October 8, 2023 – 1 Samuel 2 – 4

Lesson Date: October 8, 2023

Focal Scripture Passage: 1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22-31, 34-35; 3:1-4, 11-14, 19-21; 4:1-4, 10-11, 15-18

AIM: To lead students to discover how God removed a family of wicked priests and replaced them with a faithful priest, and to examine themselves for any signs of corruption in their lives.


Before class: Read the notes on 1 Samuel 2 – 4 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Write the words, “Corruption in the Ministry” on the board.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the words, “Corruption in the Ministry” written on the board.

Ask: “What do you think of when you see those words?” (they probably recall news stories they have heard about ministers who do bad things).

Ask: “What kinds of bad things do we hear that some people in ministry do?” (the two we most commonly hear about are sexual abuse and financial theft).

Tell the class in spite of the fact that Christian preachers and ministers are supposed to be genuine believers who have been called by God, some people merely “choose” the ministry without actually having a relationship with Jesus or a calling from Him.  Tell them in addition to those unsaved people in the ministry, sometimes genuinely saved ministers let down their guard and become involved in sinful behavior.

Ask: “What impact do reports of theft, corruption, and sexual misconduct have on people inside and outside the church?” (some become disillusioned and leave the church; others assume all ministers are corrupt, so they want nothing to do with the church).  Stress the fact that corruption in the ministry hurts the cause of Christ, the local church, its members, and the whole community.

Tell the class the title of today’s lesson is God Called a Faithful Priest.  Tell them we will discover how God removed corrupt priests and called a faithful priest to serve Him and His people.



  1. Review.
    • Remind the students that we are studying the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (A Faithful Promise; we learned about Hannah, who made and kept a very important promise to God).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (1 Sam. 1:27).
    • Ask: “What did Hannah name the son God gave her?” (Samuel).
    • Ask: “What did she do with Samuel after he was weaned?” (she gave him back to the Lord, leaving him at the Tabernacle to serve God the rest of his life).
  2. Eli’s Sons Were Evil.
    • Tell the class that after giving her little boy Samuel back to God, Hannah prayed and praised the Lord, after which she and her family went home (1 Sam. 2:1-11).
    • Read 1 Samuel 2:12.
    • Ask: “How does this verse describe Eli’s sons?” (they were “sons of Belial,” an ancient term for those who are wicked, evil, corrupt, base, ungodly, and worthless; it also says they did not know the Lord).
    • Read 1 Samuel 2:13-17.
    • Explain the following:
      • God required that a certain portion of the offerings were to go to feed the priests.
      • Eli’s sons were not content with what God provided, so they took more.
      • This amounted to stealing the Lord’s offerings, no different than if we stole money out of the offering receptacle.
      • If the people protested, the sons of Eli took the offerings by force.
    • Ask: “According to verse 17, what effect did this have on the people?” (they hated bringing offerings to God).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 2:22.
    • Ask: “What other wickedness were Eli’s sons doing?” (they were having sex with the women who came to the Tabernacle).
    • Ask: “Did Eli know about his sons’ sinful actions?” (yes).
    • Read 1 Samuel 2:23-25.
    • Tell the class in those verses Eli warned his sons about their evil behavior.
    • Ask: “How did Eli’s sons respond to his warning?” (they turned a deaf ear to it).
    • Ask: “According to the last phrase of verse 25, why did they reject Eli’s warning?” (because God was going to kill them).
    • Ask: “Couldn’t Eli have done something to stop his wicked sons?” (yes, but he did not).
    • Summarize: The Bible reveals that Eli’s sons were evil and corrupt. Eli knew about their corruption, but did not put a stop to it.
  3. God Rebuked Eli and Promised to Judge His Family.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 2:26.
    • Ask: “While all this wickedness was going on, what was happening in Samuel’s life?” (he grew in favor with God and men).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 2:27.
    • Tell the students that an unnamed man of God came to Eli with a message from God.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 2:29.
    • Ask: “What did the man of God say Eli was doing?” (honoring his sons above God, and enriching himself at the expense of the people).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 2:31.
    • Tell the class that God promised to “cut off” (kill) Eli’s family.
    • Read 1 Samuel 2:34-35.
    • Ask: “According to verse 34, what sign would prove that God was doing this?” (both of Eli’s sons would die in one day).
    • Ask: “What did God promise in verse 35?” (to raise up a faithful priest to replace Eli and his family).
    • Summarize: God rebuked Eli for putting his sons above the Lord, and promised to kill his sons and cut off his family.
  4. God Called Samuel to Replace Eli.
    • Read 1 Samuel 3:1-4.
    • Tell the students that verses 1-10 describe how God first spoke to Samuel.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 3:11-14.
    • Ask: “What did the Lord tell Samuel?” (that He would do what He had already told Eli: judge and destroy Eli’s family).
    • Tell the class that Samuel was afraid to tell Eli what God said to him, but Eli demanded to know; Eli accepted the message as the Word of the Lord.
    • Read 1 Samuel 3:19-21.
    • Ask: “What do these verses reveal about Samuel?” (the Lord was with him and spoke truth through him, everyone in Israel knew that “Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord,” and the Lord continued to reveal Himself to Samuel).
    • Summarize: After promising to destroy Eli’s family, God called Samuel to replace him. The Lord was with Samuel and spoke through him.
  5. God Removed Eli and His Wicked Sons.
    • Read 1 Samuel 4:1.
    • Tell the class that Israel went out to fight against the Philistines.
    • Locate Ebenezer (the town) and Aphek on the Map.
    • Read 1 Samuel 4:2-4.
    • Ask: “According to verse 2, what happened?” (Israel was defeated, with 4,000 men killed).
    • Ask: “What did the people decide to do?” (take the Ark of the Covenant out to the battle).
    • Explain that the Ark of the Covenant was a gold-covered box that represented God’s presence; it was housed in the Tabernacle.
    • Ask: “Did the Lord tell them to take the Ark out to the battle?” (no).
    • Ask: “According to verse 4, who went with the Ark?” (Eli’s two sons).
    • Read 1 Samuel 4:10-11.
    • Tell the students that Israel lost the battle, the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines, and Eli’s two sons were killed.
    • Read 1 Samuel 4:15-17.
    • Tell the class that a messenger brought the bad news to Eli.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 4:18.
    • Ask: “What happened when Eli learned that Israel was defeated, the Ark of the Covenant was captured, and his sons were killed?” (he fell backward off his seat, broke his neck, and died).
    • Explain the following:
      • In verses 19-22, Eli’s daughter-in-law heard the bad news and went into hard labor.
      • She delivered a son, but died in childbirth.
      • Just before her death she named her son Ichabod, which means, “no glory.”
      • She said, “The glory is departed from Israel: for the Ark of God is taken.”
    • Summarize: God kept His promise to destroy Eli’s wicked family, killing him, his sons, and even his daughter-in-law all in one day.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the students that the title of today’s lesson is God Called a Faithful Priest.  Tell them as we studied 1 Samuel 2 – 4, we learned that Eli’s sons were evil, God rebuked Eli and promised to judge his family, God called Samuel to replace Eli, and finally, God removed Eli and his wicked sons, leaving Samuel as the faithful priest of God.

Tell the students as New Testament Christians, we can be thankful that we have a great and sinless High Priest, whose name is Jesus (Heb. 4:14-15).

Ask: “Why did God judge Eli and his sons?” (they were wicked and corrupt).

Ask: “Is there any sin, evil, or corruption in your life?  Has God brought any personal corruption to your mind that you need to confess and turn away from?”

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes.  Tell them to privately examine themselves for signs of sin and corruption.  Tell them people may not know about their secret sins, but God does.  Urge them to confess their sins and to ask God to cleanse them from unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  Tell them to ask Jesus to enable them to resist sin in the future.  Allow a moment for silent prayer, and then voice a closing prayer.


CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to Memorize 1 Samuel 3:10.  Tell them to be on the lookout for sin in their lives so they can confess it and turn away from it.  Make yourself available for anyone who might need guidance or prayer.

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