1 Samuel 2:17

ESV Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the LORD, for the men treated the offering of the LORD with contempt.
NIV This sin of the young men was very great in the LORD's sight, for they were treating the LORD's offering with contempt.
NASB And so the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for the men treated the offering of the Lord disrespectfully.
CSB So the servants' sin was very severe in the presence of the Lord, because the men treated the Lord's offering with contempt.
NLT So the sin of these young men was very serious in the Lord’s sight, for they treated the Lord’s offerings with contempt.
KJV Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.

What does 1 Samuel 2:17 mean?

The previous verses (1 Samuel 1:12–16) described the worst area of priestly corruption at the very heart of Israel's worship of the Lord: that of the sacred offerings. Sacrifices of animals, as commanded by the law of Moses, represented the most clear and obvious way God's people could voluntarily come and make direct contact with Him. This was meant to happen through the representatives He had designated from the tribe of Levi: the priests. What were the people supposed to do if the priests refused to carry out the offerings in a God-honoring way? What if those men instead used their position to claim more of the meat from the offerings for themselves?

Scripture is entirely clear what God thought of these practices. In His sight, these were very great sins. The young men, meaning Eli's sons and perhaps their servants, were treating the offerings with contempt. They behaved as if the offerings to the Lord meant nothing at all. In their minds, this was nothing more than a way to provide food for themselves.

The use of the phrase "young men" may indicate that Eli himself was not involved in these practices directly, but the Lord will hold Eli accountable for scorning the sacrifices and fattening himself with them (1 Samuel 2:29). Eli and his sons eventually paid the ultimate price for their lack or reverence for God and His relationship to His people through the sacrificial system (1 Samuel 2:27–36).
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