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When Leaders Fail    1 Sam.2:22-25; 3:11-21    June 06, 2010


        Do parents affect the lives of their children? Are parents always to blame when a child goes bad?  Not always.  God's first children Adam and Eve went astray.

Look around today and ask yourself where is God’s Word at work. Locally and in our nation. There are some significant works of the Lord happening and we ought to take note. Do leaders make a difference?


1.   When Leaders Fail: It May Effect Their Children. 2:22-25

 22 Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel,* and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 23 So he said to them, "Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. 24 No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the Lord 's people transgress. 25 If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the Lord , who will intercede for him?" Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the Lord desired to kill them. NKJV


(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)

Verse 22

a [very old] Samuel was brought to Eli toward the end of his forty years as high priest, or at least toward the middle of this judgeship. This would give Samuel several years in which to be properly trained and become known in Israel by the time he began his judgeship of forty years at the death of Eli, as implied in 1 Sam 2:22-26; 4:18.

b [women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation] These women were of a special class which devoted themselves to the tabernacle service. They had relinquished all worldly connections and home life to be devoted as holy women. This class began in the time of Moses (Ex 38:8), and continued to the time of Christ (Luke 2:37). It would have been better had these women of Eli's time not offered themselves for the tabernacle work, because they let the priests commit sin with them.

Verse 23

a [Why do ye such things? ... if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him?] Questions 6-7. Next, 1 Sam 2:27.

Verse 25

a [If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him] All sins of men against men can be settled by the proper judge, but who will reconcile a man to his Maker — the Supreme Judge — if one sins against Him? The Bible answers this question: Christ is the One who mediates man's cause with God; He is the covering for the sins of all men who avail themselves of reconciliation (Matt 26:28; John 3:16; Rom 1:16; 5; 8:1-13; 1 Cor 6:9-11; 2 Cor 5:14-21; Col 1:20-21; 1 Tim 2:4-5; 1 John 1:7-9).

b [Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them] The priests continued in sin, so God determined to destroy them (1 Sam 4:11).

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)

(Ryrie Study Bible.)

2:22 women who served not as priests but by helping in some way. See note on Ex 38:8.

2:24 the LORD's people circulating. Lit., causing the people of the Lord to transgress.

2:25 for the LORD ... The preposition may denote result; i.e, "therefore the Lord ..." Note the severe consequences of this sinning against God. (Ryrie Study Bible.)

(Life Application Study Bible.)

2:23-25 Eli's sons knew better, but they continued to disobey God deliberately by cheating, seducing, and robbing the people. Therefore, God planned to kill them. Any sin is wrong, but sin carried out deliberately and deceitfully is the worst kind. When we sin out of ignorance, we deserve punishment. But when we sin intentionally, the consequences will be more severe. Don't ignore God's warnings about sin. Abandon sin before it becomes a way of life.

2:25 Does a loving God really will or want to put people to death? Consider the situation in the Tabernacle. A person made an offering in order to have his sins forgiven, and Eli's sons stole the offering and made a sham of the person's repentant attitude. God, in his love for Israel, could not permit this situation to continue. He allowed Eli's sons to die as a result of their own boastful presumption. They took the Ark into battle, thinking it would protect them. But God withdrew his protection, and the wicked sons of Eli were killed (4:10,11). Life Application Study Bible.)

2.   When Leaders Fail: The Lord Is Still In Ultimate Control. 3:11-18

 11 Then the Lord said to Samuel: "Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.

12 In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.

13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them.

14 And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever."

15 So Samuel lay down until morning,* and opened the doors of the house of the Lord . And Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision.

16 Then Eli called Samuel and said, "Samuel, my son!" He answered, "Here I am."

17 And he said, "What is the word that the Lord spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the things that He said to you."

18 Then Samuel told him everything, and hid nothing from him. And he said, "It is the Lord . Let Him do what seems good to Him." NKJV

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)

Four Predictions by Samuel (1 Samuel 3:11)

1.    I will do a new thing in Israel, at which all ears will tingle (1 Sam 3:11). When Israel shall hear of it they shall be astounded and it shall continue to ring in the ears of all men.

2.    In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house (1 Sam 3:12). What God had spoken is recorded in 1 Sam 2:27-36. This bold prophecy would make all Israel astonished, for it affected their high priest, his house, and the change of priesthoods entirely to another line of men of Levi (1 Kings 2:26-27).

3.    When I begin, I will also make an end (1 Sam 3:12). This began in 1 Sam 4 with the immediate destruction of the tabernacle, the defeat of Israel, the killing of the priests of the house of Eli, the capture of the ark, and the subjugation of Israel to the Philistines; and it continued with partial fulfillment of certain punishments upon the house of Eli until it came to an end in the days of Solomon (1 Kings 2:26-27). The reason for this judgment is stated again in 1 Sam 3:13-14. See 1 Sam 2:12-17,22-26,29-30.

4.    The house of Eli shall not be purged of their iniquity with sacrifice and offering forever (1 Sam 3:14).

Verse 15

a [opened the doors of the house of the LORD] This was one of Samuel's duties — he was a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord (cp. 1 Chron 15:23-24). One psalmist said he preferred to be a doorkeeper in God's house than to dwell in the tents of wickedness (Ps 84:10).

b [feared to shew Eli the vision] Samuel loved Eli and was afraid to tell him the message — not from fear of punishment, but because he didn't want to distress the old priest whom he respected as a father and spiritual guide. God didn't tell Samuel to deliver the message, so he didn't until Eli commanded him to (1 Sam 3:15-18).

Verse 17

a [What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee?] Question 12. Next, 1 Sam 4:3.

b [God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee] Whatever judgments were to fall upon Eli and his house were pronounced by him upon Samuel, if he would not tell all the message of God.

Verse 18

a [whit] Hebrew: dabar (OT:1697), word, commandment, matter. The Anglo-Saxon whit means bit; i.e., every detail of all the words.

b [It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good] Eli was godly enough to acknowledge God's message and submit to His judgment. He knew the Lord would do what was right, even in judgment. This gave him time to prepare to meet God and set his house in order. Genuine repentance on the part of Eli and his sons would have averted the judgment.

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)

(Ryrie Study Bible.)

3:11-14 Samuel's first test as a prophet was to bring an ear-tingling message of doom to Eli. He passed the test (v. 18).

3:13 The epitome of a tragic family situation: rebellious children and failure in the area of parental discipline.

(Ryrie Study Bible.)

(Life Application Study Bible.)

3:13 Eli had spent his entire life in service to God. His responsibility was to oversee all the worship in Israel. But in pursuing this great mission he neglected the responsibilities in his own home. Don't let your desire to do God's work cause you to neglect your family. If you do, your mission may degenerate into a quest for personal importance, and your family will suffer the consequences of your neglect.


3.   When Leaders Fail: God Still Speaks Through and Honors His Word. 3:19-25

19 So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the Lord . 21 Then the Lord appeared again in Shiloh. For the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord . NKJV

( Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)

                Twelve Facts: Samuel's Life Story (1 Sam 3:19)

1.    He was weaned (1 Sam 1:23-24)

2.    Lent to the Lord as a Nazarite (1 Sam 1:11,24-28)

3.    Ministered to the Lord (1 Sam 2:11,18; 3:1)

4.    Grew in body and spirit (1 Sam 2:26; 3:19)

5.    Had favor with God and men (1 Sam 2:26; 3:19)

6.    Became God's prophet (1 Sam 3)

7.    Was acknowledged as a true prophet of God by all Israel (1 Sam 3:19-21; 4:1)

8.    Became the sixteenth judge of Israel (1 Sam 7:15-17)

9.    Delivered Israel from the Philistines by miracles (1 Sam 7:1-14)

10.  Initiated kingdom of Israel (1 Sam 8-12)

11.  Rejected Saul and anointed David as king (1 Sam 15:1-16:13)

12.  Spent last days as a judge (1 Sam 7:15; 19:18-24; 25:1)

Verse 20

a [all Israel from Dan even to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD]

Verse 21

a [appeared again in Shiloh] This was a second appearance of God to Samuel in Shiloh, of which nothing more is said (cp. 1 Sam 3:1-18).

b [by the word of the LORD] "By the word of the Lord" simply means by the spirit of prophecy.


All Israel Knew Samuel (1 Sam 3:20)

All Israel was conscious of the fact that Samuel was God's chosen leader in place of Eli and the priests. Never did a priest of Eli's house rule in Israel again as judge or king. All in his family were either under Samuel, the last judge, or under kings until the house of Eli was destroyed (1 Kings 2:26-27). Israel turned to Samuel instead of anyone left of the house of Eli (1 Sam 1:20; 7). To say that Samuel was the first of the prophets and the last of the judges is only half true; for, whereas there was no other judge after him, there were other prophets before him (1 Sam 2:27; Gen 20:7; Ex 7:1; Deut 18:18; 34:10; Judg 6:8; Acts 3:21). His own mother was a prophetess, and so was Miriam as well as Deborah (1 Sam 2:1-10; Ex 15:20; Judg 4:4).

(from Dake Annotated Reference Bible © 2007 by Dake Publishing. All rights reserved in U.S.A. and Other Countries.)

(Ryrie Study Bible.)

1 Samuel 3:20

3:20 The expression "from Dan even to Beersheba" (about 150 mi., or 241 km) denotes the whole territory of Israel from its northernmost to its southernmost extremity (cf. Judg 20:1).

(Ryrie Study Bible.)