New Defender's Study Bible Notes
3:1 no open vision. The fact that there “was no open vision” and “the word of the LORD was precious” indicates that God had not given any direct revelation to His people, as He had in former times. This is the first occurrence of “vision” in this sense in the Bible.
3:3 temple of the LORD. By this time, the original tabernacle, or tent, would certainly have worn out, for the Israelites had been in Canaan for several centuries at least. Evidently, since it had been established at Shiloh at what was assumed to be a permanent home, the tent had been replaced by a permanent structure of some kind, which was called a temple. The structure housed the Ark of the Covenant and the tables of the law. This was not, of course, the later temple built by Solomon at Jerusalem.
3:10 Samuel, Samuel. When one’s name is spoken twice, especially by the Lord, the message is vitally important. Note His similar call to Moses (Exodus 3:4), to Abraham (Genesis 22:11), to Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37) and to Paul (Acts 9:4).
3:12 concerning his house. God had told Eli that he and his sons had forfeited their right to the priest’s office (I Samuel 2:30-33). Hophni, Phinehas, and Eli all died the same day (I Samuel 4:11, 18). Later, Saul slew Ahimelech, grandson of Phinehas, who had continued to serve as priest (I Samuel 22:16-20), but his son Abiathar escaped and served as priest under David. Abiathar was in turn deposed by Solomon (I Kings 2:26-27), finally completing the prophecy. Thereafter Zadok and his descendants held the priests’ office.
3:13 restrained them not. It was completely inexcusable for those who would be priests to behave as Eli’s sons were doing (I Samuel 2:12-17,22), and it was Eli’s duty to force them to behave responsibly. Their crimes were actually capital crimes and, if unrepented and uncorrected, it would have been his responsibility even to have them executed (note Deuteronomy 21:18-21). Eli rebuked his sons verbally (I Samuel 2:22-25), but they ignored him, and Eli allowed them to continue. God therefore sharply rebuked Eli himself (not just his sons) for honoring his sons more than the Lord (I Samuel 2:29). Eli’s descendants were eventually to be banned from the priesthood as a result.