1 Samuel 3:13 says that Eli did not stop his sonsí wicked behaviour. Clearly he warned them; but he did not stop them. As Israelís chief priest, he could have stopped them. He could have removed their authority to act as priests. He could have ordered them to leave Shiloh, or even to leave Israel. He had the authority to do that; he should have done it.
Eli tried to persuade them to change their behaviour, but he was not successful. 1 Samuel† 2:25 gives the reason. He had already allowed these evil deeds to continue for too long; God had already made his judgement against Eliís sons. Perhaps if Eli had acted sooner, his sons would have been willing to follow his advice. However, when Eli spoke, he was too late. His sons liked to do these wicked things; they were behaving like that on purpose.
However, Eliís words to warn his sons did have a proper purpose. Those words show clearly that Godís judgement against Eliís sons was right. Numbers 15:30-31 explains the proper punishment for a person who, on purpose, decided to oppose God. Such a person would not remain one of Godís people, so the proper punishment was death (Numbers 15:35).
Eli told his sons that their wrong deeds were not against any person, but against God. Afterwards, they continued their wicked behaviour, so they clearly chose on purpose to do it.
In the end, it was God who carried out the punishment against Eliís sons. They died in a terrible battle because God had made his judgement against them (4:10-11). God wants to forgive every kind of evil deed (Exodus 34:6-7). However, for God to forgive anyone, that person must be humble and he must confess his evil behaviour to God. He must ask God to help him, so that he can change his behaviour. He must invite God into his life, and he must trust God to save him. If anyone refuses to do these things, Godís judgement will be against him.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.