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ELI (Hebrew for "high"? i Sam. chaps....

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Originally appearing in Volume V09, Page 271 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ELI (Hebrew for "high"? i Sam. chaps. i.-iv.), a member of the ancient priesthood founded in Egypt (1 Sam. ii. 27), priest of the temple of Shiloh, the sanctuary of the ark, and also " judge " over Israel. This was an unusual combination of offices, when it is considered that in the history •preserved to us he appears in the weakness of extreme old age, unable to control the petulance and rapacity of his sons, Hophni and Phinehas, who disgraced the sanctuary and disgusted the people. While the central authority was thus weakened, the Philistines advanced against Israel, and gained a complete victory in the great battle of Ebenezer, where the ark was taken, and Hophni and Phinehas slain. On hearing the news Eli fell from his seat and died. In a passage not unlike the account of the birth of Benjamin (Gen. xxxv. r6 sqq.), it is added that the wife of Phinehas, overwhelmed at the loss of the ark and of her husband, died in child-birth, naming the babe Ichabod (I Sam.iv. 19 sqq.). This name, which popular etymology explained by the words " the glory is removed (or, stronger, ' banished ') from Israel " (cf. Hos. x. 5), should perhaps be altered from I-kdbod (as though " not glory ") to Jochebed (Yokebed, a slight change in the original), the name which tradition also gave to the mother of Moses (q.v.). After these events the sanctuary of Shiloh appears to have been destroyed (cf. Jers vii. 12, xxvi. 6, 9), and the descendants of Eli with the whole of their clan or " father's house " subsequently appear as settled at Ncb (1 Sam. xxi. 1, xxii. 11 sqq., cp. xiv. 3), perhaps in the immediate neighbourhood of Jerusalem (Is. x. 32). In the massacre of the clan by Saul, and the subsequent substitution of the survivor Abiathar by Zadok (1 Kings ii. 27, 35), later writers saw the fulfilment of the prophecies of judgment which was said to have been uttered in the days of Eli against his corrupt house (1 Sam. ii. 27 sqq., iii. 11 sqq.).' See further, SAMUEL, BOOKS OF; and on Eli as a descendant of a Leviteclan (1 Sam. ii 27 sq.), see LEVITES (§ 3). W.R.S.; S.A.C.) ELIAS, of Cortona (c. 1180-1253), disciple of St Francis of Assisi, was born near Assisi, about 118o, of the working class, but became schoolmaster at Assisi and then notary at Bologna, In 1217 he was the head of the Franciscan mission to the Holy Land, and in 1219 St Francis made him first provincial minister of Syria. When St Francis was recalled from the East in 1220 he brought Elias with him. Elias played a leading part in the early history of the Franciscan order (see FRANCISCANS) ; Francis made him his vicar general in 1221; and he was the practical acting superior of the order till Francis' death in 1226, and the real superior till the general chapter of 1227. This chapter did not elect him minister general, but that of 1232 did; at the chapter of 1239 he was deposed. During these years he erected the basilica and monastery at Assisi which were entirely his creation—he collected the funds and carried the work through, being himself the builder and even the architect. Elias was a man of extraordinary ability, the friend both of Gregory IX. and of his opponent Frederick II. After his deposition Elias joined the party of the emperor and so incurred excommunication. Frederick sent him as ambassador to Constantinople. He dressed and lived as a Franciscan throughout and a small number of friars adhered to him; for these he built a church and monastery at Cortona. Unavailing efforts were made to bring about his reconciliation with the order and the Church; at last on his death-bed he made his submission to the pope and died in 1253, having received the Sacraments. The best account of Elias is that by Ed. Lempp, Frere Elie de Cortone (1901), who points out the conflict of view, as to the relations between Elias and Francis, between the Speculum perfectionis and the First Life, by Thomas of Celano; Lempp and Sabatier accept the hostile picture given by the Speculum perfectionis. But see further FRANCIS OF AssIsI, SAINT, " Note on Sources," and especially the articles by Goetz, there referred to, in the Hist. Vierteljahrsschrift There is a good article on Elias, but written before the new materials had been produced, in Wetzer and Welte, Kirchenlexicon (ed. 2). (E. C. B.)
End of Article: ELI (Hebrew for "high"? i Sam. chaps. i.-iv.)
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