The two sons of Eli
(Hophni and Phinehas) were useless and hopeless. Owing to their irresponsible
behaviour, God pronounced the doom that would befall Eli’s family through
Samuel. Theirfather (Eli) knew this but due to his weakness, he could not
caution his sons. The sons of Eli were bad in their behaviour to the extent
that when the people wished to make sacrifice of peace offering on the altar of
the Lord, they would seize them and take their own share with force. They would
take with their fork the portion of the sacrificed meat they preferred in its
raw form as they would not allow it to be cooked. This attitude did not please
God and He punished them for it at a later date.

Eli was a good and just man but failed in his parental duties. As
a result of his inability to caution and discipline his two sons, God
pronounced judgement on the family. God told Samuel in a vision to pronounce
the wrath of God on Eli’s family. When Eli had the message, he did not object
to the decision of God because God had control over His creatures.
The sons of Eli went to war with the Amalekites taking along with
them the ark of God. The Israelites lost the battle and the two sons of Eli
were killed and the ark of God was captured. When Eli heard this, most
especially that the ark of God had been captured, he fell head-long and died in
the process.
Reaction of God to Eli’s lapses were as follows: 

  • The ark of
    God was taken away from Israel.
  • The priestly position was taken away from
    Eli’s family.
  • In the war that was fought, the two sons of Eli were