What does 1 Samuel 2:33 mean?
ESV: The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his eyes out to grieve his heart, and all the descendants of your house shall die by the sword of men.
NIV: Every one of you that I do not cut off from serving at my altar I will spare only to destroy your sight and sap your strength, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life.
NASB: Yet I will not cut off every man of yours from My altar, so that your eyes will fail from weeping and your soul grieve, and all the increase of your house will die in the prime of life.
CSB: Any man from your family I do not cut off from my altar will bring grief and sadness to you. All your descendants will die violently.
NLT: The few not cut off from serving at my altar will survive, but only so their eyes can go blind and their hearts break, and their children will die a violent death.
KJV: And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age.
Verse Commentary:
Through an unnamed prophet, the Lord is declaring judgment on Eli, the priest of Israel. The prediction concerns what will become of his descendants. In short, none of the men among those in his line will live to old age. All of them will die young (1 Samuel 2:31–32).

Now the Lord adds that one man in Eli's line will not die young: Eli himself. He will not be cut off from serving at God's altar in the prime of his life. Instead, he will weep his eyes out and his heart will be grieved (1 Samuel 4:12–22). Eli will not live to see it, of course, but the Lord declares to the old priest that all the sons to follow from him will die at a young age. Some commentators and translations disagree as to whether the Hebrew should be translated to imply that Eli's descendants will die "by the sword," or "in the prime of life" (NIV).
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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