Priestly Positions & Bread

“Now this shall be a sign to you that will come upon your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die, both of them.

“Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever.

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and say, ‘Please, put me in one of the priestly positions, that I may eat a piece of bread.'”

I Samuel 2:34-36

What a striking story… one I did not intend to read this morning but found myself digging in (for hidden treasure) anyway. I was not disappointed…

If you are not familiar with the story of Eli, Hophni, & Phinehas, I highly encourage you to go read or re-read it now. I will provide some context but it is always best to have the full picture of a passage when reading any commentary on the Word of God.

Hophni and Phinehas were the sons of the high priest, Eli. They served with their father in the tabernacle, and they were wicked. We are told in the text that they took portions of the sacrifices for themselves that belonged to God; they coerced and manipulated God’s people for their own gain; and they fornicated all over the place with the women who came to the tent of meeting…

Eventually, Eli confronts his sons about their behavior…

His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke…

1 Samuel 2:25c

If you hear His voice today, do not harden your hearts…

It is the kindness of God to chasten (correct, rebuke) His sons before judgment falls…

Indeed… we are dearly loved by such a Father.


Bread often symbolizes God’s presence, body, or provision in the Bible. In the context of the tabernacle (and, thus, this passage), it makes me think of the ‘bread of presence’ (showbread). You can find a nice summary about showbread here.

Remember the opening passage? Sin removed an entire family from bread, the bread of [God’s] presence. The sin of Hophni and Phinehas put spiritual, if not literal, famine in their own family’s souls.

How many times have we done the same to ourselves?

What a blessed recovery then when Jesus later says, “I am the Bread of Life”! Do we find healing there? In His presence, in His Body, in His provisions for our wounds? I pray that you do, even as I pray the same for myself.

Consider the lovely parallels here:

*Hophni and Phinehas hereforth shortened to H&P…

H&P took the fat and portions of sacrifice that should have belonged to God; Jesus offered the full sacrifice of Himself, sparing not His own flesh.

H&P took advantage of the women who assembled at the door of meeting; Jesus lifted the women in His life to great honor, seeking not His own gratification but the health of their souls.

H&P made themselves fat with the offerings of the people; Jesus humbled Himself, stripped Himself of glory, and became the offering.

H&P would not listen to the voice of their father, Eli (we can argue the doctrinal issue of why later); Jesus submitted Himself to His Father’s will, not exalting Himself but letting His Father exalt Him in His time and in His way.

For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.

John 6:33

Live life in remembrance of Him. He is our daily Bread of presence, of substance, of life… at all times, in every season, through everything… if we have heard the Father and accepted our Advocate in Christ.

May you be richly blessed, upheld, supported, loved, and surrounded by the bread of His presence today, beloved.

Seek and you will find…

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