We have already studied two prophecies (messages from God) that people received during the early years of Samuelís life: 1 Samuel 2:1-10 and 1 Samuel 2:27-36. However, prophecies were rare during this period of Israelís history.
1 Samuel chapter 3 is the account of how Samuel became a prophet (a person who spoke messages from God).
Samuel was just a boy; he worked as the servant of Eli, Israelís chief priest. Really, however, Samuel was the servant of God; his mother had given him to work for God (1:28).
One of Samuelís duties was to sleep in the house of God. Many of the objects there were gold; Samuel was acting as a guard. If anyone entered that place, Samuel had to run away to call the priests. Then, the priests and the other men from the town would fight the thieves.
At that time, the house of God was not a building; it was a tent. So, Samuel could easily hear if Eli called him from his (Eliís) home. Eli probably called Samuel often; Eli was old and weak.
On this particular night, Samuel thought that he heard his masterís voice. Samuel was a willing servant; he ran to help Eli. However, Eli had not called the boy, and he did not need help. So Samuel returned to the sacred tent to sleep.
Again the voice called Samuel by name. Again Samuel went to help Eli. Samuel was sure that his master had called him. But Eli insisted that he had not called him.
In fact, Samuelís master had called Samuel: not Eli, but Samuelís real master, that is, God. However, Samuel did not yet know God in that way. Of course Samuel loved God and he served God. But he could not yet recognise Godís voice.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.