1 Samuel 3

Listen to 1 Samuel 3

The Lord Calls Samuel

1 1Now the young man Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. 2And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.
2 At that time Eli, 3whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place.
3 4The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down 5in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.
4 Then the LORD called Samuel, and he said, "Here I am!"
5 and ran to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call; lie down again." So he went and lay down.
6 And the LORD called again, "Samuel!" and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call, my son; lie down again."
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
8 And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the young man.
9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, "Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, 'Speak, LORD, for your servant hears.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant hears."
11 Then the LORD said to Samuel, "Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel 6at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.
12 On that day I will fulfill against Eli 7all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.
13 8And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, 9because his sons were blaspheming God,[a]10and he did not restrain them.
14 Therefore I swear to the house of Eli 11that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever."
15 Samuel lay until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli.
16 But Eli called Samuel and said, "Samuel, my son." And he said, "Here I am."
17 And Eli said, "What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. 12May God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all that he told you."
18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, 13"It is the LORD. Let him do what seems good to him."
19 14And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him 15and let none of his words fall to the ground.
20 And all Israel 16from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the LORD.
21 And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel 17at Shiloh 18by the word of the LORD.

1 Samuel 3 Commentary

Chapter 3

The word of the Lord first revealed to Samuel. (1-10) God tells Samuel the destruction of Eli's house. (11-18) Samuel established to be a prophet. (19-21)

Verses 1-10 The call which Divine grace designs shall be made effectual; will be repeated till it is so, till we come to the call. Eli, perceiving that it was the voice of God that Samuel heard, instructed him what to say. Though it was a disgrace to Eli, for God's call to be directed to Samuel, yet he told him how to meet it. Thus the elder should do their utmost to assist and improve the younger that are rising up. Let us never fail to teach those who are coming after us, even such as will soon be preferred before us, ( John 1:30 ) . Good words should be put into children's mouths betimes, by which they may be prepared to learn Divine things, and be trained up to regard them.

Verses 11-18 What a great deal of guilt and corruption is there in us, concerning which we may say, It is the iniquity which our own heart knoweth; we are conscious to ourselves of it! Those who do not restrain the sins of others, when it is in their power to do it, make themselves partakers of the guilt, and will be charged as joining in it. In his remarkable answer to this awful sentence, Eli acknowledged that the Lord had a right to do as he saw good, being assured that he would do nothing wrong. The meekness, patience, and humility contained in those words, show that he was truly repentant; he accepted the punishment of his sin.

Verses 19-21 All increase in wisdom and grace, is owing to the presence of God with us. God will graciously repeat his visits to those who receive them aright. Early piety will be the greatest honour of young people. Those who honour God he will honour. Let young people consider the piety of Samuel, and from him they will learn to remember their Creator in the days of their youth. Young children are capable of religion. Samuel is a proof that their waiting upon the Lord will be pleasing to him. He is a pattern of all those amiable tempers, which are the brightest ornament of youth, and a sure source of happiness.

Cross References 18

  • 1. 1 Samuel 2:11, 18
  • 2. [ver. 21; Psalms 74:9; Amos 8:11]
  • 3. 1 Samuel 4:15; Genesis 27:1; Genesis 48:10; [Deuteronomy 34:7]
  • 4. Exodus 27:20, 21; Leviticus 24:2, 3; 2 Chronicles 13:11
  • 5. 1 Samuel 1:9
  • 6. 2 Kings 21:12; Jeremiah 19:3
  • 7. See 1 Samuel 2:30-36
  • 8. [See ver. 12 above]
  • 9. 1 Samuel 2:12, 17, 22
  • 10. 1 Samuel 2:23-25
  • 11. [Isaiah 22:14]
  • 12. [Ruth 1:17]
  • 13. [2 Samuel 10:12; Job 1:21; Job 2:10; Psalms 39:9; Isaiah 39:8]
  • 14. See 1 Samuel 2:21
  • 15. [1 Samuel 9:6]
  • 16. See 2 Samuel 3:10
  • 17. [Joshua 18:1]
  • 18. ver. 1, 4

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or blaspheming for themselves

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of the Lord's calling to Samuel in the night season, which he first took for the voice of Eli, but being instructed by him, made answer to the voice, 1Sa 3:1-10, and of a message sent from him by Samuel to Eli, foretelling the destruction of his family, 1Sa 3:11-14 and of the delivery of it to him, which Samuel was first fearful of doing, but, encouraged by Eli, he delivered it to him, to which he patiently submitted, 1Sa 3:15-18 and the chapter is closed with the establishment of Samuel as a prophet of the Lord, who continued to appear and reveal himself to him, 1Sa 3:19-21.

1 Samuel 3 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.