I Samuel 2:12-17 The Worthless And Wicked Priests.

I Samuel 2:12-17 The Worthless And Wicked Priests.

Eli’s sons are a classic example of how it is possible that even ordained religious leadership can be completely devoid of any personal knowledge of God. Furthermore ethics flows from this tree of knowledge or lack thereof. Eli’s sons were corrupt because they did not know the covenant making and covenant keeping LORD (v. 12). This not knowing the LORD is what we might say in our current vernacular as them not having a personal relationship with the LORD. This was sadly the same condition that existed with the death of Joshua (Cf. Jud. 2:10).

To this end we must also remember that any such personal knowledge can only be possible if we are first known by him. That is, he has set his personal redeeming love upon us (Cf. Gal. 4:9; I Jn. 4:10). “If anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.” (I Cor. 8:3) This knowledge of the LORD, based on being known by him, shows itself in the love we return to him, including living our lives according to the law-word of the covenant (Cf. I Jn. 2:3-6). This is what it means to “walk just as He walked.” What follows is the facts of their open and flagrant apostasy.

Verses 13-15 describes what was strictly forbidden according to the law-word of the covenant (Cf. Lev. 3:1-17; 7:28-36; Dt. 18:3). The priests were to be given specific parts, and fat was not one of them. By behaving as they did, these priests were also corrupting the people, a mark of false prophets as well (Cf. Dt. 13). The reciprocal evidence of not being known by God, is in people choosing to not retain the knowledge of Him, the evidence of a “debased mind” (Rom. 1:28). Even when rebuked by the laity, they threatened to take the offering by force (v. 16).

Jeremiah would be called to oppose the same kind of people in his day. Those who handled the law did not know the LORD (2:8 Cf. 9:3, 6). These leaders chose not to know the LORD, through their own deceit. Malachi, the last of the older testament prophets, summarized the state of apostate priests. “‘For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But you have departed from the way; you have caused many to stumble at the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,’ says the LORD of hosts.” (2:7-8)

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