Judges led Israel before the coming of the kings, but though Eli the high priest served God for forty years, he wasn’t named as a judge. He acted nobly at first but turned a blind eye to injustices as he grew older. Most of these injustices had to do with his sons who were abusing the women of the temple and helping themselves to the offering. When Eli discovered what was happening, he rebuked them-sort of-but he spared the rod and spoiled his whole bloodline. As a punishment God made sure the line of Eli would die or be made subservient from his generation onward.
He was not a total failure, though. Eli wasn’t such a good father to his own sons, but he was a good foster father to Samuel, a young boy who was given as an offering to Yahweh. He raised the boy in an atmosphere of faith, and Samuel went on to become the last of the judges and the first of the major prophets since Moses.
Eli obviously knew how to raise boys (and priests), but when it came to his own sons his standards lowered considerably. In the end, he did them no favors.
One standard of Fatherhood applies throughout life. And it’s not ours-it’s God’s
1 Samuel 3:12 KJV- In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also makes an end.