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Chapter 3

Revelation to Samuel. During the time young Samuel was minister to the Lord under Eli, the word of the Lord was scarce and vision infrequent. [a]One day Eli was asleep in his usual place. His eyes had lately grown so weak that he could not see. The lamp of God was not yet extinguished,[b] and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was.(A) The Lord called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.” He ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.” “I did not call you,” Eli answered. “Go back to sleep.” So he went back to sleep. Again the Lord called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli. “Here I am,” he said. “You called me.” But he answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”

Samuel did not yet recognize the Lord, since the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again, for the third time. Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.” Then Eli understood that the Lord was calling the youth. So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” When Samuel went to sleep in his place, 10 the Lord came and stood there, calling out as before: Samuel, Samuel! Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 11 The Lord said to Samuel: I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears it ring.(B) 12 On that day I will carry out against Eli everything I have said about his house, beginning to end. 13 I announce to him that I am condemning his house once and for all, because of this crime: though he knew his sons were blaspheming God, he did not reprove them.(C) 14 Therefore, I swear to Eli’s house: No sacrifice or offering will ever expiate its crime.[c] 15 Samuel then slept until morning, when he got up early and opened the doors of the temple of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, 16 but Eli called to him, “Samuel, my son!” He replied, “Here I am.” 17 Then Eli asked, “What did he say to you? Hide nothing from me! May God do thus to you, and more,[d] if you hide from me a single thing he told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything, and held nothing back. Eli answered, “It is the Lord. What is pleasing in the Lord’s sight, the Lord will do.”

Samuel Acknowledged as Prophet. 19 Samuel grew up, and the Lord was with him, not permitting any word of his to go unfulfilled.(D) 20 (E)Thus all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba came to know that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the Lord. 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, manifesting himself to Samuel at Shiloh through his word. Samuel’s word spread throughout Israel.

Footnotes

  1. 3:2–18 The call of Samuel: This section may be divided as follows: 1. the triple summons (vv. 2–9); 2. God’s revelation (vv. 10–14); 3. Samuel informs Eli (vv. 15–18).
  2. 3:3 Not yet extinguished: referring to the nighttime setting of this narrative (cf. Ex 27:20–21) and foreshadowing a permanently extinguished lamp when the ark is captured and Shiloh destroyed.
  3. 3:14 Lv 4:3–12 presents another view: the offering of a bull can expiate priestly sin.
  4. 3:17 May God do thus to you, and more: an oath formula which strengthens Eli’s demand by threatening divine punishment if Samuel does not obey. Cf. 14:44; 20:13; 25:22; 2 Sm 3:9, 35; 19:14.

The Lord Calls Samuel

The boy Samuel ministered(A) before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare;(B) there were not many visions.(C)

One night Eli, whose eyes(D) were becoming so weak that he could barely see,(E) was lying down in his usual place. The lamp(F) of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house(G) of the Lord, where the ark(H) of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel.

Samuel answered, “Here I am.(I) 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(J) the Lord: The word(K) of the Lord had not yet been revealed(L) 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 realized 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.

10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!(M)

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

11 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.(N) 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything(O) I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God,[a] and he failed to restrain(P) them. 14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned(Q) for by sacrifice or offering.’”

15 Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, 16 but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.”

Samuel answered, “Here I am.”

17 “What was it he said to you?” Eli asked. “Do not hide(R) it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely,(S) if you hide from me anything he told you.” 18 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.”(T)

19 The Lord was with(U) Samuel as he grew(V) up, and he let none(W) of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba(X) recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord.(Y) 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed(Z) himself to Samuel through his word.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Samuel 3:13 An ancient Hebrew scribal tradition (see also Septuagint); Masoretic Text sons made themselves contemptible

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