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1 Samuel 4:10

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The taking of the ark was a great judgment upon Israel, and a certain token of God's displeasure. Let none think to shelter themselves from the wrath of God, under the cloak of outward profession.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 200

God condemns the negligence that dallies with sin and crime, and the insensibility that is slow to detect its baleful presence in the families of professed Christians. He holds parents accountable in a great degree for the faults and follies of their offspring. God visited with His curse not only the sons of Eli, but Eli himself, and this fearful example should be a warning to the parents of this time. 4T 200.1

As I looked upon the perilous situation of our youth, and was shown how indifferent the parents are to their welfare, my heart was sick and faint; angels were troubled and wept with grief. The youth are passing into the world, and into the hands of Satan. They are becoming less susceptible to the sweet influences of the grace of God, bolder and more defiant, and manifest increasing disregard of eternal interests. I saw Satan planting his banner in the households of those who profess to be God's chosen ones, but those who are walking in the light should be able to discern the difference between the black banner of the adversary and the bloodstained standard of Christ. 4T 200.2

Children should be taught by precept and example. Parents should meet their grave responsibilities with fear and trembling. Fervent prayers should be offered for divine strength and guidance in this task. In many families the seeds of vanity and selfishness are sown in the hearts of the children almost during babyhood. Their cunning little sayings and doings are commented upon and praised in their presence, and repeated with exaggerations to others. The little ones take note of this and swell with self-importance; they presume to interrupt conversations, and become forward and impudent. Flattery and indulgence foster their vanity and willfulness, until the youngest not unfrequently rules the whole family, father and mother included. 4T 200.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 235

What a conclusion! The Lord has a special work to perform through one of the acknowledged gifts, but suffers the message given to be adulterated before it reaches the person whom He wishes to correct! Of what use are the visions if persons regard them in this light? They put their own construction upon them, and feel at liberty to reject that portion which does not agree with their feelings. H knows that every word of the vision given for him in Ohio was correct. And when he could keep the message from the church no longer (for it was called for, and read at the —— Conference last fall), he acknowledged it all true. But he has kept up a blind warfare against that which he knew to be correct. 1T 235.1

He has not ruled well his own house, and for the last ten years has been reproved for this. The frown of God has been upon him because he did not restrain his children. These children have been corrupt and a proverb of reproach, and have exerted a corrupting influence where they have lived. Every time they have been presented before me, I have been carried back to Eli, and shown the wickedness of his ungodly sons and the judgment which followed from God. I have been shown that the family of H has disgusted unbelievers, and brought a reproach upon the cause of present truth. The message given me in the spring of 1858 for Ohio, especially ——, was not received by many. It cut too close, and the hearts that were not deeply imbued with the spirit of the truth, rebelled against it. 1T 235.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 119

I was then referred to the case of Eli. He restrained not his children, and they became wicked and vile, and by their wickedness led Israel astray. When God had made known to Samuel their sins, and the heavy curse that was to follow because Eli restrained them not, He said that their sins should not be purged with sacrifice nor offering forever. When told by Samuel what the Lord had shown him, Eli submitted, saying: “It is the Lord: let Him do what seemeth Him good.” The curse of God soon followed. Those wicked priests were slain, and thirty thousand of Israel were also slain, and the ark of God was taken by their enemies. And when Eli heard that the ark of God was taken, he fell backward and died. All this evil resulted from Eli's neglect to restrain his sons. I saw that if God was so particular as to notice such things anciently, He will be no less particular in these last days. 1T 119.1

Parents must govern their children, correct their passions, and subdue them, or God will surely destroy the children in the day of His fierce anger, and the parents who have not controlled their children will not be blameless. Especially should the servants of God govern their own families and have them in good subjection. I saw that they are not prepared to judge or decide in matters of the church, unless they can rule well their own house. They must first have order at home, and then their judgment and influence will tell in the church. 1T 119.2

I saw that the reason why visions have not been more frequent of late, is, they have not been appreciated by the church. The church have nearly lost their spirituality and faith, and the reproofs and warnings have had but little effect upon them. Many of those who have professed faith in them have not heeded them. 1T 119.3

Some have taken an injudicious course; when they have talked their faith to unbelievers, and the proof has been asked for, they have read a vision, instead of going to the Bible for proof. I saw that this course was inconsistent, and prejudiced unbelievers against the truth. The visions can have no weight with those who have never seen them and know nothing of their spirit. They should not be referred to in such cases. 1T 119.4

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Ellen G. White
Child Guidance, 276

Oh, that the Eli's of today, who are everywhere to be found pleading excuses for the waywardness of their children, would promptly assert their own God-given authority to restrain and correct them. Let parents and guardians, who overlook and excuse sin in those under their care, remember that they thus become accessory to these wrongs. If, instead of unlimited indulgence, the chastening rod were oftener used, not in passion, but with love and prayer, we would see happier families and a better state of society.3 CG 276.1

The neglect of Eli is brought plainly before every father and mother in the land. As the result of his unsanctified affection or his unwillingness to do a disagreeable duty, he reaped a harvest of iniquity in his perverse sons. Both the parent who permitted the wickedness and the children who practiced it were guilty before God, and He would accept no sacrifice or offering for their transgression.4 CG 276.2

Society Cursed by Defective Characters—Oh! when will parents be wise? When will they see and realize the character of their work in neglecting to require obedience and respect according to the instructions of God's Word? The results of this lax training are seen in the children as they go out into the world and take their place at the head of families of their own. They perpetuate the mistakes of their parents. Their defective traits have full scope; and they transmit to others the wrong tastes, habits, and tempers that were permitted to develop in their own characters. Thus they became a curse instead of a blessing to society.5 CG 276.3

The wickedness which exists in the world today may be traced to the neglect of parents to discipline themselves and their children. Thousands upon thousands of Satan's victims are what they are because of the injudicious way in which they were managed during their childhood. The stern rebuke of God is upon this mismanagement.6 CG 276.4

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 514

Their reply showed the real cause of complaint. They lacked faith and courage to drive out the Canaanites. “The hill is not enough for us,” they said; “and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron.” PP 514.1

The power of the God of Israel had been pledged to His people, and had the Ephraimites possessed the courage and faith of Caleb, no enemy could have stood before them. Their evident desire to shun hardship and danger was firmly met by Joshua. “Thou art a great people, and hast great power,” he said; “thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong.” Thus their own arguments were turned against them. Being a great people, as they claimed, they were fully able to make their own way, as did their brethren. With the help of God they need not fear the chariots of iron. PP 514.2

Heretofore Gilgal had been the headquarters of the nation and the seat of the tabernacle. But now the tabernacle was to be removed to the place chosen for its permanent location. This was Shiloh, a little town in the lot of Ephraim. It was near the center of the land, and was easy of access to all the tribes. Here a portion of country had been thoroughly subdued, so that the worshipers would not be molested. “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there.” The tribes that were still encamped when the tabernacle was removed from Gilgal followed it, and pitched near Shiloh. Here these tribes remained until they dispersed to their possessions. PP 514.3

The ark remained at Shiloh for three hundred years, until, because of the sins of Eli's house, it fell into the hands of the Philistines, and Shiloh was ruined. The ark was never returned to the tabernacle here, the sanctuary service was finally transferred to the temple at Jerusalem, and Shiloh fell into insignificance. There are only ruins to mark the spot where it once stood. Long afterward its fate was made use of as a warning to Jerusalem. “Go ye now unto My place which was in Shiloh,” the Lord declared by the prophet Jeremiah, “where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of My people Israel.... Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by My name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.” Jeremiah 7:12-14. PP 514.4

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 622

Saul was in disfavor with God, and yet unwilling to humble his heart in penitence. What he lacked in real piety he would try to make up by his zeal in the forms of religion. Saul was not ignorant of Israel's defeat when the ark of God was brought into the camp by Hophni and Phinehas; and yet, knowing all this, he determined to send for the sacred chest and its attendant priest. Could he by this means inspire confidence in the people, he hoped to reassemble his scattered army and give battle to the Philistines. He would now dispense with Samuel's presence and support, and thus free himself from the prophet's unwelcome criticisms and reproofs. PP 622.1

The Holy Spirit had been granted to Saul to enlighten his understanding and soften his heart. He had received faithful instruction and reproof from the prophet of God. And yet how great was his perversity! The history of Israel's first king presents a sad example of the power of early wrong habits. In his youth Saul did not love and fear God; and that impetuous spirit, not early trained to submission, was ever ready to rebel against divine authority. Those who in their youth cherish a sacred regard for the will of God, and who faithfully perform the duties of their position, will be prepared for higher service in afterlife. But men cannot for years pervert the powers that God has given them, and then, when they choose to change, find these powers fresh and free for an entirely opposite course. PP 622.2

Saul's efforts to arouse the people proved unavailing. Finding his force reduced to six hundred men, he left Gilgal and retired to the fortress at Geba, lately taken from the Philistines. This stronghold was on the south side of a deep, rugged valley, or gorge, a few miles north of the site of Jerusalem. On the north side of the same valley, at Michmash, the Philistine force lay encamped while detachments of troops went out in different directions to ravage the country. PP 622.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 516

Eli was a good man, pure in morals; but he was too indulgent. He incurred the displeasure of God because he did not strengthen the weak points in his character. He did not want to hurt the feelings of anyone and had not the moral courage to rebuke and reprove sin. His sons were vile men; yet he did not remove them from their position of trust. These sons profaned the house of God. He knew this, and felt sad in consequence of it, for he loved purity and righteousness; but he had not sufficient moral force to suppress the evil. He loved peace and harmony, and became more and more insensible to impurity and crime. But the great God takes the matter in hand Himself. When the rebuke falls upon him, through the instrumentality of a child, he accepts it, feeling that it is what he deserves. He does not show any resentment toward Samuel, the messenger of God; he loves him as he has done, but condemns himself. 4T 516.1

The guilty sons of Eli were slain in battle. He could endure to hear that his sons were slain, but he could not bear the news that the ark of God was taken. He knew that his sin of neglect in failing to stand for the right and restrain wrong had at last deprived Israel of her strength and glory. The pallor of death came upon his face, and he fell backward and died. 4T 516.2

What a lesson have we here for parents and guardians of youth, and for those who minister in the service of God. When existing evils are not met and checked, because men have too little courage to reprove wrong, or because they have too little interest or are too indolent to tax their own powers in putting forth earnest efforts to purify the family or the church of God, they are accountable for the evil which may result in consequence of neglect to do their duty. We are just as accountable for evils that we might have checked in others, by reproof, by warning, by exercise of parental or pastoral authority, as if we were guilty of the acts ourselves. 4T 516.3

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