Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 2

Evil priests at Shiloh

1 Samuel 2:12-17

Eliís sons were the leaders of the priests at Godís tabernacle in Shiloh. The tabernacle was the sacred tent that Moses had built. It was the only place where God allowed his people to make their sacrifices to him.

The sacrifices were animals that Godís people killed as a gift to God. It was necessary for the priests to offer these animals on behalf of the people. We have already seen that Elkanah took his sacrifice to Shiloh for that reason each year (1:3).

At Shiloh, however, religion was in a bad state. There were not many people like Elkanah who still served the real God. Instead, people gave sacrifices to the false gods whose images were in their homes, in the towns and on the hills (7:2-4). Even many people who still served the real God may have preferred to offer him their sacrifices on the hills (see 1 Kings 3:2-4).

So, only a few loyal people went to Shiloh. There, they had to deal with wicked priests who did not respect God.

The people wanted to offer sacrifices that showed fellowship (a right relationship) between themselves, their priests and God. Leviticus chapter 3 and Leviticus 7:11-36 contain instructions about this type of sacrifice. First the priest burned the fat from the animal as a gift to God. Then the priest waved the breast and the shoulder of the meat in front of God. Those parts then belonged to the priest. The person who brought the gift then cooked the rest of the meat for his family (see 1 Samuel 1:3-5). That was Godís law about this kind of sacrifice.

However, Eliís sons (the priests) were so wicked and greedy that they did not obey these rules. They wanted more of the meat; and, like thieves, they would even use cruel methods to get it. In fact, they were even worse than thieves. That is because the sacrifices were holy. It is very terrible to deal with a holy thing in an unholy and wicked manner.

Next part: The boy Samuel (1 Samuel 2:18-21)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.