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Eli


E’li (ascension), a descendant of Aaron through Ithamar, the youngest of his two surviving sons. Lev. 10:1, 2, 12; comp. 1 Kings 2:27 with 2 Sam. 8:17; 1 Chron. 24:3. (b.c. 1214–1116.) He was the first of the line of Ithamar who held the office of high priest. The office remained in his family till Abiathar was thrust out by Solomon, 1 Kings 1:7; 2:26, 27, when it passed back again to the family of Eleazar in the person of Zadok. 1 Kings 2:35. Its return to the elder branch was one part of the punishment which had been denounced against Eli during his lifetime, for his culpable negligence, 1 Sam. 2:22-25, when his sons profaned the priesthood; comp. 1 Sam. 2:27-36 with 1 Kings 2:27. Notwithstanding this one great blemish, the character of Eli is marked by eminent piety, as shown by his meek submission to the divine judgment, 1 Sam. 3:18, and his supreme regard for the ark of God. 1 Sam. 4:18. In addition to the office of high priest he held that of judge. He died at the advanced age of 98 years, 1 Sam. 4:15, overcome by the disastrous intelligence that the ark of God had been taken in battle by the Philistines, who had also slain his sons Hophni and Phinehas.