I Samuel 2:22-36 Prophecy Against Eli’s House.
Not only did Eli’s sons despise the sacrifice, breaking the law and sinning against both the LORD and the people, but they also debased themselves and the women who they would lay with, “who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting” (v. 22). They took the women who were set apart to serve the LORD at the door of the tabernacle (Ex. 38:8), and made them into prostitutes. These were women who offered their mirrors of narcissistic pride, their permanent selfies, to be melted down for the service of the LORD, content to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD’s holiness, rather than to be consumed with their own looks.
However, the most that Eli did was to question and rebuke them (v. 23), even though he knew he was causing “the LORD’s people to transgress” (v. 24). Eli made the valid point that if one sins against another human being, then God will judge. “But if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?” (v. 25a). Then we find the very sobering words concerning God’s sovereign predestinating will with regard to the reprobate. “Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the LORD desired to kill them.” (v. 25b). Eli showed partiality in judgment, also contrary to the law (Dt. 1:17 Cf. 25:1-2; Nu. 15:30-31).
Unless the LORD desires a person to heed his word, all will die in sin. Such was the case with Samuel. It was because the covenant making and covenant keeping LORD desired Samuel to heed his voice that “the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the LORD and men.” (v. 26). Such is the state of one who does not forget the law of the LORD (Pr. 3:1-4). Eli could not claim that the LORD’s revelation was not given (v. 27 Cf. Ex. 4:14-16; 12:1ff.). It was the LORD who chose his father to serve (v. 28 Cf. Ex. 28:1, 4), and the LORD provided for them Nu. 5:9). To wear the ephod was to stand as the covenantal mediator of the people.
Eli’s sons saw the ministry as an opportunity to literally eat the fat of the land, and fulfill their every wanton desire, and in failing to discipline them, Eli honoured his sons more than the LORD (v. 29). How often failed leadership is the result of failed parenting. Therefore, already at this early point in their history, the LORD decided that the ministry would not simply rest in one family, but rather all who honoured him he would give the honour to serve (v. 30). The house of Aaron would be covenantally cut off, and despite all the good which God did for Israel, they would not live long on the earth (vv. 30-32).
Those who were not cut off from the altar would be nothing more than a source of grief (v. 33). A sure sign that these things would come to pass, would be the soon death of his sons – Hophni and Phinehas (v. 34). There then appears one of the great messianic verses in all of scripture. The Aaronic order would give way to one in which the LORD God would have a faithful priest who would do according to what was in his heart and mind, and he would build him a house (v. 35 Cf. I Kgs 2:35; Beyond Zadok, the Messiah would come (Heb. 3:1-6). In this house people are glad for any opportunity to serve (v. 36).