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

December 20, 2016

Final Part – 3 

4. They ignored the guidance of their father
Priest Eli heard all the sins of his children and he said unto them, “Why do ye such things? For I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress. If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them”.  (1Sam 2: 23-25)

He advised them but they did not heed Eli’s counsel. As David the prophet in his Psalm said “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” (Ps41:9) Today there are also many sons of Hophni and Phinehas who didn’t heed the counsel of church fathers and become the enemy of mother church although they grew under the guardianship of her embrace. 
One among the commandment of God is, “Honor your father and mother”. Father in this case means fathers who follow in the footsteps of the apostles. Those who called themselves reformists, their fate will be the destiny of Hophni and Afnin for they deny the decision of the Holy Synod and violate the canon and dogma of the church. 
They also insult the church saying “The Church has become old and worn out; we will not be guided by church fathers”. If they say the church becomes old, does it mean Jesus Christ has become Old? Or the teachings of the apostles obsolete? This is impossible, since the church has been established by the blood of Christ and flourished by the apostle’s teachings.  
Is it realistic for those who say they shall renew the church; can interpret the Bible while they are unable to provide the meaning of the Holy Scriptures, even a single word of the Bible? The truth is, the rudeness they show is an indication of their lack of knowledge as the saying goes, “the knowledge of the foolish is his daring. As the Prophet Moses said, “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee”. (Deut. 32:7) The one who hears the Word of God through the mouth of the blessed fathers and puts it their teachings to use will be saved from disaster.  If Eli’s sons had heard their father’s counsel, they would have been saved from the swords of their enemies. 
The Church becomes sad when her children, who grew up under its bosom, get lost. The church prays to the foolish saying, “May God make wise the fool” since her goal is to keep her own children and even to draw those who are outside the door. As our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John10:16)  
God challenged Eli for despising the Lord’s sacrifices and offering.  Eli honored his sons above the Lord. He enjoyed eating the choices parts of the offerings, which his sons stole, from the altar of God. Eli knew what his sons did was wrong.  He spoke to his children about their sin, and warned them that they were sinning against God, but it was not enough to have warned them. He should have stopped them from doing these things.  As the high priest, Eli was at the pinnacle of success in his personal vocation. He held the most important place of religious influence among the nation of Israel. 
He was not himself a wicked man, the narrative clearly showed he had a genuine concern for the things of God. He had a weakness towards his children that the Bible categorized as parental neglect, because he did not restrain his children from their evil behavior.
God was not satisfied with Eli’s weak verbal warnings to his sons. He expected more. Even after receiving the rebuke from the man of God, Eli remained passive and took no action against his sons.  Eli is an example of many passive parents, who lack the courage and backbone to enforce their directions to their children.  Passive parents ruin both their children and their personal testimony by their inaction and unwillingness to discipline their children forcefully.
Had Eli enforced his commands to his children when they were little, he would have spared them from severe judgment as adults.  From Eli’s interactions with his adult children, we can safely assume he was passive parent when his children were little.  His young boys undoubtedly learned that Eli gave warnings but did not enforce them, as do most permissive parents. Because Eli was weak in the face of his children’s disobedience, they grew up believing God was also passive. Eli’s children concluded God was just like their father and would not take any action against their blatant sin.  They did not fear God, because as young children, they never learned to respect their father, Eli. How else would they be so bold as to blaspheme the name of Lord by their shameless conduct as priests before the nation of Israel?
What can we learn from the life of Eli ?
The story of Eli and his sons serves as a lesson to parents for all time.  A holy God will not tolerate sin.  Parents have spiritual responsibility and are accountable for both their actions and their inaction.  Eli’s entire family came to a tragic end because Eli was a passive parent.  Eli laid the foundation for his sons’ destruction through his neglect of personal leadership and instruction when they were young and teachable.  From his conduct when they were adults, we can justly conclude Eli had not restrained his young children from their natural selfish inclinations.  
Perhaps Eli and his wife thought their little headstrong boys were cute, and laughed together about their antics when they were little boys.  However, when selfish, self-centered children grow up to become adults without love and reverence for God, there is nothing cute about it.  Eli’s entire family was disgraced, and his children died in battle.  Eli’s sons blasphemed the Lord’s name by their evil behavior; God is a holy, but avenging God.
Parenting is an awesome responsibility and parents must vigorously enforce their commands.  Permissively raised children learn to despise both their parents’ and God’s authority.  God holds parents accountable for how they raise their children.  The Bible account of Eli provides a clear warning to modern parents against being passive about the discipline of their children.
The Ark is an example of the laity. As The Ark of Zion is God’s dwelling, so is the body of the laity God’s dwelling as the apostle Paul said “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19) 
In the same way as the Ark of Zion was let to be captured due to the wicked behavior of the two sons of Eli, the grace of God will be taken from believers when they go out of His will and spoil themselves to the devil.
• Commentary on the four books of kings: 1Samuel, chapter 4-7 (2008); Tinsae printing press, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.)
• 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)
• ——- ,When Parents Fail: The Bible Story of Samuel and the Evil Sons of Eli the Priest. Retrieved from ( on December 14, 2016. 
Translation: Mesfin Zegeye & Kassa Nigus