Samuel’s Call

The boy Samuel served the Lord in Eli’s presence.(A) In those days the word of the Lord was rare and prophetic visions were not widespread.(B)

One day Eli, whose eyesight was failing,(C) was lying in his usual place. Before the lamp of God had gone out,(D) Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was located.

Then the Lord called Samuel,[a] and he answered, “Here I am.” He ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

“I didn’t call,” Eli replied. “Go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

Once again the Lord called, “Samuel!”

Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

“I didn’t call, my son,” he replied. “Go back and lie down.”

Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, because the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. Once again, for the third time, the Lord called Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

Then Eli understood that the Lord was calling the boy. He told Samuel, “Go and lie down. 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, stood there, and called as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”

Samuel responded, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

11 The Lord said to Samuel, “I am about to do something in Israel that will cause everyone who hears about it to shudder.[b](E) 12 On that day I will carry out against Eli everything I said about his family, from beginning to end.(F) 13 I told him that I am going to judge his family forever because of the iniquity he knows about: his sons are cursing God,[c] and he has not stopped them.(G) 14 Therefore, I have sworn to Eli’s family: The iniquity of Eli’s family will never be wiped out by either sacrifice or offering.”(H)

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

“Here I am,” answered Samuel.

17 “What was the message he gave you?” Eli asked. “Don’t hide it from me. May God punish you and do so severely if you hide anything from me that he told you.”(I) 18 So Samuel told him everything and did not hide anything from him. Eli responded, “He is the Lord. Let him do what he thinks is good.”(J)

19 Samuel grew.(K) The Lord was with him,(L) and he fulfilled everything Samuel prophesied.[d](M) 20 All Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a confirmed prophet of the Lord.(N) 21 The Lord continued to appear in Shiloh, because there he revealed himself to Samuel by his word.(O)

And Samuel’s words came to all Israel.

The Ark Captured by the Philistines

Israel went out to meet the Philistines in battle and[e] camped at Ebenezer(P) while the Philistines camped at Aphek.(Q) The Philistines lined up in battle formation against Israel, and as the battle intensified, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who struck down about four thousand men on the battlefield.

When the troops returned to the camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord defeat us today before the Philistines?(R) Let’s bring the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Shiloh. Then it[f] will go with us and save us from our enemies.”(S) So the people sent men to Shiloh to bring back the ark of the covenant of the Lord of Armies, who is enthroned between the cherubim.(T) Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. When the ark of the covenant of the Lord entered the camp, all the Israelites raised such a loud shout that the ground shook.(U)

The Philistines heard the sound of the war cry and asked, “What’s this loud shout in the Hebrews’ camp?” When the Philistines discovered that the ark of the Lord had entered the camp, they panicked. “A god has entered their camp!” they said. “Woe to us! Nothing like this has happened before. Woe to us! Who will rescue us from these magnificent gods? These are the gods that slaughtered the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness. Show some courage and be men, Philistines!(V) Otherwise, you’ll serve the Hebrews just as they served you.(W) Now be men and fight!”

10 So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated,(X) and each man fled to his tent.(Y) The slaughter was severe—thirty thousand of the Israelite foot soldiers fell. 11 The ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died.(Z)

Eli’s Death and Ichabod’s Birth

12 That same day, a Benjaminite man ran(AA) from the battle and came to Shiloh. His clothes were torn,(AB) and there was dirt on his head. 13 When he arrived, there was Eli sitting on his chair beside the road waiting,(AC) because he was anxious about the ark of God. When the man entered the city to give a report, the entire city cried out.

14 Eli heard the outcry and asked, “Why this commotion?” The man quickly came and reported to Eli. 15 At that time Eli was ninety-eight years old, and his eyes didn’t move[g] because he couldn’t see.(AD)

16 The man said to Eli, “I’m the one who came from the battle.[h] I fled from there today.”

“What happened, my son?” (AE) Eli asked.

17 The messenger answered, “Israel has fled from the Philistines, and also there was a great slaughter among the people. Your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are both dead, and the ark of God has been captured.” 18 When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off the chair by the city gate,(AF) and since he was old and heavy, his neck broke and he died. Eli had judged Israel forty years.

19 Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and about to give birth. When she heard the news about the capture of God’s ark and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband, she collapsed and gave birth because her labor pains came on her. 20 As she was dying,[i] the women taking care of her said, “Don’t be afraid. You’ve given birth to a son!” (AG) But she did not respond or pay attention. 21 She named the boy Ichabod,[j] saying, “The glory has departed from Israel,”(AH) referring to the capture of the ark of God(AI) and to the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 “The glory has departed from Israel,” she said, “because the ark of God has been captured.”

Footnotes

  1. 3:4 DSS, LXX read called, “Samuel! Samuel!”
  2. 3:11 Lit about it, his two ears will tingle; Hb obscure
  3. 3:13 LXX, Old Lat; MT reads them
  4. 3:19 Lit he let none of his words fall to the ground
  5. 4:1 LXX reads In those days the Philistines gathered together to fight against Israel, and Israel went out to engage them in battle. They
  6. 4:3 Or he
  7. 4:15 Lit his eyes stood; 1Kg 14:4
  8. 4:16 LXX reads camp
  9. 4:20 LXX reads And in her time of delivery, she was about to die
  10. 4:21 = Where Is Glory?

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