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 near the Ark of God.
References for 1 Samuel 3:3
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.