Then Hannah prayed: "My heart rejoices in the LORD! Oh, how the LORD has blessed me! Now I have an answer for my enemies, as I delight in your deliverance.
No one is holy like the LORD! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
"Stop acting so proud and haughty! Don't speak with such arrogance! The LORD is a God who knows your deeds; and he will judge you for what you have done.
Those who were mighty are mighty no more; and those who were weak are now strong.
Those who were well fed are now starving; and those who were starving are now full. The barren woman now has seven children; but the woman with many children will have no more.
The LORD brings both death and life; he brings some down to the grave but raises others up.
The LORD makes one poor and another rich; he brings one down and lifts another up.
He lifts the poor from the dust -- yes, from a pile of ashes! He treats them like princes, placing them in seats of honor. "For all the earth is the LORD's, and he has set the world in order.
He will protect his godly ones, but the wicked will perish in darkness. No one will succeed by strength alone.
Those who fight against the LORD will be broken. He thunders against them from heaven; the LORD judges throughout the earth. He gives mighty strength to his king; he increases the might of his anointed one."
Then Elkanah and Hannah returned home to Ramah without Samuel. And the boy became the LORD's helper, for he assisted Eli the priest.
Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels who had no respect for the LORD
or for their duties as priests. Whenever anyone offered a sacrifice, Eli's sons would send over a servant with a three-pronged fork. While the meat of the sacrificed animal was still boiling,
the servant would stick the fork into the pot and demand that whatever it brought up be given to Eli's sons. All the Israelites who came to worship at Shiloh were treated this way.
Sometimes the servant would come even before the animal's fat had been burned on the altar. He would demand raw meat before it had been boiled so that it could be used for roasting.
The man offering the sacrifice might reply, "Take as much as you want, but the fat must first be burned." Then the servant would demand, "No, give it to me now, or I'll take it by force."
So the sin of these young men was very serious in the LORD's sight, for they treated the LORD's offerings with contempt.
Now Samuel, though only a boy, was the LORD's helper. He wore a linen tunic just like that of a priest. a19
Each year his mother made a small coat for him and brought it to him when she came with her husband for the sacrifice.
Before they returned home, Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, "May the LORD give you other children to take the place of this one she gave to the LORD. b "
And the LORD gave Hannah three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD.
Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle. c23
Eli said to them, "I have been hearing reports from the people about the wicked things you are doing. Why do you keep sinning?
You must stop, my sons! The reports I hear among the LORD's people are not good.
If someone sins against another person, God d can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the LORD, who can intercede?" But Eli's sons wouldn't listen to their father, for the LORD was already planning to put them to death.
Meanwhile, as young Samuel grew taller, he also continued to gain favor with the LORD and with the people.
One day a prophet came to Eli and gave him this message from the LORD: "Didn't I reveal myself to your ancestors when the people of Israel were slaves in Egypt?
I chose your ancestor Aaron e from among all his relatives to be my priest, to offer sacrifices on my altar, to burn incense, and to wear the priestly garments f as he served me. And I assigned the sacrificial offerings to you priests.
So why do you scorn my sacrifices and offerings? Why do you honor your sons more than me -- for you and they have become fat from the best offerings of my people!
"Therefore, the LORD, the God of Israel, says: The terrible things you are doing cannot continue! I had promised that your branch of the tribe of Levi g would always be my priests. But I will honor only those who honor me, and I will despise those who despise me.
I will put an end to your family, so it will no longer serve as my priests. All the members of your family will die before their time. None will live to a ripe old age.
You will watch with envy as I pour out prosperity on the people of Israel. But no members of your family will ever live out their days.
Those who are left alive will live in sadness and grief, and their children will die a violent death. h34
And to prove that what I have said will come true, I will cause your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, to die on the same day!
"Then I will raise up a faithful priest who will serve me and do what I tell him to do. I will bless his descendants, and his family will be priests to my anointed kings forever.
Then all of your descendants will bow before his descendants, begging for money and food. 'Please,' they will say, 'give us jobs among the priests so we will have enough to eat.'"
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)