1 Samuel 2

Hannah praises the Lord

1 Hannah prayed and she said,

‘I am very happy when I think about what the Lord has done.

The Lord has made me very strong.

I can laugh at my enemies because you, Lord, have saved me.

That makes me very happy.

2 Nobody else is holy like the Lord.

There is no other God except you, our God.

You are the only Rock where we can be safe.

2:2The Lord is often called a rock, because he is a strong place where we can hide and be safe.

3 Do not boast or speak proud words!

The Lord is a God who knows everything.

He judges everything that people do.

4 The weapons of brave soldiers may break.

But weak people who fall become strong again.

5 People who had plenty of food to eat have to work for it now.

But the people who were hungry have enough food now.

Women who could not have any children have now given birth to seven children.

But those who had many children are now alone.

6 The Lord gives both life and death.

He sends some people to their graves,

and he raises other people up.

7 The Lord makes some people poor

and he makes other people rich.

He causes some people to be important

and he puts other people low down.

8 He raises up weak people from the ground.

He lifts poor people up out of the dirt.

He makes them become friends of princes.

He puts them in places of honour.

The deep places of the earth belong to the Lord.

He built the world on a strong foundation.

9 He takes care of his faithful people.

But he puts wicked people in a dark place where they can do nothing.

It is not a person's own strength that makes him great.

10 The Lord will destroy his enemies.

He will shout against them from heaven like loud thunder.

The Lord will judge everyone on earth.

He will make his king strong.

He will give power to the king that he has chosen to rule.’

11 Then Elkanah went back to his home at Ramah with his family. But the young boy, Samuel, stayed in Shiloh. He served the Lord there, while Eli the priest took care of him.

Eli's wicked sons

12 Eli's sons were wicked men. They did not respect the Lord. 13 They did not do what the priests should do.

People brought sacrifices to offer to the Lord at Shiloh. When the meat was still boiling in a pot, a servant of the priest would come. He would bring a fork that had three points. 14 He then pushed the fork into the pot. The priest took for himself any meat that came out on the fork. The priests did that to all the Israelites when they came to Shiloh to offer sacrifices. 15 Their servant would even come before the fat was removed from the meat to be burned as a sacrifice. He would say to the person who had brought the sacrifice, ‘Give me some of the meat for the priest to bake. He will not accept meat that has already boiled. He will only accept meat that is fresh.’

16 Sometimes, the person said, ‘We must burn the fat first. Then you can take any meat that you want.’ The servant would reply, ‘No. Give the meat to me now, or I will take it from you anyway.’

17 The Lord knew what Eli's sons were doing. They did not respect the sacrifices that people were offering to the Lord. The Lord saw that their sin was very bad.

Samuel at Shiloh

18 But Samuel served the Lord faithfully, as a young boy. He wore a linen ephod. 19 Every year, Samuel's mother made a little coat for him. She took it to him when she went to Shiloh. She and her husband went there every year to offer their sacrifice to God. 20 Each year, Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife. He said, ‘I pray that the Lord will give you more children to take the place of Samuel. Hannah has given her son to serve the Lord, so may she give birth to other children too.’

Then they would return to their own home. 21 The Lord blessed Hannah. She gave birth to three more sons and two daughters. The boy Samuel continued to grow as he served at the Lord's house in Shiloh.

22 Eli was very old now. He heard about everything that his sons were doing to all the Israelites. He knew that his sons had sex with some of the women helpers. Those women worked at the door of the Tent of Meeting. 23 Eli said to his sons, ‘People have told me about all the evil things that you do. 24 No, my sons, you should not do these terrible things. The Lord's people all complain about you. 25 If you do something bad to another person, God can speak on your behalf. But if you do something bad against the Lord, nobody can speak on your behalf.’

Eli's sons did not listen to their father. The Lord had already decided to kill them.

26 The young boy Samuel continued to grow. The Lord was pleased with him, and so were the people.

God's message to Eli

27 A servant of God came and he spoke to Eli. This is what he said:

2:27Servant of God is another name for a prophet who speaks God's messages. We do not know the name of this prophet.

‘The Lord says, “A long time ago, when your ancestors were in Egypt, I showed myself to them. At that time they were slaves of Egypt's king. 28 I chose your ancestor, Aaron, out of all of the tribes of Israel. I chose him and his descendants to be my priests. I chose them to offer sacrifices on my altar, to burn incense and to wear the special ephod. I also gave them authority to eat part of the sacrifices and burnt offerings that the Israelites offered to me. 29 But you and your sons do not respect the sacrifices that I have commanded people to offer in my house. Eli, you give more honour to your sons than you give to me. Your family eat all the best parts of the offerings that the Israelites bring to me. You have all become fat!”

2:28The priests wore special clothes when they were in God's house. An ephod was like a coat which had no sleeves.

30 Because of what you have done, the Lord, Israel's God, says this to you: “I promised your family and your ancestors that they would serve me as priests for ever.” But now the Lord says, “That will never happen! I will give honour to people who respect me. But I will curse people who insult me. 31 So you and your family will soon come to an end. No one in your family will live to become old men. 32 You will see how trouble comes to my home here. Good things will happen to the Israelite people, but there will never be an old man in your family. 33 One of your descendants may continue to serve me as a priest. But he will be very sad and his eyes will become weak. Anyone who is born in your family will die when they are young.

34 This will show you that what I have said is true: Your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will both die on the same day.

35 I will choose another priest to serve me. He will be faithful. He will do everything that I want him to do. I will give him a strong family and he will serve my chosen king for ever. 36 Everyone in your family who continues to live will have to bend down low to this priest. They will ask him for a few coins and a piece of bread. ‘Please let me help the priests so that I can have something to eat,’ they will say.” ’