1 Samuel 2:1-36 ERV
1 Samuel 2:1-36 ERV  Hannah said, "My heart is happy in the LORD. I feel very strong in my God. I laugh at my enemies. I am very happy in my victory.  There is no holy God like the LORD. There is no God but you. There is no Rock like our God.  Don't continue bragging. Don't speak proud words, because the LORD God knows everything. He leads and judges people.  The bows of strong soldiers break, and weak people become strong.  People who had plenty of food in the past must now work to get food. But those who were hungry in the past now grow fat on food. The woman who was not able to have children now has seven children. But the woman who had many children is sad because her children are gone.  The LORD causes people to die, and he causes them to live. He sends people down to the grave, and he can raise them up to live again.  The LORD makes some poor, and he makes others rich. He humbles some people, and he honors others.  He raises the poor from the dust, and he takes away their sadness. He makes them important and seats them with princes and at the places for honored guests. The LORD made the whole world, and the whole world belongs to him.  He protects his holy people. He keeps them from stumbling. But evil people will be destroyed. They will fall in the darkness. Their power won't help them win.  The LORD destroys his enemies. God Most High will thunder in heaven against people. The LORD will judge even the lands that are far away. He will give power to his king. He will make his chosen king strong."  Elkanah and his family went home to Ramah, but the boy stayed in Shiloh and served the LORD under Eli the priest.  Eli's sons were evil men who did not care about the LORD.  They did not care about how priests were supposed to treat people. Whenever someone brings a sacrifice, priests are supposed to put the meat in a pot of boiling water. Then their servant is supposed to get the three-pronged fork  and use it to get some meat out of the pot or kettle. The priest is supposed to take whatever his helper removes from the pot with the special fork. This is what the priests should have done for the Israelites who came to offer sacrifices at Shiloh.  But that is not what the sons of Eli did. Even before the fat was burned on the altar, their servant would go to the people offering sacrifices and say, "Give the priest some meat to roast. The priest won't accept boiled meat from you."  Maybe the man offering the sacrifice would say, "Burn the fat first, and then you can take whatever you want." But the servant would answer: "No, give me the meat now. If you don't give it to me, I'll take it from you!"  In this way Hophni and Phinehas showed that they did not respect the offerings made to the LORD. This was a terrible sin against the LORD.  But Samuel served the LORD. He was a helper who wore the linen ephod.  Every year Samuel's mother made a robe for Samuel. She took the little robe to Samuel when she went up to Shiloh with her husband for the sacrifice every year.  Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife. He would say, "May the LORD give you more children through Hannah who will take the place of the boy she prayed for and gave to the LORD." Elkanah and Hannah went home.  The LORD was kind to Hannah, and she had three sons and two daughters. The boy Samuel grew up at the holy place near the LORD.  Eli was very old. He heard about the bad things his sons were doing to the Israelites at Shiloh and how his sons were having sexual relations with the women who served at the door of the Meeting Tent.  Eli said to his sons, "The people here told me about the evil things you have done. Why are you doing such things?  Sons, stop that! The LORD's people are saying bad things about you.  If you sin against other people, God might protect you. But who can help you if you sin against the LORD?" Eli's sons refused to listen to him, so the LORD decided to kill them.  The boy Samuel kept growing. He was pleasing to the LORD and to the people.  A man of God came to Eli and said, "The LORD says, 'I appeared to your ancestors when they were slaves of Pharaoh.  From all the tribes of Israel, I chose your tribe to be my priests. I chose them to offer sacrifices on my altar, to burn incense, and wear the ephod. I also let your tribe have the meat from the sacrifices that the Israelites give to me.  So why don't you respect these gifts and sacrifices? You honor your sons more than me. You become fat eating the best parts of the meat that the Israelites bring to me.'  "The LORD, the God of Israel, promised that your father's family would serve him forever. But now the LORD says, 'That will never be! I will honor people who honor me, but bad things will happen to those who refuse to respect me.  The time is coming when I will destroy all your descendants. No one in your family will live to be an old man.  Good things will happen to Israel, but you will see bad things happening at home. No one in your family will live to be an old man.  There is only one man I will save to serve as priest at my altar. He will live until his eyes wear out and his strength is gone. But all of your descendants will die by the sword.  I will give you a sign to show that these things will come true. Your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will die on the same day.  I will choose a priest I can trust. This priest will listen to me and do what I want. I will make his family strong, and he will always serve before my chosen king.  Then whoever is left in your family will come and bow down before this priest and beg for a little money or a piece of bread. They will say, "Please give me a job as priest so that I can have some food to eat."'"
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