Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Concerning Hophni and Phinehas, "...Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the LORD desired to kill them" (1 Samuel 2:25). What does ‘desire’ exactly mean? Isn’t it God’s desire to forgive and accept rather than kill? What is the wisdom behind this wording?

In this particular verse there is a translation problem. The word "desired", according to the New Webster's dictionary means: to yearn for possession of; to lust; to request, is mentioned in the New King James Version (NKJV). However the King James Version (KJV) says, "Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them." And the Revised Standard Version (RSV) puts it "For it was the will of the LORD to slay them" (RSV).

Adam Clarke the Holy Bible commentator states that the particle "yk ki", which is translated "because", in KJV and thus make their continuance in sin the effect of God's determination to destroy them, should be translated "therefore", as it means in many parts of the sacred writings. Thus it should read: "But they would not hearken, etc.; THEREFORE God purposed to destroy them." It was their not hearkening that induced the Lord to will their destruction.

It was not God's pre-ordination, but Hophni and Phinehas' own willful and impertinent disobedience, which was the cause of their destruction. God has no pleasure in the death of him that dies, and He wills not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should repent and live. Our Coptic Orthodox Church arranged for us to daily remember this truth when we pray the conclusion of every hour in our Agpeya prayers.
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