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1 Samuel 3 Living Bible (TLB)

Meanwhile little Samuel was helping the Lord by assisting Eli. Messages from the Lord were very rare in those days, 2-3 but one night after Eli had gone to bed (he was almost blind with age by now), and Samuel was sleeping in the Temple near the Ark, 4-5 the Lord called out, “Samuel! Samuel!”

“Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” He jumped up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. What do you want?” he asked.

“I didn’t call you,” Eli said. “Go on back to bed.” So he did. Then the Lord called again, “Samuel!” And again Samuel jumped up and ran to Eli.

“Yes?” he asked. “What do you need?”

“No, I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go on back to bed.”

(Samuel had never had a message from Jehovah before.[a]) So now the Lord called the third time, and once more Samuel jumped up and ran to Eli.

“Yes?” he asked. “What do you need?”

Then Eli realized it was the Lord who had spoken to the child. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if he calls again, say, ‘Yes, Lord, I’m listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed.

10 And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel replied, “Yes, I’m listening.”

11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “I am going to do a shocking thing in Israel. 12 I am going to do all of the dreadful things I warned Eli about. 13 I have continually threatened him and his entire family with punishment because his sons are blaspheming God, and he doesn’t stop them. 14 So I have vowed that the sins of Eli and of his sons shall never be forgiven by sacrifices and offerings.”

15 Samuel stayed in bed until morning, then opened the doors of the Temple as usual, for he was afraid to tell Eli what the Lord had said to him. 16-17 But Eli called him.

“My son,” he said, “what did the Lord say to you? Tell me everything. And may God punish you if you hide anything from me!”

18 So Samuel told him what the Lord had said.

“It is the Lord’s will,” Eli replied; “let him do what he thinks best.”

19 As Samuel grew, the Lord was with him and people listened carefully to his advice. 20 And all Israel from one end of the land to the other knew that Samuel was going to be a prophet of the Lord. 21 Then the Lord began to give messages to him there at the Tabernacle in Shiloh,


  1. 1 Samuel 3:7 Samuel had never had a message from Jehovah before, literally, “Samuel did not yet know Jehovah.”
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

1 Samuel 3 New International Version (NIV)

The Lord Calls Samuel

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 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!

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. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything 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 them. 14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned 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 it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, 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.”

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


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

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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