What does 1 Samuel 3:14 mean?
ESV: Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”
NIV: Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, 'The guilt of Eli's house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.''
NASB: Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the wrongdoing of Eli’s house shall never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.'
CSB: Therefore, I have sworn to Eli's family: The iniquity of Eli's family will never be wiped out by either sacrifice or offering."
NLT: So I have vowed that the sins of Eli and his sons will never be forgiven by sacrifices or offerings.'
KJV: And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.
Verse Commentary:
This may be the most sobering part of the Lord's judgment against Eli and his descendants (1 Samuel 2:27–36; 3:11–13). The Lord says their sins will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering. The sacrificial system was the means God established by which those in Israel could have their sins atoned for (or paid for or covered over) by the blood of animals. The Law even allowed for specific offerings to cover the sins of the priests (Leviticus 4:3–12).

The sins of Eli's sons, though, were a special case. They knowingly and willfully sinned (Numbers 15:30–31) by corrupting and scorning the sacrificial system of Israel itself (1 Samuel 2:12–17, 29). So, the Lord's judgment on them was that no sacrifice or offering could cover over their offenses against God. The ones charged with offering sacrifices on behalf of the people could not be forgiven by means of sacrifice because they had so distorted and corrupted the holy practice.

The New Testament is clear that forgiveness from God is available only through the blood of Christ who was crucified to pay the price of our sin (Hebrews 9). Only through faith in Him can any of us be forgiven (Ephesians 2:1–10). However, Hebrews 10:26 warns that those who reject that sacrifice on their behalf and continue sinning face the same danger as Eli's household: "For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries."

Hebrews 10 goes on to say, "How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, 'Vengeance is mine; I will repay.' And again, 'The Lord will judge his people.' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:29–31).
Verse Context:
First Samuel 3:1–14 finds both Samuel and Eli a bit older, though Samuel is still called a boy. Sometime before dawn, Samuel is sleeping in the temple and hears his name called. He runs to Eli, who tells him to go back to bed. When it happens a third time, Eli tells Samuel it is the Lord. The Lord reveals to Samuel that He is going to bring judgment on Eli and his household for Eli's failure to restrain the blasphemy of his sons against the Lord.
Chapter Summary:
Samuel is just a boy when the Lord calls Him to serve as a prophet in Israel. Sleeping in the temple, Samuel hears his name and thinks Eli the priest is calling him. Eli finally tells Samuel it is the Lord. The Lord tells Samuel that He is going to fulfill His judgment against Eli and his household for the sins of Eli's sons and for Eli's failure to restrain them. Samuel delivers the entire message to Eli and begins his lifelong career as an official prophet of the Lord.
Chapter Context:
First Samuel 3 follows the prophecy of judgment against Eli and his household at the end of the previous chapter (1 Samuel 2:27–36) with a repeat of the prophecy through the words of young Samuel. Eli helps the boy to understand the Lord is speaking to him, and Samuel delivers the Lord's harsh message. Eli accepts Samuel's word, passively accepting whatever God will do. The next chapters explain Eli's death and Israel's renewed conflict with the Philistines.
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.
Accessed 4/18/2024 8:39:40 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com