1 Samuel 3:11-14 And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.
Here is a relevant passage in Samuel’s past that might have colored his thinking. Eli’s sons caused the downfall of the house of Eli. Eli knew what his sons were doing. Did Samuel? Eli was sent a message about his failure as a father and high priest. Was Samuel sent a message about his position as prophet and judge?
Did Samuel think about Eli’s sons before setting his sons as judges in Beersheba? Nothing in the scriptures indicate one way or another about Samuel’s relationship with his sons. We know nothing of these sons until it is too late. Is it fair of any of us to judge Samuel based on so little information? No.
Our job here is not to create doctrine but rather to examine the Word given in how God acted upon the events that unfolded. All we have to go on is the Word given and not to fill in missing history based on our knowledge of the character of Samuel. We know what he was as a prophet and a judge, we know absolutely nothing about him as a father.
As for Samuel being wrong, since God is our judge, did God chastise Samuel for appointing his sons as judges? He called out Eli. Should he overlook the same mistakes in Samuel?
Nothing was said to indicate Samuel knew anything about the character of his sons, and God didn’t say Samuel was wrong in those appointments.
Let God be the judge.