If one man sins against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sins against the LORD, who shall intercede for him? Nevertheless they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD desired to slay them.
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Basil the Great
Because their father [Eli] did not chastise them with enough severity … he moved the forbearance of God to wrath so great that foreign peoples rose up against them and killed those sons of his in war in one day. His entire nation, furthermore, was vanquished, and a considerable number of his people fell. Now, this happened even with the ark of the holy covenant of God nearby—an unheard of thing—so that the ark, which it was not lawful at any time for the Israelites or even for all their priests themselves to touch and which was kept in a special place, was carried hither and yon by impious hands and was put in the shrines of idols instead of the holy temples. Under such circumstances one can readily conjecture the amount of laughter and mockery that was inflicted upon the very name of God by these foreigners. Add to this, also, that Eli himself is recorded to have met a most pitiable end after hearing the threat that his seed would be removed from the priestly dignity; and so it happen...
Who shall pray for him. By these words Heli would have his sons understand, that by their wicked abuse of sacred things, and of the very sacrifices which were appointed to appease the Lord, they deprived themselves of the ordinary means of reconciliation with God; which was by sacrifices. The more, because as they were the chief priests, whose business it was to intercede for all others, they had no other to offer sacrifice and make atonement for them. (Challoner)
We need not, however, consider the words of Heli as an oracle of God. (Sanchez)
In human transactions, a person would find more difficulty in obtaining pardon, when the judge himself had received the injury. Septuagint, instead of appeased, have "and they shall pray for him. "(Menochius)
Some may be found to plead his cause, but if he have offended the judge, who will undertake to be his advocate? What medicines shall be used, when those, which God has appointed, are trodden under foot? (Haydock)
By persevering in such wi...
The sin of one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit is unpardonable. Compare with this judgment what is said in the book of Kings [Samuel]: “If one man shall sin against the Lord, who shall pray for him?” Thus, it is one and the same sin whether we blaspheme against the Holy Spirit or against God, and it is inexpiable. Hence, the nature of the Holy Spirit begins to dawn in our minds. - "The Power of the Holy Spirit 17"
“Eli the priest speaks, stating, ‘If a man sins against another man, they shall offer entreaties on his behalf; but if he sins against God, who shall offer entreaties on his behalf?’ ” In the same way John writes, “If anyone knows that his brother commits a sin which does not lead to death, he shall implore [God] on his behalf, and God shall give him life. Indeed, there is a sin that leads to death; I do not say that you should pray about that.” You see that all of this refers to sins still remaining, not to those persons who have at any time sinned and have begun to repent before anyone asks on their behalf. It is too long a task for us to go over such instances. Observe every one of the sins for which the Lord makes threats; you will at once see that they are current ones. - "Letter 3.16.2"
Who shall pray for him: By this word Heli would have his sons understand, that by their wicked abuse of sacred things, and of the very sacrifices which were appointed to appease the Lord, they deprived themselves of the ordinary means of reconciliation with God; which was by sacrifices. The more, because they were the chief priests whose business it was to intercede for all others, they had no other to offer sacrifices and to make atonement for them. Ibid.