1 Samuel 3 The Voice (VOICE)
3 The boy Samuel continued to serve the Eternal One under the guidance of Eli. In those days, messages from the Eternal were rare, and sacred dreams or visions were given to very few.
2 Eli, who was very old, had become almost blind. He was lying in his room; 3 it was late at night but before dawn as the lamp of God still burned. Samuel was resting in the house of the Eternal One, where the covenant chest of the True God was located, and he heard a voice.
Eternal One: 4 Samuel! Samuel!
Samuel: Here I am! 5 (running to Eli) I heard you calling; here I am!
Eli: I did not call you, my son. Go back, and lie down.
So Samuel went back to bed. 6 But the Eternal called him again.
Eternal One: Samuel!
Samuel (running to Eli): I heard you calling; here I am!
Eli: No, I did not call you, my son. Go back, and lie down. I need my rest.
7 Samuel did not recognize the voice of the Eternal One, for the word of the Eternal had not been revealed to Samuel yet. So Samuel went back again to his bed. 8 And the Eternal One called him a third time.
Samuel (running to Eli): I know you called me; I am here!
Eli (realizing the Lord was calling Samuel): 9 Go back and lie down, my son. If the voice calls you again, I want you to say, “Speak, Eternal One. Your servant is listening.”
So Samuel went to his bed in his place and listened. 10 Then the Eternal One came into his presence as before.
Eternal One: Samuel! Samuel!
Samuel: Speak, Eternal One. Your servant is listening.
Eternal One: 11 Pay attention! I am about to do something so amazing in Israel that it will sting the ears of everyone who hears it. 12 The day is coming when I will carry out the vow I made to Eli about his family, every word of it. 13 I have told him that I will punish his house forever for the sins of his sons, bringing a curse on themselves that he knew about but did nothing to stop. 14 So I vow that the sins of the house of Eli may never be atoned for by sacrifice or by offering.
15 After hearing this message, Samuel lay there until morning and then opened the doors of the Eternal One’s house, but he was afraid to tell Eli what God had said to him.
Eli: 16 Samuel, my son.
Samuel: Here I am.
Eli: 17 What was it that He told you? Tell me everything. May the True God carry out His vengeance on you and worse, if you hold anything back from me that He said to you.
18 So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing.
Eli: This message is truly from the Eternal One. Let Him do what seems good to Him.
When Eli hears God’s message to Samuel, a message that surely breaks his heart, Eli knows his sons have dishonored God and deserve punishment. His willingness to honor God’s message is truly a measure of his faith. This is one of many places in the books of Samuel where we can recognize the justice of God’s plan and still share some sorrow with those who will suffer because of it.
19 As Samuel grew, the Eternal One guided him and none of His words were lost on Samuel. 20 And all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, learned that Samuel was a prophet of the Eternal One and that his words could be trusted.
21 From time to time, the Eternal continued to appear at Shiloh, where He had spoken to Samuel.