is found on the Bible Timeline beginning at 1252 BC
Eli was a priest in Israel and when he is introduced into the Bible he assures a childless woman named Hannah that she will have a baby. Hannah is one of two wives of Elkanah and she is not able to bear children. Elkanah’s other wife Peninnah constantly harrasses Hannah about not being able to have children. Hannah goes to the temple to pray about this delimma and Eli assures her that God will grant her request.
After Hannah has her firstborn child she names him Samuel and leaves him to the care of Eli. Samuel is raised up by Eli and becomes a prophet and a judge of Israel.
During Eli’s lifetime he judged Israel for forty years. Before he died he had two sons named Hophni and Phinehas. The Bible states that these two sons didn’t know God but they were the sons of Belial. In other words Eli son’s worshipped the devil while serving as God’s priests in God’s temple. They had sex with the servant girls of the temple and they took meat from the people that was meant to be used for sacrifice. They also forced the people to give them good meat for the sacrifices and if the people didn’t listen they threatened to hurt them. Many people didn’t want to go to the temple to make offerings to the Lord because of their deeds.
God was mad at Eli for not stopping his sons from doing this wicked behavior. Apparently Eli could have stopped his boys but he did nothing to keep them from sinning. God also claims that Eli allowed his sons to take the best meat for all of their benefit. God was angry with him. God then judges Eli by not allowing any of his male offspring to grow old and they will be placed in subservient positions to priests from other lines. God’s judgment is severe because the duties of the priests are extremely important with helping to keep the people free from sin and for living a holy life.
Time has passed and the Philistines have attacked the land of Israel and during the battle Phinehas and Hophni are killed. When Eli hears this news he falls back on his neck and is killed. The Bible states that Eli had become a very large man over the years and when he fell back he broke his neck. This seems to be a bit of irony from the Lord pertaining to Eli and his over indulgence of the meat that he had taken from the temple. Eli’s rule over Israel wasn’t the best but he wasn’t discredited as a bad judge either.
Bible References to Eli
- Exodus 28 and 29 The tribe of Levi is chosen by God to become priest for all of Israel. (28:1) Aaron recieves his annointing to become the first high priest of Israel.
- 1 Samuel 1, 2: 1-11 tells about the story of Hannah and how Eli assures her that God will fulfill her request.
- 1 Samuel 1:25 Eli recieves Samuel from Hannah so he could raise him up for God’s service.
- 1 Samuel 2:12-17 tells about Eli’s wicked sons Hophni and Phinehas.
- 1 Samuel 2:27-36 Elis and his family is Judged by God.
- 1 Samuel 4:16-18 Eli hears about the death of his sons and falls over backwards and dies. He judges Israel for forty years.