1 Kingdoms 2:18-4:22
18 As a young boy, Samuel was serving before the Lord wearing a linen ephod of a servant. 19 Moreover, his mother used to make him a little robe, and bring it to him once a year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, “May the Lord repay you with a seed from this woman, in return for the loan you made to the Lord.” Then the man went to his place. 21 And the Lord watched over Hannah, and she bore three more sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew and matured before the Lord.
A Prophecy against Eli’s House
22 Now Eli was very, very old and he heard what his sons did to the sons of Israel. 23 So he said to them, “Why are you doing what I hear from the mouth of all the people of the Lord? 24 No, my sons! For the report I hear is not good. Do not act in this manner, for the reports I hear are not good, causing the people not to serve God. 25 If one man sins against another, they will pray to the Lord for him. But if a man sins against the Lord, who will pray for him?” Nevertheless they did not heed their father’s voice, so the Lord desired to destroy them. 26 But the child Samuel led his life and he grew and matured and found favor both with the Lord and with men.
27 Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘I clearly revealed Myself to the house of your father when they were slaves in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house. 28 I chose the house of your father out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to go to My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod before Me. And I gave to the house of your father, and to the sons of Israel, food from all the offerings of fire. 29 Why do you regard My incense and My sacrifice with impudent eyes and honor your sons more than Me; to bless yourselves with the best of all the first fruits of Israel set before Me?’ 30 Therefore the Lord God of Israel says, ‘I said indeed that your house and your father’s house would walk before Me forever.’ But now the Lord says, ‘Far be it from Me, for I will honor those who honor Me, and the one who despises Me shall be dishonored. 31 Behold, the days are coming that I will destroy your seed and the seed of the house of your father. 32 And there shall not be an old man descended from you in My house forever. 33 But for you—I will not destroy a man from My altar even though his eyes have failed and his life has drained away. But all the descendants of your house shall fall by men’s swords.
34 ‘Now this shall be the sign to you that will come upon your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas. In one day both of them shall die. 35 Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do all that is in My heart and in My soul. I will build him a faithful house, and he shall walk before My Christ forever. 36 And it shall come to pass that everyone who remains in your house will, for a small amount of silver, prostrate before him begging, “Place me in the priesthood, so I may eat one loaf of bread?” ’ ”
The Lord Speaks to Samuel
1 The boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli the priest. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no discerning vision. 2 So on that day, while Eli was lying down in his place, his eyes were starting to grow heavy, barely able to see. 3 Before the lamp of God went out, and while Samuel was asleep in the temple where the ark of God was, 4 the Lord called, “Samuel, Samuel.” Samuel answered, “Here I am!” 5 So he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” And Eli said, “I did not call you. Return and lie down.” So he returned and lay down. 6 Then the Lord called again, “Samuel, Samuel!” So Samuel went to Eli a second time, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Eli answered, “I did not call you. Return and lie down.”
7 Now this all happened before Samuel knew the Lord, and before the word of the Lord was revealed to him. 8 And the Lord called Samuel again a third time. Then he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy. 9 And he said, “Return, lie down, my child; and if He calls you, you must say, ‘O Lord, speak, for Your servant hears.’ ” So Samuel went and fell asleep in his place.
10 And the Lord came, and stood and called as before. So Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” 11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold! I shall execute My words in Israel, and for everyone hearing them, both ears will tingle. 12 In that day, I will raise up against Eli everything I spoke concerning his house. This I will begin, and I will finish it. 13 For I announced to him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity of his sons. For his sons reviled God, and he did not correct them in any way. 14 I swore to the house of Eli that the iniquity of the house of Eli shall never be atoned for with incense or with sacrifice.”
15 So Samuel fell asleep and rose early in the morning. He opened the doors of the Lord’s house. But Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision. 16 Then Eli called to Samuel, “Samuel, my child!” And he answered, “Here I am.” 17 And Eli said, “What was the report the Lord spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. May God do these things to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of what He said to you.” 18 Then Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And Eli said, “He is the Lord. He will do what seems good to Him.”
19 So Samuel grew and matured, and the Lord was with him, and not one of his words fell to the ground. 20 And all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, knew that Samuel was faithful as a prophet of the Lord. 21 The Lord appeared in Shiloh again, for the Lord was revealed to Samuel. And all Israel, from one end of the land to the other, believed Samuel to be a prophet of the Lord. By now Eli was an exceedingly old man, and his sons continued living as they did. And their way was evil before the Lord.
The Ark of the Covenant Captured
1 Now in those days the Philistines gathered into battle against Israel, and Israel went out to meet them in battle and encamped beside Ebenezer. The Philistines encamped in Aphek. 2 And the Philistines prepared battle plans against Israel, and the battle turned against Israel, and the men of Israel fell before the Philistines. About four thousand men were struck down in the battle lines. 3 And when the people came into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why did the Lord cause us to be defeated today before the Philistines? Let us take the ark of our God out from Shiloh and let it proceed from the midst of us, and it will save us from the hand of our enemies.” 4 So the people sent to Shiloh, and from there they brought out the ark of the covenant of the Lord, who is seated between the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark.
5 And when the ark of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a loud voice, and the earth shook. 6 Now when the Philistines heard the shout, the Philistines said, “What is this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews?” Then they understood that the ark of the Lord was in the camp. 7 And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “These are the gods that have come into the camp! Woe to us! Deliver us today, Lord, for such a thing has never happened before. 8 Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all the plagues in the desert. 9 Be strong and conduct yourselves like men, you Philistines, so that you do not become servants of the Hebrews, even as they previously served us. Conduct yourselves like men and fight them!” 10 So they fought them, and the men of Israel were defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and thirty thousand troops of Israel fell. 11 The ark of God was captured, and the two sons of Eli died, Hophni and Phinehas.
The Death of Eli
12 Then a man of Benjamin ran from the battle line, and on that day he came to Shiloh with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. 13 Behold! When he arrived, Eli was sitting on a seat by the gate watching the road, for his heart was bewildered about the ark of God. And when the man entered the city and reported it, the city cried out. 14 When Eli heard the noise of the outcry, he said, “What is the sound of this outcry?” And the man came quickly and told Eli. 15 Eli was ninety years old, and his eyes looked up and he could not see. Then Eli said to the men standing around him, “What is this roaring sound?” 16 Then the man who came quickly to Eli said to him, “I am the one who came from the camp, who fled today from the battle line.” And he said, “What happened, my child?” 17 So the young man answered and said, “The men of Israel fled before the Philistines, and there was a great slaughter among the people, and your two sons died. And the ark of God was captured.”
18 And it came to pass, as Eli remembered the ark of God, he fell backward from the seat by the side of the gate and broke his back and died, for the man was old and heavy. He judged Israel for twenty years.
19 Now Eli’s daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, was pregnant, about to give birth. When she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she crouched down and gave birth, for her labor pains came upon her. 20 And in her time of delivery, when she was at the point of death, the women standing at her side said to her, “Do not fear, you have borne a son.” But she did not answer, and her heart did not understand. 21 Woe, Ichabod, is what she named the young boy, for the sake of the ark of God, for her father-in-law, and for her husband. 22 And they said, “The glory of Israel is exiled from its home, for the ark of God is taken.”
1 A psalm for Asaph.
O God, the nations entered Your inheritance;
They defiled Your holy temple;
They left Jerusalem in ruins.
2 They left the dead bodies of Your servants
As food for the birds of heaven,
The flesh of Your saints for the wild animals of the earth;
3 Their blood flowed like water around Jerusalem,
And there was no one to bury them.
4 We were made a disgrace to our neighbors,
A scorn and a mockery to those around us.
5 How long, O Lord? Will You be angry to the end?
Will Your jealousy burn like fire?
6 Pour out Your wrath on the nations that do not know You,
And on the kingdoms that did not call upon Your name;
7 For they devoured Jacob
And made his dwelling place desolate.
8 Do not remember our transgressions of old;
Let Your mercies quickly overtake us,
For we have become very poor.
9 Help us, O God our savior;
Because of the glory of Your name, O Lord, save us,
And be merciful to our sins because of Your name;
10 Let the nations never say, “Where is their God?”
And let it be known among the nations before our eyes:
There is vengeance for the shed blood of Your servants.
11 Let the groaning of those in prison enter before You;
According to the greatness of Your arm,
Preserve the sons of those who were killed.
12 Repay our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom
Their reproach by which they reviled You, O Lord.
13 For we are Your people and the sheep of Your pasture;
We shall give thanks to You freely and openly forever;
From generation to generation we will proclaim Your praise.
26 A perverse man spreads evil things,
And a torch of deceit kindles evils and separates friends.
27 A lawless man makes a trial of friends
And leads them in ways not good.
28 A man sets his eyes to calculate perverse things
And determines every evil thing with his lips;
This man is a furnace of wickedness.
29 Old age is a crown of dignity,
But it is found in the ways of righteousness.
30 A patient man is better than a strong man,
And he who controls his temper is better than he who captures a city.
31 All evil things come into the bosoms of the unrighteous,
But all righteous things come from the Lord.
1 Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him,
2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons,
3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.
The Parable of the Sower
(Matt. 13:1–9; Mark 4:1–9)
4 And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable:
5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it.
6 “Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture.
7 “And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it.
8 “But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
The Purpose of Parables
(Matt. 13:10–17; Mark 4:10–12)
9 Then His disciples asked Him, saying, “What does this parable mean?”
10 And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that
‘Seeing they may not see,
And hearing they may not understand.’
The Parable of the Sower Explained
(Matt. 13:18–23; Mark 4:13–20)
11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12 “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13 “But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.
14 “Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
15 “But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.
The Parable of the Revealed Light
16 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light.
17 “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.
18 “Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers Come to Him
(Matt. 12:46–50, Mark 3:31–35)
19 Then His mother and brothers came to Him, and could not approach Him because of the crowd.
20 And it was told Him by some, who said, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You.”
21 But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”
Wind and Wave Obey Jesus
(Matt. 8:23–27; Mark 4:35–41)
22 Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out.
23 But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy.
24 And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm.
25 But He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!”
One Reply to “Day 95 – April 5, 2022”
Beautiful commentary, Fr Alexis. Thank you so much for your wise, encouraging words.