The following article appeared in our local paper last weekend. It is adapted from my booklet, Despising the Lamb: Contempt for Christ in First Samuel.
Hophni and Phineas were priests in Old Testament times (1 Sam. 1:3). The Bible says Hophni and Phineas were wicked men (1 Sam. 2:12). Why? When someone brought a sacrifice, certain parts of the animal were burned first as an offering to the Lord (Lev. 7:3-5, 29- 31). Hophni and Phineas ignored this command. They took whatever part of the animal they wanted; anyone who protested was threatened. The Lord responded,“Why, then, do all of you despise My sacrifices and offerings…by making yourselves fat with the best part of all the offerings of My people Israel?” (1 Sam. 2:29).
The Lamb of God
John the Baptist announced Jesus with the words,“Look! The Lamb of God!”(John 1:36). This is what John meant: Old Testament sacrifices foreshadowed Jesus’s death on the cross. Every time Hophni and Phineas slaughtered an animal Jesus’s crucifixion was prophetically portrayed. When they despised offerings to the Lord, they despised Jesus, the Lamb of God to come.
Hophni’s and Phineas’s contempt for the Lamb went beyond thinking little of God’s offerings. The entire bent of their lives rejected the Spirit of those offerings — Christ crucified. They slept around. They took the best of everything. They pleased and fattened themselves. Instead of serving God’s people they used their religious stature to serve themselves. All this self-preferring was done in the face of the sacrifices that poured out their lifeblood day after day. In effect, Hophni and Phineas spat on the Son of God; they mocked and dismissed Christ’s laid down life, by which we know the God of love (1 John 3:16).