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Eli, Hannah and Peninnah (1 Samuel 2)

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CHAPTER 2 Jun. 23 
The Prayer of Hannah
Hannah prayed, and said: My heart exults in Yahweh!My horn is exalted in Yahweh.My mouth boasts over my enemies because I rejoice in Your salvation. 2There is none as holy as Yahweh, for there is none besides You, nor is there any rock like our God. 3Talk no more so exceedingly proudly. Don’t let hardness come out of your mouth, for Yahweh is a God of knowledge, though actions be not weighed. 4The bows of the mighty men are broken, those who stumbled are armed with strength. 5Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread. Those who were hungry are satisfied. Yes, the barren has borne seven; she who has many children languishes. 6Yahweh kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. 7Yahweh makes poor and makes rich. He brings low and He also lifts up. 8He raises up the poor out of the dust. He lifts up the needy from the dunghill, to make them sit with princes and inherit the throne of glory. For the pillars of the earth are Yahweh’s; He has set the world upon them. 9He will keep the feet of His holy ones, but the wicked shall be put to silence in darkness; for no man shall prevail by strength. 10Those who strive with Yahweh shall be broken to pieces. He will thunder against them in the sky. Yahweh will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to His king and exalt the horn of His anointed. 11Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the child served Yahweh before Eli the priest.

The Wicked Sons of Eli
12Now the sons of Eli were men of Belial; they didn’t know Yahweh. 13The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand. 14He thrust it into the pan, kettle, cauldron or pot; all that the fork brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15Moreover, before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came and said to the man who sacrificed, Give meat to roast for the priest, for he will not accept boiled meat from you, but raw. 16If the man said to him, Let the fat be burned first, and then take as much as you want; he would say, No, give it to me now, and if you don’t, I will take it by force. 17The sin of the young men was very great before Yahweh, for they despised the offering of Yahweh. 18But Samuel ministered before Yahweh, being a child, clothed with a linen ephod. 19Moreover his mother made him a little robe and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife and said, Yahweh give you children by this woman for the petition which was asked of Yahweh. They went to their own home. 21Yahweh visited Hannah and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. The child Samuel grew before Yahweh. 22Now Eli was very old, and he heard all that his sons did to all Israel, how they lay with the women who served at the door of the Tent of Meeting. 23He said to them, Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil deeds from all the people. 24No my sons, it is no good report that I hear; you make Yahweh’s people disobey. 25If one man sins against another, God will judge him; but if a man sins against Yahweh, who shall entreat for him? However, they didn’t listen to their father, because Yahweh intended to kill them. 26The child Samuel grew and increased in favour with Yahweh and with men.

Prophecy against Eli’s House
27A man of God came to Eli and said to him, Thus says Yahweh, ‘Did I not reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt, in bondage to Pharaoh’s house? 28Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to go up to My altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before Me? Did I not give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire? 29Why then do you despise My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded for My dwelling, and honour your sons above Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’ 30 Therefore Yahweh the God of Israel says, ‘I said indeed that your house, and the house of your father, should walk before Me forever’. But now Yahweh says, ‘Far be it from Me. Those who honour Me I will honour, and those who despise Me shall be despised. 31The days are coming when I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father’s house so that there shall not be an old man in your house. 32In distress you would look with envy upon the wealth which I would have given Israel, but there shall not be an old man in your house forever. 33Any man of yours whom I shall not cut off from My altar, will only blind your eyes with tears and grieve your heart; all the increase of your house shall die in the prime of life. 34 This will be the sign to you which will come on your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall both die. 35I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall minister before My anointed one forever. 36Each one who is left in your house shall come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread, and shall say, ‘Please put me into one of the priests’ offices, that I may eat a morsel of bread’. 


2:3 Hannah had reflected upon God’s omniscience; and on this basis she tells Peninnah not to be proud and use hard words against her, exactly because of this. That He sees and knows all things should humble us and affect our speech. 
Yahweh is a God of knowledge, though actions be not weighed- Although actions are not judged immediately and publically (“weighed”), they surely will be- because, quite simply, God knows. 
2:6 Clearly sheol refers to the grave and not any place of eternal condemnation in fire. 
2:12 Men of Belial- The idea is ‘sinful men’. In the Old Testament, sin was personified as ‘Belial’, so we shouldn’t be surprised if it’s personified as ‘the enemy’  or ‘satan’ in the New Testament. 
2:24 You make Yahweh’s people disobey- We can spiritually destroyour brother, for whom Christ died (Rom. 14:15); we can undo the work of the cross for a brother who would otherwise be saved by it. We can make others sin (Ex. 23:33; 1 Kings 16:19). There is an urgent imperative here, to really watch our behaviour; e.g. to not drink alcohol in the presence of a brother whose conscience is weak.
2:25 They didn’t listen to their father, because Yahweh intended to kill them- God has an ability to confirm men in the path to destruction they chose to tread. The very experience of sin confirms sinners in that way: “the way of the wicked seduces them” (Prov. 12:26). The spiritual effect of God upon men over and above their own strength is indicated by this example (cp. Josh. 11:20; Jud. 14:4; 2 Chron. 10:15).
2:30 God is unashamed about the fact that He can change His stated purposes about people in response to human behaviour; the fact God does this is simply an indication of the extent to which He is sensitive to our actions and decisions.
2:32 The wealth which I would have given Israel- Some prophecies simply won’t come true because they refer to what God had potentially prepared for His people, but they disallow Him from giving them what He had intended. This is an example. Knowing this, women like Hannah clearly hoped and prayed that their sons would be Messiah (2:10 = Ps. 89:24); for they perceived that God’s purpose was open to such a thing.