1 Samuel 2:22 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Samuel 2:22, NIV: Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

1 Samuel 2:22, ESV: Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

1 Samuel 2:22, KJV: Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

1 Samuel 2:22, NASB: Now Eli was very old; and he heard about everything that his sons were doing to all Israel, and that they slept with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting.

1 Samuel 2:22, NLT: Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle.

1 Samuel 2:22, CSB: Now Eli was very old. He heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they were sleeping with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

What does 1 Samuel 2:22 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

That this verse notes Eli's advanced age likely means that the story has jumped forward in time. But not much seems to have changed. Eli's sons are still behaving as "worthless men" (1 Samuel 2:12). Eli heard what his sons were up to. They were abusing their power as priests over Israel for their own selfish gain (1 Samuel 2:12–17). In doing so, they were sinning against "all Israel." The people would come from near and far to offer sacrifices to the Lord to be at peace with God. The actions of Eli's sons interfered in the relationship between God and His people.

Even further, Eli knows they are having sex with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Hophni and Phinehas were using their positions as priests to sleep with women sent to serve the Lord at the sanctuary in Shiloh. Commentators note these were almost certainly not Canaanite cult prostitutes, but rather Hebrew women serving in some capacity outside the tabernacle. Exodus 38:8 mentions their work in describing the great bronze basin there: "He made the basin of bronze and its stand of bronze, from the mirrors of the ministering women who ministered in the entrance of the tent of meeting."

The tent of meeting was the place where God met with His people. The priests were responsible to keep the lamps burning all night long (Exodus 27:21). The holiness of that place only further highlights the sinfulness of Eli's sons, who took advantage of the women who served there.