December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 2 and as she worshiped the LORD, she said:
"My heart exults in the LORD,
my horn is exalted in my God.
I have swallowed up my enemies;
I rejoice in my victory.
- There is no Holy One like the LORD;
there in no Rock like our God.
- 3 "Speak boastfully no longer,
nor let arrogance issue from your mouths.
For an all-knowing God is the LORD,
a God who judges deeds.
- The bows of the mighty are broken,
while the tottering gird on strength.
- The well-fed hire themselves out for bread,
while the hungry batten on spoil.
The barren wife bears seven sons, while the mother of many languishes.
- "The LORD puts to death and gives life;
he casts down to the nether world; he raises up again.
- The LORD makes poor and makes rich,
he humbles, he also exalts.
- He raises the needy from the dust;
from the ash heap he lifts up the poor,
To seat them with nobles
and make a glorious throne their heritage.
He gives to the vower his vow,
and blesses the sleep of the just.
"For the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S,
and he has set the world upon them.
- He will guard the footsteps of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall perish in the darkness.
For not by strength does man prevail;
- the LORD'S foes shall be shattered.
The Most High in heaven thunders;
The LORD judges the ends of the earth,
Now may he give strength to his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed!"
- When Elkanah returned home to Ramah, the child remained in the service of the LORD under the priest Eli.
- Now the sons of Eli were wicked; they had respect neither for the LORD
- nor for the priests' duties toward the people. When someone offered a sacrifice, the priest's servant would come with a three-pronged fork, while the meat was still boiling,
- and would thrust it into the basin, kettle, caldron, or pot. Whatever the fork brought up, the priest would keep. That is how all the Israelites were treated who came to the sanctuary at Shiloh.
- In fact, even before the fat was burned, the priest's servant would come and say to the man offering the sacrifice, "Give me some meat to roast for the priest. He will not accept boiled meat from you, only raw meat."
- And if the man protested to him, "Let the fat be burned first as is the custom, then take whatever you wish," he would reply, "No, give it to me now, or else I will take it by force."
- Thus the young men sinned grievously in the presence of the LORD; they treated the offerings to the LORD with disdain.
- 4 Meanwhile the boy Samuel, girt with a linen apron, was serving in the presence of the LORD.
- His mother used to make a little garment for him, which she would bring him each time she went up with her husband to offer the customary sacrifice.
- And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, as they were leaving for home. He would say, "May the LORD repay you with children from this woman for the gift she has made to the LORD!"
- The LORD favored Hannah so that she conceived and gave birth to three more sons and two daughters, while young Samuel grew up in the service of the LORD.
- 5 When Eli was very old, he heard repeatedly how his sons were treating all Israel (and that they were having relations with the women serving at the entry of the meeting tent).
- So he said to them: "Why are you doing such things?
- No, my sons, you must not do these things! It is not a good report that I hear the people of the LORD spreading about you.
- If a man sins against another man, one can intercede for him with the LORD; but if a man sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?" But they disregarded their father's warning, since the LORD had decided on their death.
- Meanwhile, young Samuel was growing in stature and in worth in the estimation of the LORD and of men.
- 6 A man of God came to Eli and said to him: "This is what the LORD says: 'I went so far as to reveal myself to your father's family when they were in Egypt as slaves to the house of Pharaoh.
- 7 I chose them out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priests, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear the ephod before me; and I assigned all the oblations of the Israelites to your father's family.
- Why do you keep a greedy eye on my sacrifices and on the offerings which I have prescribed? And why do you honor your sons in preference to me, fattening yourselves with the choicest part of every offering of my people Israel?'
- This, therefore, is the oracle of the LORD, the God of Israel: 'I said in the past that your family and your father's family should minister in my presence forever. But now,' the LORD declares, 'away with this! for I will honor those who honor me, but those who spurn me shall be accursed.
- Yes, the time is coming when I will break your strength and the strength of your father's family, so that no man in your family shall reach old age.
- You shall witness as a disappointed rival all the benefits enjoyed by Israel, but there shall never be an old man in your family.
- I will permit some of your family to remain at my altar, to wear out their eyes in consuming greed; but the rest of the men of your family shall die by the sword.
- You shall have a sign in what will happen to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas: both shall die on the same day.
- I will choose a faithful priest who shall do what I have in heart and mind. I will establish a lasting house for him which shall function in the presence of my anointed forever.
- Then whoever is left of your family will come to grovel before him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread, and will say: Appoint me, I beg you, to a priestly function, that I may have a morsel of bread to eat.'"
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1 [1-10] A hymn attributed to Hannah, the mother of Samuel, as her thanksgiving to God because she has borne a son despite her previous sterility. She praises God as the helper of the weak (1 Sam 2:1-2), who casts down the mighty and raises up the lowly (1 Sam 2:3-5), and who alone is the source of true strength (1 Sam 2:8-10); the hymn ends with a prayer for the king (1 Sam 2:10). This canticle has several points of resemblance with our Lady's Magnificat.
2  Horn: the symbol of strength; cf Psalm 18:3; 75:5; 89:18; 112:9.
3  Speak . . . mouths: addressed to the enemies mentioned in 1 Sam 2:1.
4  Linen apron: called in Hebrew "ephod," but not the same as the high priest's ephod (Exodus 28:6-14) or the ephod used in divination (1 Sam 2:28). Samuel wore a simple apron such as was worn by the priests (1 Sam 22:18), and on one occasion also by David (2 Sam 6:14).
5  The bracketed words, which recall Exodus 38:8, are a gloss in the received text; they are lacking in the oldest Greek translation, and in a Hebrew manuscript from Qumran.
6 [27-36] These verses propose the punishment of Eli from a point of view contemporary with the reform of Josiah (2 Kings 23:9; cf 1 Sam 2:36); they hint at the events recorded in 1 Sam 22:18-23 and 1 Kings 2:27. The older story of this divine warning is that in 1 Sam 3:11-14
7  Ephod: a portable container, presumably of cloth, for the lots used in ritual consultation of God during the days of the Judges (Judges 17:5; 18:14-15) and down into the time of David (1 Sam 14:3-5; 23:6-8; 30:7-8). The ephod of the high priest described in Exodus 28:6-8 becomes a garment upon which a breastpiece of decision symbolizes, but no longer serves for, such consultation. The Exodus text codifies a later form of the tradition.
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