Meanwhile, the boy Samuel was serving the LORD by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the LORD were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon.
One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had just gone to bed.
The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle a near the Ark of God.
Suddenly, the LORD called out, "Samuel! Samuel!" "Yes?" Samuel replied. "What is it?"
He jumped up and ran to Eli. "Here I am. What do you need?" "I didn't call you," Eli replied. "Go on back to bed." So he did.
Then the LORD called out again, "Samuel!" Again Samuel jumped up and ran to Eli. "Here I am," he said. "What do you need?" "I didn't call you, my son," Eli said. "Go on back to bed."
Samuel did not yet know the LORD because he had never had a message from the LORD before.
So now the LORD called a third time, and once more Samuel jumped up and ran to Eli. "Here I am," he said. "What do you need?" Then Eli realized it was the LORD who was calling the boy.
So he said to Samuel, "Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, 'Yes, LORD, your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went back to bed.
And the LORD came and called as before, "Samuel! Samuel!"And Samuel replied, "Yes, your servant is listening."
Then the LORD said to Samuel, "I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel.
I am going to carry out all my threats against Eli and his family.
I have warned him continually that judgment is coming for his family, because his sons are blaspheming God b and he hasn't disciplined them.
So I have vowed that the sins of Eli and his sons will never be forgiven by sacrifices or offerings."
Samuel stayed in bed until morning, then got up and opened the doors of the Tabernacle c as usual. He was afraid to tell Eli what the LORD had said to him.
But Eli called out to him, "Samuel, my son." "Here I am," Samuel replied.
"What did the LORD say to you? Tell me everything. And may God punish you if you hide anything from me!"
So Samuel told Eli everything; he didn't hold anything back. "It is the LORD's will," Eli replied. "Let him do what he thinks best."
As Samuel grew up, the LORD was with him, and everything Samuel said was wise and helpful.
All the people of Israel from one end of the land to the other knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)