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And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.
And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;
And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;
That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.
And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.
Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.
And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child.
Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.
In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end.
For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.
And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.
And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to show Eli the vision.
Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I.
And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee.
And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.
And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.
And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.

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.

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