The word of the Lord first revealed to Samuel. (Verse 1-10.)
God tells Samuel the destruction of Eli’s house. (Verse 11-18.)
Samuel established to be a prophet. (Verse 19-21.)
1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.
3:1 – There have been times throughout history that God has chosen to freely give miraculous revelation and other times
(as here) he has chosen not to give “open vision” – during the 400 years between the OT and NT there was no open
vision or revelation from God – all that God’s people had for “revelation” was the written OT scriptures. Today we find
the same situation – all that we have for revelation is the written scriptures and there will be no more open revelation
until the rapture comes and God again begins dealing with the Jews. This is obviously contrary to those in the
Charismatic movement (as well as the Mormons, JW’s, Catholics, etc.) who claim that God is giving additional
revelation. The common argument to justify their disobedience to Rev. 22:18 is that God is merely giving new truth “as
he always has throughout the Bible.” I Sam. 3:1 however shows that there have been times even in the Bible where
God remained silent.
2 And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;
[Gen 27:1, Gen 48:10, Eccl 12:3]
3 And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;
4 That the Lord called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
5 And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.
6 And the Lord called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him.
8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child.
9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.
11 And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.
12 In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end.
13 For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.
“he restrained them not” – note that restraining children from doing evil when possible is a parental
responsibility! In the case of Eli’s sons, at least one was old enough to be married and yet God still held Eli responsible
for the actions of his sons when it was within his power to act.
14 And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.
15 And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.
16 Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I.
17 And he said, What is the thing that the Lord hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee.
18 And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good.
19 And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
make sure you are never guilty of letting God’s words fall to the ground; this can happen through disobedience,
perverting and correcting the words of God in the Bible, or by using a “bible” version that lets God’s words fall out and
onto the ground through omissions and changes.
20 And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord.
21 And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh: for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord.
God reveals himself by his word – think about that one!
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710
Verse 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.
Verse 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.
Verse 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.