1 Samuel 3 – Reading Note

There is a notion in the old Testament known as collective guilt (or something like that). It’s a notion I’ve never understood, but God speaks of it here:

And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end.For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’” 1 sam 3:11 – 14

Here, the guilt is not Eli’s or his sons’ but that of Eli’s house. I’ve never understood that. The US president can be guilty of sin, the individuals that make up the country can be guilty of sin, but how can the country be guilty of sin? I suppose that runs into the problem of ‘if all the people in the US die and are replaced by a different set of people (as happens every once in a while), is it still the same country? I guess it could be, if there is something about it that stays the same.


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I’m Tracy

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