If you have been counting up to the day that commemorates the outpouring of the Spirit (Shavuot/Pentecost), today is said or thought to be the day Eli’s sons grabbed the Ark and ran out to battle against the Philistines and died. Upon hearing the news, their father, Eli, the high priest falls backward and breaks his neck. Death has occurred in the midst of life, but I will get to that in a moment.
The sons of Eli were wicked. They were sleeping with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
Eli confronts them:
“Why are you doing these things?” Eli said to his sons. “I hear about your wicked deeds from all these people. No, my sons, it is not a good report I hear circulating among the LORD’s people. If a man sins against another man, God can intercede for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?”
“But they would not listen to their father, since the LORD intended to put them to death.”
I Samuel 4:23-25, BSB
Notice when men like Eli’s sons continue to pollute his holy temple, the Holy One shuts their ears. They cannot hear correction in order to repent because they have been warned before and did not fear Adonai. They are like Pharoah who hardens his heart.
A young boy around 12’/13 years old named Samuel is getting ready to prophesy their deaths to their own father, Eli, but they are unaware.
Where does young Samuel sleep?
“Now in those days the word of the LORD was rare and visions were scarce. And at that time Eli, whose eyesight had grown so dim that he could not see, was lying in his room. Before the lamp of God had gone out, Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was located.”
(I Sam.3:1-3, BSB).
If Alive today, Eli’s sons would brag about carrying the Holy Ark where the presence dwelt. They might call it the “Holy Ghost” the Holy Spirit, the Fire, something taught to them. The Ark of the Covenant is a place so Holy that when David longs to move the Ark, Uzza, a man helping carry it, loses his balance, touches the Ark, and is struck dead. The ark and the mercy seat were one piece. The Ark was to be in the center of the camp (our hearts) with the 12 tribes all the way around, and also a guide as they followed it through the wilderness. The ark contained three objects: The law/Torah – Ten Commandments, or Ten Words/sayings, Deuteronomy 10:2. Aaron’s rod – Numbers 17:1, and the pot of manna – Hebrews 9:4.
Eli’s sons thought they could carry His Holy Ark and use it as a means of protection, but they had profaned Holy things. What a fearful place to be in. We can mix the holy with the profane. We can become calloused and numb, not even knowing that we would rather be intimate with a harlot than Adonai, or watch our sons do unthinkable things without putting them outside of the camp.
This counting up to Shavuot and meditating on Holy things is needed I fear. So many things we think we have put down, but later realize we haven’t. So many attempts to do right, or start keeping all of His Commandments because God said so, including counting up to one of the foot festivals. Our feet walk out into the world and we need Yeshua Messiah. He had to wash His disciples feet. We need Him more today than yesterday. We need Him in the heart of our tabernacles.
“From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, you are to count off seven full weeks. 16You shall count off fifty days until the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD.
17Bring two loaves of bread from your dwellings as a wave offering, each made from two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with leaven, as the firstfruits to the LORD.”
The Ark of the Covenant wasn’t a magic box that could be grasped and used as a good luck charm, a rabbit’s foot, an idol, or something trivial, but Eli’s sons did not understand what they had been called to carry or the priestly garments and the holiness behind the anointing oil that had been placed upon their heads. We are called a Holy Priesthood, a royal nation. We too have garments and beauty.
Eli’s sons Hophni and Phinehas accompany the Ark, but shortly they will lay dead. The Philistines will win the battle, slay Hophni and Phinehas, and take the Ark.
Eli knew this. Yahweh has sent a prophet to warn him and was preparing a faithful prophet and judge, Samuel.
Notice the words the prophet speaks concerning Eli’s sons and how Eli has placed them above “holy” Kadosh things. The order is out of order. The out-of-order system we have ruling our nation is as foolish as thinking you can commit adultery and eat the fatted portions that were to be placed on the altar for the Lord and not be punished by death like Aaron’s son’s who offered strange fire. They took all the Holy One’s glory and holiness and profaned it, and they did it right before the high priest, their own father. They did it right before Yahweh, but Yahweh is slow to anger and abounding in love. However, his nostrils were flared. He had had enough.
A Prophecy against the House of Eli
27 Then a man of God came to Eli and told him, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Did I not clearly reveal Myself to your father’s house when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh’s house? 28And out of all the tribes of Israel, I selected your father to be My priest, to offer sacrifices on My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in My presence. I also gave to the house of your father all the offerings of the Israelites made by fire.
29 Why then do you kick at My sacrifice and offering that I have prescribed for My dwelling place? You have honored your sons more than Me by fattening yourselves with the best of all the offerings of My people Israel.’
30Therefore, the LORD, the God of Israel, declares:
‘I did indeed say that your house
and the house of your father
would walk before Me forever.
But now the LORD declares:
Far be it from Me!
For I will honor those, who honor Me,
but those who despise Me will be disdained.
31Behold, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that no older man will be left in your house. 32You will see distress in My dwelling place. Despite all that is good in Israel, no one in your house will ever again reach old age. 33 And every one of you that I do not cut off from My altar, your eyes will fail, and your heart will grieve. All your descendants will die by the sword of men.
34 And this sign shall come to you concerning your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas: They will both die on the same day.”
I Sam. 2:27-34, BSB
what a fearful word to hear concerning Eli’s seed.
And they did just that– they died holding the Glory. When Eli heard it, he dropped dead. Eli was 98 years old. At the news of the death of his sons he stares ahead. The news of the slaughter, his gaze is fixed, but as soon as the ark of YHVH was mentioned, Eli fell backward from his chair by the city gate, and broke his fat neck and died. The story says he was old and “heavy.”
Suddenly a baby cries in the midst of death. It tends to happen like that doesn’t it? Sometimes the new baby helps the family heal and takes the focus off their loss. When Eli dies his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas collapses and gives birth. The distress of the news overtakes her and her labor pains begin. As she is getting ready to face death, the midwife tells her that she is going to have a son. Even in her death she knew her husband was an adulterer and that her father-in-law was old and “heavy.” She pays no attention to her son. Does she even look at him? The passage says, she paid no heed. Nor did she respond to the nurse.
“ And she named the boy Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel,” because the ark of God had been captured and her father-in-law and her husband had been killed. “The glory has departed from Israel,” she said, “for the ark of God has been captured.” (I Sam. 4:21-22.
“The כבוד (abundance, honor, glory) was carried away from Israel,” but the author adds that she named her son Ichabod also because of her father-in-law and husband.
Curiously, one of the very rare instances that the adjective כבד (kabed) is used to denote actual heaviness happens in 1 Samuel 4:18, where the author writes of Eli, Ichabod’s mother’s father-in-law, that he was very heavy. Ichabod is named three verses later.
The name Ichabod may mean any combination of the above words, but most commentators propose that the first part, אי (‘i), is the particle of negation, and the second part, כבוד (kabod), is the noun that means abundance, honor or glory.” (Abarim Publications
As we count up, and if you still need to keep the Omer count, there is still time. It’s never too late to obey. This is not bondage; it’s being obedient. Sometimes, we don’t understand all of the reasons behind the feasts until we start keeping them and digging in and realizing that Pentecost/ Shavuot was also when our wedding vows came forth, and the Torah was given.
During Shavuot, we think about Ruth and her journey from Moab to the House of Bread, and we wave our loaves and sing unto the King of Kings who poured out His Spirit on all flesh. This is not a day when Adonai turned Jews into Christians. If you have been taught that, I warn with tears, it’s a lie.
To be continued.
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