“they did not listen to the voice of their father.” One of the problems with the Levitical system was that the priesthood was attained by heredity, not by being qualified for it. Eli’s sons were clearly not qualified to be priests because of the way they acted, but since the priesthood was hereditary, they could not be removed from it.
“therefore Yahweh desired to put them to death.” Although most versions translate the Hebrew ki in this verse as “because” (CJB, KJV), “since” (NAB, CSB), or “for” (ESV, NIV), the word “therefore” is to be preferred in light of the Scope of Scripture, which tells us that people can make free-will decisions and that God then relates to them based on those decisions. The Bible is full of examples of this. Adam Clarke’s explanation for translating the ki as “therefore” accurately captures what we believe to be the meaning of this verse:
“The particle כי ki, which we [i.e. the KJV] translate because, 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. See Noldius’s Particles, where the very text in question is introduced: Sed non auscultarunt, &c.; IDEO voluit Jehova eos interficere; “But they would not hearken, &c.; THEREFORE God purposed to destroy them.” It was their not hearkening that induced the Lord to will their destruction.”a