If there is any evidence against the idea that Samuel was fated to his end as a prophet, it is probably the fact that he grew up in the tabernacle when the priesthood was basically corrupt. He defies this corruption and ultimately stands above it. He also grows up with a weak father figure in Eli in how Eli may get after his sons verbally but he does not bring any consequences against them. Samuel does not buy this notion of dealing with issue and seems to have more of a hands on and get more involved in the process of change whether for or against.
This is not the biggest difference between the two men however. They have very different understandings of how God works. When the prophecy comes against Eli and his sons from God, Eli basically accepts his fate. He does not seek God for a change of heart but simply seems to accept that God will do these things so he does not even both to pray about the situation. Eli worries and whittles when the ark is in battle and is killed when he falls over because he can’t take the shock that the ark has fallen into the hands of the Philistines. He couldn’t conceive how God would make the situation right or that it would even exist.
Samuel does act this way. Later when the people want a king, he fights against it and even when God gives the nod that it is OK, he still tries to persuade the people not to do it. Samuel does not accept fate even if God says – ‘this is what is going to happen’. This causes Eli’s role as Judge to be contrasted greatly with Samuel’s. Eli’s time as judge is remembered as a time of corruption that is never confronted. Samuel’s time as the last judge of Israel is remembered as a time of righteousness and prosperity.
This demonstrates that regardless of surroundings and environment, people can have very different views of life and God even though all the examples around them are bad. What gets even more complicated though as the story continues is that God himself seems to take a different attitude than we would expect even when his sovereignty is challenged.
Next: The Beginning of the Kingdom Era