Eli and Samuel on fathering

September 3, 2011 at 7:26 pm Leave a comment

I’m currently going through 1 Samuel with my family.

Looking at the lives of Eli and Samuel in the first few chapters, it’s notable how fathering is passed down.

Eli did not raise his sons to fear God and serve him:

[12] Now the sons of Eli [were] sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD. … [22] Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled [at] the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. [23] And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. [24] Nay, my sons; for [it is] no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD’S people to transgress. [25] If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them. – 1Sa 2:12, 22-25 KJV

Eli did however seem to do a better job raising Samuel – or perhaps it was God’s hand at work in spite of Eli:

[19] And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. [20] And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel [was] established [to be] a prophet of the LORD. – 1Sa 3:19-20 KJV

However, Samuel’s sons were also reprobate. How is it that such righteous wise men raised sons who did not walk with God?

[1] And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. [2] Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: [they were] judges in Beersheba. [3] And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment. – 1Sa 8:1-3 KJV

To a father it is a big help to see other men raising their families in a godly way – it has helped me to be inspired about my children and how I can “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph 6:4).

Fathering without godly example so easily results in disaster, as we see with Samuel’s lack of effective fathering of his sons – following Eli’s example.

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