Neglected parenthood: Lessons from disobedient of Eli and his sinful sons

December 20, 2016
Part two 
The Sin of Hophni and Phinehas
1. They ate raw sacrifice of God even before the fat was burned
The Holy Scripture says that the sons of Eli were sons of Belial (naughty person), (1Sam 2:12).  It is not to mean, being the sons of the High Priest, they do not know about God, His provision, His control over everything, etc. Rather, it is to say that they have not shown the respect and fear due to God. It is to show that they are both knowledgeable and sinners.
Hophni and Phinehas took the offering before it was burnt while it is raw meat and before it was offered to God. Let alone eating the meat from the sacrifice of God, one will answer before God for failure to offer First fruits, Tithe, Firstborn due to carelessness. ‘Tithe’ is from money, ‘first fruits’ from cereals and vegetables, ‘firstborn’ from animals as well as one’s sons.  Offering these is Christian duty.

In the same way the ravenous Hophni and Phinehas were called ‘Belial’ (naughty person) for eating the offering to God before the meat is burnt, before it ascends to God, today there are people who steal from the tithe, first fruit, first born offerings made by Christians in the House of God. The worldly quest of Hophni and Phinehas was unable to save them from their ultimate demise. The same way they fell in the hands of their enemies and were left unburied, those who loot from the House of God, would be smitten with sickness of all sorts, calamity will fall upon them, and will not escape punishment in hell.

Holy Scriptures are written for us to learn from them and this story warns us not to invite harm upon us by endeavoring for worldly ends at the expense of the everlasting spiritual gain, and advises us to decide today to turn away from our sinful paths. As St. Paul in Romans 8: 6 tells us “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
 2.  Committing adultery in front of God’s Tabernacle
Adultery is extremely abhorred by God; and is a sin that stains the entire body. Other sins are committed outside of the body; whereas adultery is committed in one’s own body and hence smears that body with its filth as it is written in (1Cor 6: 18), “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”   
 Hophni and Phinehas used to commit adultery with women in spiritual service in front of God’s Tabernacle. The sin committed by these individuals is of extreme magnitude because they committed adultery in front of the Tabernacle (1Samuel 2:  22).   God is absolutely Holy and Wants us to serve Him in purity. “For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”  (Lev 11:44)  Relying on worldly things instead of God is itself adultery. The prayer, the offering, and the service performed by people while at the same time they rely on the relatives they have, their authority, wealth or knowledge is useless. 

First and for most, adultery in these forms need to be cast aside. Are our services to the Church really performed in cleanliness and spirituality? It is public knowledge that side by side priests and hermits as well as deacons who serve in cleanliness and holiness, there are others who commit adultery, and become headaches to the community of priests and the laity for their audacity for demanding to participate in performance of Church services. The calamity that befell Israel due to the sins of Hophni and Phinehas, could happen to us today and we could lose greatly in missing the blessing of God and suffer His Wrath due to the audacity of people who take part in Church services while being so unclean.

When Israel went out of Egypt and started the journey to the Promised Land, they went through heathen lands. When they settled at Shittim village, men of Israel looked on women of the heathen land with lust.  One Israelite slept with a Midianitish woman at the Tabernacle. Son of the priest Aeron, Alazar’s son Phinehas, jealous for the laws of God, killed both of them by stabbing them with spear on their stomachs. Consequently, God withdrew His Anger and stopped His Wrath. And God promised priesthood to his kin for eternity. “And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel” (Num.25:13). 

Likewise, just like Alazar’s son, Phinehas, today we need to feel the pain the Church suffers and rebuke people who impose themselves to take part in Church services while keeping their bodies unclean. Christians who see unclean people enter the Church to perform services and yet does nothing, while being well aware that good deed is expected of Christians, will face God’s judgment for doing nothing. People are temples of God. We should not be quiet or do nothing when we see our fellow people defile their bodies due to adultery, prejudices, conceit, theft, and other sins. If the people listen to us they would benefit, if they do not, they pile punishment upon themselves (Prov. 25:22). 
3. Extinguished the fire burning in the night at the Tabernacle
Hophni and Phinehas extinguished the light that burn in the night at the Tabernacle as sacrifice for God (1Sam2:28).  Disrupting presentation of sacrifices to God is disrespecting God. God disrespects those who disrespect Him, and respects those who respect Him. “…for them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed” (1Samu 2:30).   Are we bringing the tithe, first fruit, and first born our early fathers used to offer to God?
To be continue…… 
• መጻሕፍተ ነገሥት አርባዕቱ ፤ በአንድምታ ትርጓሜ፤ 2000 ዓ.ም፡፡ ትነሣኤ መሳተሚያ ድርጅት፤ አዲስ አበባ ኢትዮጵያ፡፡ 
(Commentary on the four books of kings: 1Samuel, chapter 4-6 (2008); Tinsae printing press, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.)
• መ/ር ብዙነህ ሺበሺ (ኅዳር 1-15፣ 2008 ዓ.ም ስምዐ ጽድቅ ጋዜጣ)፤ ፄዋ ጽዮን – የጽዮን ምርኮ፤ ገጽ 8-9፡፡  
((Adopted and translated from: Memher Bezuneh Shibeshi (November 11-25, 2015,).The Captivity of Zion. “Sem’atsidk Newspaper” a bimonthly Newspaper published by Mahibere Kidusan.  pp.8-9.) 
• The Holy Bible (KJV)
Translation: Mesfin Zegeye & Kassa Nigus