The Vibe of Eli

Eli’s vibe bumbles through the early chapters of the book of Samuel like a well-meaning but utterly inept grandpa. As guardian of the Ark of the Covenant – the box containing the Ten Commandments, Eli is one of the most senior high priests in the whole of Israel. Even so, it feels like the rest of the Israelites have been given a bum deal. Eli’s first faux pas is to assume that Hannah, a childless woman fervently praying in the temple for a child, has been hitting the bottle. Undeterred, Hannah finally gives birth to a tiny boy called Samuel, who she gives to God as a thankyou. Eli looks after Samuel in the temple in the city of Shiloh and, fortunately for the infant, Eli’s grandfatherly vibe makes the temple a safe and happy home. However, when Samuel hears a voice calling him, it takes Eli a while to realise that it might actually be God, despite them both sleeping within spitting distance of the Ark. And Eli being High Priest. Eli’s biggest downfall is his wayward sons over whom it appears he has no control. These corrupt thugs masquerading as temple priests have been selecting the best bits of meat sacrificed to God and eating them. In fact they are even pre-ordering the food that they want people to sacrifice, using God’s temple as an elaborate meal delivery service. The final straw for Eli is when his sons take the Ark with them into a battle with neighbouring Philistia, believing that God will protect them. God is actually livid with them and ensures that Israel loses, that Eli’s sons are killed in the process and that the box of stone tablets given to Moses is carried off by gleeful Philistines. A survivor of the battle finally makes it back to Shiloh to tell Eli that his sons are dead and the Ark is gone, news which sends the old man falling backwards off his chair. The fall breaks his neck and Eli dies. Vibe over.

Using temple sacrifices as a food delivery service = bad vibe

Using temple sacrifices as a food delivery service = bad vibe

General vibe of Eli: Second best

Factvibe: After a plague of tumours, boils and mice breaks out in their country, the Philistines hurriedly return the Ark to Israel.

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