1 Samuel Chapter 3 centers on the Lord calling on Samuel, but Samuel thinks it is Eli calling him instead. Samuel was an apprentice minister of the Lord and he worked under the tutelage of Eli. He did so at a time when the Lord rarely spoke to His people and imparting visions was equally rare.
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The Lord Calls to Samuel
Late in the evening, Samuel laid down to sleep in the room where the Ark of the Covenant was stored. As Samuel tried to sleep, the Lord called to him. Upon hearing the call, Samuel went to Eli who quickly stated it was not he who called. The Lord would call Samuel again. Samuel went to Eli a second time only for Eli to once again say he did not call.
The Lord would call on Samuel for a third time and the scenario played itself out again. At this time, Eli realized that it was the Lord who was calling Samuel. Eli advised the young man that the next time he was called, he should acknowledge the Lord and ask what God wanted of him.
Samuel Talks to God
The Lord called to Samuel for a fourth time. Samuel responded by saying he was the Lord’s servant and was willing to do whatever it is the Lord intended to ask of him. The Lord told Samuel that he would forever punish the house of Eli because Eli’s family blasphemed against God and Eli did nothing to stop them.
Samuel Delivers the Bad News
Soon after, Eli spoke with Samuel and Samuel begrudgingly told Eli the harsh news. Eli accepted it as he felt the Lord was right to do what was good based on his judgment.
1 Samuel 3 (King James Version)
1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.
2 And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;
3 And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;
4 That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
5 And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.
6 And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.
8 And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child.
9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.
11 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.
12 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.
13 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.
14 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.
15 And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.
16 Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I.
17 And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee.
18 And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.
19 And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
20 And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.
21 And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.