Metaphysical meaning of Hophni (mbd)
Hophni, hoph'-ni (Heb.)--pugnacious; strong; hard-fisted; a fighter.
Son of Eli (I Sam. 1:3). He and Phineas his brother were priests of Israel. They were wicked men who desecrated their priestly office and brought destruction to themselves and caused the downfall of their father's house. "I will judge his house forever, for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons did bring a curse upon themselves, and he restrained them not" (I Sam. 3:13).
Meta. Eli means a going up and is typical of the phase of man's consciousness that is always seeking spiritual progress. The two sons of Eli represent the natural product of one's desire to grow spiritually. They represent spiritual strength and power. When these faculties begin to awaken, though they are priests in the Temple, there is great need for discipline and intelligent direction, lest they become selfish and act upon a purely material plane. In this state, Hophni becomes pugnacious, a fighter, and Phineas becomes brazen-faced, a mouth of brass. When one's spiritual strength becomes personalized, it seeks to accomplish its ends through combative measures, and this creates great resistance in the organism; it tries to gain its desires by means of brazen or bold speech. One's spiritual forces are disorganized by these methods, and so they become easy prey to the more material ideas. The material ideas are usually well trained, according to personal standards, and readily rally to the support of material leadership. When any great demand is made upon the material man, if he undertakes to meet it at all he throws into his task the full force of his material self.
This is just what happened to the Hebrews when the Ark of the Covenant was brought into their midst. When the vision of spiritual deliverance was presented to them they adopted the combative methods of the Philistines. The spiritual forces are never combative or boastful. One who seeks to exercise them in personal measures becomes unfit for success and is temporarily incapacitated. Spiritual man knows that his strength lies in his unity with God and that his power is his ability to speak the Truth. When he deviates from spiritual principles he soon becomes shorn of power and is taken captive by the organized forces of materiality (the Philistines).
This is a lesson that every Truth student should remember: As new forces and powers are awakened, they should be carefully trained in accordance with the true principles of Spirit. Such difficulties as befell the Hebrews (I Sam. 4:5-18) can be avoided if spiritual standards are always upheld in thought and act--no matter how seemingly trivial.