The Sins of Hophni and Phinehas

We all have our favorite books in the Bible. 1 Samuel is one of them for me. My wife and I have been reading it lately and there were some interesting things that I noticed in my reading of it. I notice a few things looking at 1 Samuel 2-4. In particular the works of Hophni and Phinehas.

There sins were great in the eyes of the LORD. “The sin of the men was very great before the LORD, for men abhored the offering of the LORD.” It was in regard to the meat that Hophni and Phinehas wanted to get the meat before the fat was burned. But instead they took it by force. Ignoring the commands of the Lord that: “‘This shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall eat neither fat nor blood.(Lev. 3:17)” Or that the person who eats shall be cut off from His people as Lev. 7:22-27 mentions. They defiled the worship of God and the sin offerings.

They didn’t wear an ephod. Levites were to wear ephods as perscribed in Exodus 28. Which in verse 18 says that Samuel was wearing. What!? We might think that the ephod was such a simple issue but it was God’s prescription for worship. Wouldn’t we want to come and worship God according to His standards and commandments. God makes a big deal out of it when He says; “Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to offer upon My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod before Me? And did I not give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire?” This speaking of Aaron.

Too little, Too late. That is the response of Eli the father of Hophni and Phinehas. He did rebuke them but how mild. No my sons! Really the rebuke and then a stoning would have been the appropriate response. Here is what God thought of his rebuke. “For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them Of course God is often gracious is there is a repentance.(3:13)” But Eli had little care it seems for his sons. Instead his response was “It is the LORD. Let Him do what seems good to Him. (3:18)” I think the appropriate response would be LORD have mercy with fasting and sackcloth.

The implications to me is sobering. That we should not only be careful of our own soul but the soul of our children. Eli didn’t restrain his children and instead let them continue in their sin. Let us not lend a blind eye or sit back while our kids sin but rather deal with it no matter how terrible the sin is.