Sons in the Bible: Sons of Eli

Eli and his sons

Eli was a descendant of Aaron through his youngest son, Ithamar.

Eli was the high priest whom Hannah brought Samuel to for study and preparation to serve God.  Samuel became the high priest upon Eli’s death, although Eli had sons.

Eli’s sons were Hophni and Phinehas, who is described as behaving wickedly for committing adultery and taking the prime cuts meant for sacrifice.  Hophni means modern and Phinehas means oracle.

Eli is aware of his sons behavior and rebukes them but does not stop them. 

Eli’s sons died due to their wickedness

Samuel is the one who prophesies Eli and his sons will be punished for their actions and a curse is placed on all of Eli’s descendants forever.

The Lord speaks to Samuel in a dream and tells him the threat against Eli and his family will be carried out and there is nothing he can do to prevent it. When Eli demands to know what God says and Samuel tells him, Eli responds by saying that God will do as he judges best.

Years later, after Samuel is grown, the Philistines attack, capturing the Ark of the Covenant, and killing Eli’s sons.

Eli trained and instructed Samuel

Eli is an old man and blind by this point. He ask what is happening and a fleeing soldier tells him.  He is so shocked that the Ark of the Covenant has been captured, that he falls backward, breaking his neck and dying.

Eli’s daughter-in-law goes into labor at the news of the capture of the Ark and death of her husband and father-in-law.  She dies giving birth to a son, she names Ichabod, who is later described as a wicked priest.

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