1 Samuel 3

1 The child Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. the LORD’s word was precious in those days. There visions were not frequent. 2 At that time, when Eli was laid down in his place (now his eyes had begun to grow dim, so that he could not see), 3 and God’s lamp hadn’t yet gone out, and Samuel had laid down in the LORD’s temple, where God’s ark was; 4 the LORD called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” 5 He ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am; for you called me.” He said, “I didn’t call. Lie down again.” He went and lay down. 6 The LORD called yet again, “Samuel!” Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; for you called me.” He answered, “I didn’t call, my son. Lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel didn’t yet know the LORD, neither was the LORD’s word yet revealed to him. 8 The LORD called Samuel again the third time. He arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; for you called me.” Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down. It shall be, if he calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, the LORD; for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 The LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak; for your servant hears.” 11 The LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from the beginning even to the end. 13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever, for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves, and he didn’t restrain them. 14 Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be removed with sacrifice or offering forever.” 15 Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the LORD’s house. Samuel feared to show Eli the vision. 16 Then Eli called Samuel, and said, “Samuel, my son!” He said, “Here I am.” 17 He said, “What is the thing that he has spoken to you? Please don’t hide it from me. God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the things that he spoke to you.” 18 Samuel told him every bit, and hid nothing from him. He said, “It is the LORD. Let him do what seems good to him.” 19 Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD. 21 The LORD appeared again in Shiloh; for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the LORD’s word.

(Previous Chapter)    •    (Next Chapter)

Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

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, Joh 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.

Back to Top