III. OBSERVING THE DETERIORATION
OF THE DEGRADED AARONIC PRIESTHOOD
While Samuel was learning he observed the deterioration of the degraded Aaronic priesthood (2:12-17, 22-25). This did not weaken Samuel in his future priesthood. Rather, it became a constant warning to him throughout his priestly service.
A. The Two Sons of Eli
Despising the Offerings of Jehovah
The two sons of Eli despised the offerings of Jehovah and took the best flesh of the people’s offerings by force (vv. 12-17). I believe that when Samuel saw this, he must have had a deep impression as a warning to him concerning his future as a priest.
B. The Sons of Eli Committing
Fornication with the Serving Women
The sons of Eli also committed fornication with the serving women (v. 22). How terrible! History tells us that this kind of thing has happened repeatedly among God’s servants. In serving the Lord we cannot avoid having contact with the other sex, but we must learn the lesson to always keep a distance between us and the other sex. We should never stay in a private room with a member of the other sex with the windows covered and the doors closed. That gives the evil one the opportunity to tempt us to fall into sin. The two sons of Eli were caught by this. Concerning this, we should learn from Joseph, who fled from temptation (Gen. 39:7-12), and from Boaz, who was highly appraised for his high standard of morality in his contact with Ruth (Ruth 3:1-14).
C. The Sons of Eli Not Listening
to the Exhortation of Their Father
The sons of Eli would not listen to the exhortation of their father (1 Sam. 2:22-25). Eli attempted to say something to his sons, but it seems that he was somewhat loose and that his exhortation was not very strong, faithful, desperate, and absolute.
D. Eli Honoring His Sons More than Jehovah
According to verse 29 a man of God spoke to Eli, saying, "Why then do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering, which I have commanded in My habitation, and honor your sons more than Me by making yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?" In 3:13 we see that Eli’s sons brought the curse upon themselves, and Eli did not restrain them.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Samuel, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)