1 Samuel 3


‘The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions. One-night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, ‘Here I am.’ And he ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’ But Eli said, ‘I did not call; go back and lie down.’ So, he went and lay down. Again, the LORD called, ‘Samuel!’ And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’ ‘My son,’ Eli said, ‘I did not call; go back and lie down.’ Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. A third time the LORD called, ‘Samuel!’ And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’ Then Eli realised that the LORD was calling the boy. So, Eli told Samuel, ‘Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ So, Samuel went and lay down in his place.’ 1 Samuel 3:1-9

The LORD Calls Samuel

Notice how this chapter begins, ‘in those days the word of the LORD was rare’, the word ‘rare’ is translated as ‘precious’ in the KJV, the Hebrew word is ‘yaqar’ which means ‘valuable’. What the writer is telling us that very few prophets spoke the valuable Word of God in those days, 2 Samuel 2:27-36.

Eli’s eyesight wasn’t as good as they once were due to his old age and the lamp of God hadn’t gone out yet, Exodus 27:20-21, this tells us that it was just before daybreak. The Lord called Samuel twice but he thought it was Eli calling him, on the third call Eli understood it was actually the Lord calling Samuel, so he tells him to lie die again and speak to the Lord when He calls again.

Samuel didn’t have any visions or dreams from God up to this point, hence why he did not know the Lord, this implies that he had personal knowledge of the Lord but no personal experience of the Lord.

‘The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’ And the LORD said to Samuel: ‘See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. At that time, I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’ Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the LORD. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, but Eli called him and said, ‘Samuel, my son.’ Samuel answered, ‘Here I am.’ ‘What was it he said to you?’ Eli asked. ‘Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything, he told you.’ So, Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, ‘He is the LORD; let him do what is good in his eyes.’ 1 Samuel 3:10-18

It’s now that the Lord came and stood near Samuel, this appears to be a personal visual experience for him. Samuel heard and saw the Lord and spoke the very words Eli told him to speak when the Lord called again, 1 Samuel 3:9.

The reference to the ‘ears tingling’ was a sign that something dreadful was about to him, 2 Kings 21:12 / Jeremiah 19:3. The Lord then tells Samuel that Eli’s ministry was coming to an end, even though he was a righteous man, he had to pay the price for his son’s wickedness.

This may seem a bit unfair, however as he was their father, he didn’t use his authority as their father to discipline his sons, when they were being corrupt in their service for God in the tabernacle, 1 Samuel 2:12-17 / 1 Samuel 2:27-36.

God judging Eli’s family forever meant that judgment would come upon Eli and his family, this would bring an end to the priesthood of Eli’s house.

‘The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognised that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the LORD. The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.’ 1 Samuel 3:19-21

God was with Samuel as he grew up and none of Samuel’s words fell to the ground. This basically means that all of Samuel’s prophetic words came to be fulfilled, none of them failed. The reference from ‘Dan even to Beersheba’, is used to describe the whole of the land of Palestine, from the north to the south and everything in-between, Judges 6:8.

It was throughout this area that Samuel was attested as a prophet, this implies that there were other areas of Palestine where the people didn’t recognise Samuel as a prophet, 1 Samuel 9:5-6.

Whilst a priest speaks to God on behalf of the people, a prophet spoke to the people on behalf of God. Throughout the Bible, especially the Old Testament, the prophets would tell God’s people, and other nations, what would happen if they didn’t repent of their sinful behaviour.

For the people to be able to repent they had to listen to what the prophets said and then do what the prophet said, Jonah 3. If they rejected the prophets, they were in essence rejecting God Himself, since the prophets spoke God’s Word on behalf of God.

Go To 1 Samuel 4


"So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God."

Acts 18:11