Thursday, March 09, 2006

Samuel's First Prophesy

1st Samuel 3 to 1st Samuel 4:18

The high priest Eli had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, and both were priests. They were very wicked men and when the people who came to worship complained to Eli of the wickedness of the young men, he reproved them so gently that they gave no heed to what he said. God was displeased with him for not using his authority to make them do better.

One night, when Samuel had laid down to sleep, he heard a voice calling him and thinking it was Eli, he got up and ran to him, to find out what he wanted with him. Eli told him to go and lie down again because he had not called him.

Again the voice called "Samuel," and again Samuel ran to Eli, who told him he had not called. The third time that Samuel heard the voice, and ran to Eli thinking it was he, Eli became aware that it was God Himself who was calling to the child.

Eli told him go and lie down again, and if the voice called him once more, to answer, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening." Then, when he was laid down again, the voice called as before, "Samuel, Samuel."

Samuel answered as Eli had told him, God told him that He was going to punish Eli and his sons in a fearful manner, because the sons had made themselves hated for their wickedness and profanity, and Eli had not prevented it as he should have done.

In the morning Samuel rose, and, as was his job, he opened the doors of the Temple. He did not tell Eli what God had said to him in the night, he was afraid of doing so, it was so very sad.

Eli, however, told him to come to him and tell him what God had told him. When the poor old man knew that it was God's will to destroy him and his family, he only said, "It is the Lord, let Him do what seems good."

Very soon after, the Israelites were fighting against the Philistines, and thinking they should be sure of victory if the ark of God were with them, they brought it into their camp from Shiloh. But for their sins God allowed them to be defeated, the ark was taken, and Hophni and Phinehas, together with thirty thousand of the Israelites, were slain. Poor old Eli meanwhile sat by the wayside, waiting for tidings of the battle.

When word was brought to him that his sons were killed and the ark been taken, he fell of his seat backward, and broke his neck. Some time after Eli's death, Samuel judged Israel in his place.

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