What does 1 Samuel 2:16 mean?This verse ends with the servants of the priests at the temple of the Lord at Shiloh threatening violence against worshipers. Clearly the system of religious practice in Israel was corrupt from the top down. This fits with the understated reference in the book of Judges, which reports that before Israel had a king everyone did whatever they wanted, instead of following the requirements of the Lord (Judges 21:25).
In this case, a faithful Israelite brings an offering to sacrifice to the Lord at the temple in Shiloh. Instead of following the Law or even the normal custom of the time, the priest's servant shows up as the animal is being prepared for the sacrifice and demands some of the meat for the priests to roast. The man bringing the sacrifice recognizes that the priests are skipping a step. They're supposed to offer the fat from the internal organs to the Lord first (Leviticus 3:3–5).
The man does not object to sharing the meat that would normally be his to eat with the priests, but he doesn't want to skip the most important part: the offering to the Lord. Instead of agreeing with the sincere worshiper of the Lord, the priest's servant threatens to take the raw meat by force if it is not handed over.
This goes beyond sly corruption. What's happening is outright and open abuse of power. The priests are acting like an organized crime ring, not servants of God. The people had no other option for bringing offerings to the Lord than to go through the priests designated as Israel's representatives. If those priests were unfaithful to God, what could the people do? No wonder the Lord describes this in the following verse as very great sin (1 Samuel 2:17).