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1 Samuel 4:18

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

When he made mention of the ark of God - Eli bore all the relation till the messenger came to this solemn word; he had trembled before for the ark, and now, hearing that it was captured, he was transfixed with grief, fell down from his seat, and dislocated his neck! Behold the judgments of God! But shall we say that this man, however remiss in the education of his children, and criminal in his indulgence towards his profligate sons, which arose more from the easiness of his disposition than from a desire to encourage vice, is gone to perdition? God forbid! No man ever died with such benevolent and religious feelings, and yet perished.

He had judged Israel forty years - Instead of forty years, the Septuagint has here εικοσι ετη, twenty years. All the other versions, as well as the Hebrew text, have forty years.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

A comparison of 2 Samuel 18:4, explains exactly the meaning of the “side of the gate,” and Eli‘s position. His seat or throne, without a back, stood with the side against the jamb of the gate, leaving the passage through the gate quite clear, but placed so that every one passing through the gate must pass in front of him.

Forty years - This chronological note connects this book with that of Judges. (Compare Judges 3:11, etc.) It is an interesting question, but one very difficult to answer how near to the death of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar the High Priest, Eli‘s forty years of judgeship bring him. It is probable that at least one high priesthood intervened.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The defeat of the army was very grievous to Eli as a judge; the tidings of the death of his two sons, to whom he had been so indulgent, and who, as he had reason to fear, died impenitent, touched him as a father; yet there was a greater concern on his spirit. And when the messenger concluded his story with, "The ark of God is taken," he is struck to the heart, and died immediately. A man may die miserably, yet not die eternally; may come to an untimely end, yet the end be peace.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 651

In this age of the world, children should have strict watchcare. They should be advised and restrained. Eli was cursed of God because he did not promptly and decidedly restrain his wicked sons. There are parents at Battle Creek who are doing no better than did Eli. They are afraid to control their children. They see them serving Satan with a high hand and pass it by as a disagreeable necessity which must be endured because it cannot be cured. 4T 651.1

Every son and daughter should be called to account if absent from home at night. Parents should know what company their children are in and at whose house they spend their evenings. Some children deceive their parents with falsehoods to avoid exposure of their wrong course. There are those who seek the society of corrupt companions and secretly visit saloons and other forbidden places of resort in the city. There are students who visit the billiard rooms, and who engage in card playing, flattering themselves that there is no danger. Since their object is merely amusement, they feel perfectly safe. It is not the lower grade alone who do this. Some who have been carefully reared, and educated to look upon such things with abhorrence, are venturing upon the forbidden ground. 4T 651.2

The young should be controlled by firm principle, that they may rightly improve the powers which God has given them. But youth follow impulse so much and so blindly, without reference to principle, that they are constantly in danger. Since they cannot always have the guidance and protection of parents and guardians they need to be trained to self-reliance and self-control. They must be taught to think and act from conscientious principle. 4T 651.3

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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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