21. “God Will Honor Those Who Honor Him”

Blessings come from honoring the Lord, not from our selfish desires, our fear of correcting those in our stewardship, or our fear of going against the views of the world. In this lesson, Eli’s failures to remove his selfish sons from their place of leadership is contrasted with Hannah and Samuel’s desire to honor the Lord.

“Birth and Calling of the Prophet Samuel: A Literary Reading of the Biblical Text,” Steven L. Olsen, BYU Studies Quarterly 56, no. 1
Samuel is rightly considered to be one of the preeminent personalities of the Hebrew Bible, and his remarkable ministry makes the brief narrative of his birth, childhood, and divine calling worthy of serious examination. Steven Olsen argues that the literary craftsmanship of the text is as expressive of its meaning as are its descriptive contents. He focuses on several recurrent literary conventions that so thoroughly unite the biblical account of Samuel’s birth and divine calling that its craftsmanship aptly serves as a vehicle of its meaning. This study claims that the significance of the story cannot be fully apprehended without an in–depth understanding of the expressive qualities of the text. Recurrent literary conventions that form the interpretive fabric of this account include parallelism, characterization, key words (Leitwörter), type scenes, patterns of customary behavior, and structuring devises like Sternberg’s “play of perspective.”

“Eli and His Sons: Some Lessons for Parents,” Frank F. Judd Jr., Religious Educator 2, no. 2 (2001): 47–51
The sons of Eli earned their bad reputation. They disobeyed the sacrificial rituals and were guilty of sexual immorality. Eli instructed his sons that they did not merely “sin against another” person but rather they did “sin against the Lord” (1 Samuel 2:25). Eli was guilty of neglecting his parental duties toward his sons because “he restrained them not” (1 Samuel 3:13).

We should not assume that parents are culpable for the poor conduct of their children. Many righteous parents earnestly strive to teach their children from their youth the principles of the gospel, yet their children still go astray. At the same time, however, we must not downplay the crucial responsibility of parents to instruct their children.

“The Death of Uzzah,” Brian Ricks, BYU Religious Education 2010 Student Symposium (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2010), 117–126
How could the Lord strike Uzzah dead for steadying the ark? Investigating his full story reveals not one but three stories of those who were struck dead for ark desecration. These three stories not only help explain the Lord’s divine anger toward Uzzah but combine to reveal a historic pattern from which we can learn principles for our day. The death of Uzzah is actually the last of three Old Testament stories about those who desecrated the ark and were slain by the Lord. Each story led directly to the next, so the sudden death of Uzzah cannot be fully understood without starting at the beginning, a full twenty years earlier. Although these three stories follow the same pattern—the ark was desecrated and people were killed—the unique characters, motivations, and divine wrath in each story provide meaningful lessons for us.

“1 Samuel 1–5,” LDS Institute Manual, Old Testament
In these chapters, Hannah consecrates her own life and her son to the Lord. Eli fails to correct his wicked sons. The Ark of the Covenant is lost in battle and returned after it causes disaster among the victors. The Israelites desired a king, and Saul is chosen and anointed.