What does 1 Samuel 2:30 mean?
ESV: Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
NIV: Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: 'I promised that members of your family would minister before me forever.' But now the LORD declares: 'Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained.
NASB: Therefore the Lord God of Israel declares, ‘I did indeed say that your house and the house of your father was to walk before Me forever’; but now the Lord declares, ‘Far be it from Me—for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be insignificant.
CSB: "Therefore, this is the declaration of the Lord, the God of Israel: 'I did say that your family and your forefather's family would walk before me forever. But now,' this is the Lord's declaration, 'no longer! For those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disgraced.
NLT: Therefore, the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I promised that your branch of the tribe of Levi would always be my priests. But I will honor those who honor me, and I will despise those who think lightly of me.
KJV: Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
NKJV: Therefore the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.
Verse Commentary:
The Lord has brought His charge against Eli through an unnamed prophet. After reminding Eli that He had honored his family with the holy responsibility of the priesthood and the rewards that came with it, the Lord asked the old priest why he has scorned the sacrifices and offerings by honoring his worthless sons (1 Samuel 2:12) over the Lord and His people (1 Samuel 2:27–29).

Now the Lord proclaims His judgment. The Lord starts by saying that He had promised that the descendants of Eli's father's house would forever go in and out before Him, serving in the sanctuary as priests. The Lord is not revoking that promise, but He is announcing that the benefits will not be seen. Eli's family has violated their side of that arrangement. As a result, they cannot expect God to continue to provide what they agreed to. In short, the promise of priesthood will still apply to Aaron's line, but it will eventually move from the line of Aaron's son Ithamar, forefather of Eli, to Aaron's son Eleazar and his descendants (1 Chronicles 24; 1 Kings 2:27–35).

The Lord declares that this will happen because of the principle of reciprocal honor. The Lord honors those who honor Him, but He has little respect for those who despise Him. The Lord elevated Eli and his sons to a place of honor as priests in Israel, and they had responded by scorning the Lord and dishonoring the sacrifices made to Him. The Lord would now remove the honor from them.
Verse Context:
First Samuel 2:27–36 describes a meeting between Eli and an unnamed prophet of the Lord. The anonymous messenger confronts the old priest, as the Lord asks Eli why he has insulted the Lord's sacrifices and honored his own sons over God. For this sin, God will afflict Eli's descendants, causing all who come after him to die young. Eli's own two sons will die on the same day as a sign this is true. The Lord will raise up a faithful priest from another branch of the family line of priests.
Chapter Summary:
After delivering Samuel to the Lord, Hannah offers a poetic prayer of praise. The sons of Eli the priest are evil, depraved men who abuse their power as priests. They coerce worshippers to give them additional meat. They sleep with women who serve at the sanctuary. In contrast, Samuel grows in favor with God and others as he grows up physically. Hannah and Elkanah continue to go to Shiloh yearly; they also have more children. Eli rebukes his sons, but they don't repent. The Lord tells Eli that all his descendants will die young and his two rebellious sons will die on the same day. The Lord will raise up a faithful priest to do His will.
Chapter Context:
The prior chapter explained how Hannah cried out to God for a son, and that her request was granted. First Samuel 2 begins with Hannah's praise to the Lord in response. Samuel remains in Shiloh where he ministers and matures. By contrast, Eli's sons are wicked and abuse their power as priests. A prophet reveals that God will cause all Eli's descendants to die young and his two sons to die on the same day. The Lord will raise up a faithful priest from another part of the family line. This provides background for Samuel's call from God in chapter 3.
Book Summary:
First Samuel introduces the key figures who led Israel after the era of the judges. The books of 1 and 2 Samuel were originally part of a single text, split in certain translations shortly before the birth of Christ. Some of the Bible’s most famous characters are depicted in this book. These including the prophet Samuel, Israel’s first king, Saul, her greatest king, David, and other famous names such as Goliath and Jonathan. By the end of this book, Saul has fallen; the book of 2 Samuel begins with David’s ascension to the throne.
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