Reference: Hophni And Phinehas
The guilty and wretched sons of Eli the high priest. They grossly and continuously abused the influence of their position and sacred office; and their cupidity, violence, and impious profligacy, overbearing the feeble remonstrances of their father, brought disgrace and ruin on their family. The ark, which they had carried to the camp in spire of divine prohibitions, was taken, and they were slain in battle, 1Sa 2-4. See ELI. The ark of God protects only those who love and obey him. Men in all ages are prone to rely on a form of religion, while the heart and life are not right with God; and all who thus sin, like the sons of Eli, must perish likewise.
Sons of Belial, who, though knowing externally and professionally, "knew not the Lord" experimentally and practically (1Sa 2:12, compare Jer 22:16; Tit 1:16). Greediness, violent rapacity, wherewith they made themselves fat with the chiefest of the offerings of God's people, (and this in the sanctuary itself, so that "men abhorred the offering of the Lord,") and even lust indulged with the women assembling at the door of the tabernacle, were their crying sins. These in accordance with the prophecies of a man of God, and of Samuel, brought on both a violent death in one day. In vain Israel relied on the ark of God when Hophni and Phinehas were its escort. If Eli had "restrained them" firmly when "they made themselves vile," and had Israel thoroughly amended their ways, the ark, so far from falling into the foe's hands, would have been the pledge of victory over the foe (Jer 7:4; Isa 48:2). (See ELI.) (1 Samuel 2; 3; 4).
The two sons of Eli; they were priests in the sanctuary at Shiloh, where, in spite of the presence of their father, they carried on their evil practices. In consequence of their deeds a curse is twice pronounced upon the house of Eli, first by a 'man of God' (1Sa 2:27) who is not named, and again by the mouth of Samuel (ch. 3). The curse was accomplished when Hophni and Phinehas were slain at the battle of Aphek, and the ark of God was lost