than that. It was indeed His presence. The Bible says He dwelt between the cherubims that were on top of the ark.

1 Samuel 4:5 And when the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again. [Verse 7]

The Philistines encourage themselves

1 Samuel 4:7 And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing [before now]. [Vs 9]

1 Samuel 4:9 Be strong, and [behave] like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight. [Notice. The Hebrews had been their slaves, right there in the promised land.]

The ark is taken

1 Samuel 4:10 And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen.

1 Samuel 4:11 And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain. [On the same day, both of your sons will die.]

And God had told Samuel, when I begin, I will also make an end. I will do a quick work.

Eli’s death

1 Samuel 4:12 And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head. [Verse 14]

1 Samuel 4:14 And when Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, What meaneth the noise of this tumult? And the man came in hastily, and told Eli. [Verse 17.]

1 Samuel 4:17 And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, [they’re] dead, and the ark of God is taken.

1 Samuel 4:18 And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck [broke], and he died: for he was an old man, [98] and heavy. And he had judged Israel for forty years.

The glory is departed

1 Samuel 4:19 And his daughter in law, Phinehas' wife, was with child, near to be delivered: and when she heard the tidings that the ark of God was taken, and that her father in law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and travailed; for her pains came upon her. [She went into hard labor.]

1 Samuel 4:20 And about the time of her death [she died] the women that stood by her said unto her, Fear not; for thou hast born a son. But she answered not, neither did she regard it. [she was non-responsive.]

1 Samuel 4:21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband.

1 Samuel 4:22 And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken.

Now Ichabod means “No Glory.” She was saying, the glory, the honor, the splendor, the beauty, the majesty is gone from Israel. Why? For the ark of God is taken.

To conclude this study of the chidhood of Samuel please click link below:
Scriptural Parallels

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