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 chest 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."