1 Samuel 2:23

ESV And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people.
NIV So he said to them, 'Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours.
NASB So he said to them, 'Why are you doing such things as these, the evil things that I hear from all these people?
CSB He said to them, "Why are you doing these things? I have heard about your evil actions from all these people.
NLT Eli said to them, 'I have been hearing reports from all the people about the wicked things you are doing. Why do you keep sinning?
KJV And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.

What does 1 Samuel 2:23 mean?

Eli, now very old, rebukes his sons for their sinful behaviors as priests of the Lord—sins against God and the people of Israel. Scripture often condenses conversations into simple statements, so it's not clear if this was a one-time rebuke or an ongoing conversation. One wonders how long Eli knew about their crimes, or how passive he was to let such things happen. Whatever the discussion between the father and his sons, it was entirely ineffective (1 Samuel 2:25).

The aging priest asks his sons why they do such things. He tells them about reports from many people about their actions. Eli specifically calls what they have been doing evil. Their immorality included abusing their power to take extra meat from the sacrifices for themselves (1 Samuel 2:12–17). It also meant taking advantage of the women who served outside the tent of meeting (1 Samuel 2:22).

Many parents can empathize with Eli's first question: Why did you do that? God will hold Eli responsible for the sins of his household (1 Samuel 2:27–36), since he clearly failed to address them in a timely way. Yet, as many parents are when they see their children fall into sin, the old priest seems baffled his sons would so brazenly sin against God in their role as priests over Israel.
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