The Story of Redemption


Result of Eli's Neglect

When Eli was high priest he exalted his sons to the priesthood. Eli alone was permitted to enter the most holy once a year. His sons ministered at the door of the tabernacle and officiated in the slaying of the beasts and at the altar of sacrifice. They continually abused this sacred office. They were selfish, covetous, gluttonous, and profligate. God reproved Eli for his criminal neglect of family discipline. Eli reproved his sons but did not restrain them. After they were placed in the sacred office of priesthood, Eli heard of their conduct in defrauding the children of Israel of their offerings, also their bold transgressions of the law of God and their violent conduct, which caused Israel to sin. SR 184.3

The Lord made known to the child Samuel the judgments He would bring upon Eli's house because of his negligence. “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. 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. 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. And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.” SR 185.1

The transgressions of Eli's sons were so daring, so insulting, to a holy God, that no sacrifice could atone for such willful transgression. These sinful priests profaned the sacrifices which typified the Son of God. And by their blasphemous conduct they were trampling upon the blood of the atonement, from which was derived the virtue of all sacrifices. SR 185.2

Samuel told Eli the words of the Lord; “and he said, It is the Lord: let Him do what seemeth Him good.” Eli knew that God had been dishonored, and he felt that he had sinned. He submitted that God was thus punishing his sinful neglect. The word of the Lord to Samuel was made known by Eli to all Israel. In doing this, he thought to correct in a measure his past sinful negligence. The evil pronounced upon Eli was not long delayed. SR 185.3

The Israelites made war with the Philistines and were overcome, and four thousand of them were slain. The Hebrews were afraid. They knew that if other nations should hear of their defeat they would be encouraged to also make war with them. The elders of Israel decided that their defeat was because the ark of God was not with them. They sent to Shiloh for the ark of the covenant. They thought of their passage over Jordan and the easy conquest of Jericho when they bore the ark, and they decided that all that was necessary was to bring the ark to them, and they would triumph over their enemies. They did not realize that their strength was in their obedience to that law contained in the ark, which was a representative of God Himself. The polluted priests, Hophni and Phinehas, were with the sacred ark, transgressing the law of God. These sinners conducted the ark to the camp of Israel. The confidence of the men of war was restored, and they felt confident of success. SR 185.4