Now the boy Samuel was serving the LORD under Eli. The LORD's word was rare at that time, and visions weren't widely known.
One day Eli, whose eyes had grown so weak he was unable to see, was lying down in his room.
God's lamp hadn't gone out yet, and Samuel was lying down in the LORD's temple, where God's chesta was.
The LORD called to Samuel. "I'm here," he said.
Samuel hurried to Eli and said, "I'm here. You called me?" "I didn't call you," Eli replied. "Go lie down." So he did.
Again the LORD called Samuel, so Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said, "I'm here. You called me?" "I didn't call, my son," Eli replied. "Go and lie down."
(Now Samuel didn't yet know the LORD, and the LORD's word hadn't yet been revealed to him.)
A third time the LORD called Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, "I'm here. You called me?" Then Eli realized that it was the LORD who was calling the boy.
So Eli said to Samuel, "Go and lie down. If he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD. Your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down where he'd been.
Then the LORD came and stood there, calling just as before, "Samuel, Samuel!" Samuel said, "Speak. Your servant is listening."
The LORD said to Samuel, "I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of all who hear it tingle!
On that day, I will bring to pass against Eli everything I said about his household—every last bit of it!b13
I told him that I would punish his family forever because of the wrongdoing he knew about—how his sons were cursing God,c but he wouldn't stop them.
Because of that I swore about Eli's household that his family's wrongdoing will never be reconciled by sacrifice or by offering."
Samuel lay there until morning, then opened the doors of the LORD's house. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli.
But Eli called Samuel, saying: "Samuel, my son!" "I'm here," Samuel said.
"What did he say to you?" Eli asked. "Don't hide anything from me. May God deal harshly with you and worse still if you hide from me a single word from everything he said to you."
So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. "He is the LORD, " Eli said. "He will do as he pleases."
So Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him, not allowing any of his words to fail.
All Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was trustworthy as the LORD's prophet.
The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh because the LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh through the LORD's own word.