God chooses Samuel
1 The boy Samuel continued to serve the Lord. Eli the priest taught him what to do. In those days, the Lord did not often give his messages to people. He did not often show things to them in visions.
2 Eli's eyes had become weak. He could not see very well. One night, he was sleeping in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God was still burning. Samuel was lying down to sleep near the Covenant Box in the Lord's house. 4 Then the Lord called out to Samuel. Samuel answered, ‘Here I am.’ 5 Samuel ran to Eli and he said, ‘You called my name. Here I am.’
But Eli said, ‘I did not call your name. Go back and lie down again.’ So Samuel went and he lay down again.
6 Again the Lord called out, ‘Samuel’. So Samuel went to Eli and he said, ‘You called my name. Here I am.’
Eli answered, ‘My son, I did not call your name. Go back and lie down again.’
7 Samuel did not know the Lord yet. The Lord had not spoken to him before. 8 Then the Lord called Samuel's name for the third time. Samuel got up again. He went to Eli and he said, ‘You called my name. Here I am.’
Then Eli realized that it was the Lord who was calling the boy's name. 9 So Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go back and lie down again. If he calls your name again, you must say, “Speak, Lord. I am your servant and I am listening.” ’ So Samuel went back and he lay down in his place.
10 The Lord came and he stood near to Samuel. He called Samuel's name again, as he had done before. He said, ‘Samuel, Samuel’. Samuel said, ‘Speak. I am your servant and I am listening.’
3:10This is the first time that God spoke to Samuel. It is the start of his work as a prophet of God.
11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Listen to me. I am ready to do something great among the Israelite people. When people hear about it, they will shake with fear. 12 When that day arrives, I will punish Eli and his family in all the ways that I have said. I will start at the beginning and I will continue to the end. 13 I have warned Eli that I would punish his family for all time. He knew that his sons were doing very bad things. They were insulting me, God, and Eli did not stop them. 14 So I made a strong promise and I said, “I will never forgive the sins of Eli's family. No sacrifices or offerings will ever take away those sins.” ’
15 Samuel lay down again until the morning. Then he opened the doors of the Lord's house. He was afraid to tell Eli about the vision that he had received from God. 16 But Eli called out to Samuel, ‘Samuel, my son.’ Samuel answered, ‘Here I am.’
17 Eli asked Samuel, ‘What message did the Lord speak to you? You must not hide it from me. God will certainly punish you if you do not tell me everything that he said to you.’
18 So Samuel told Eli everything. He did not hide any of God's message. Then Eli said, ‘The Lord. must do what he thinks is right.’
19 The Lord was with Samuel while he continued to grow up. So every message that Samuel spoke became true. 20 In all Israel, from the north to the south, everyone realized that Samuel was truly the Lord's prophet. 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh. He showed himself to Samuel and he spoke to him there.
3:20‘from the north to the south’ or ‘from Dan to Beersheba’.
1 Samuel 4
1 Samuel spoke the Lord's messages to all the Israelites.
The Philistines take God's Covenant Box
The Israelites went out to fight against the Philistines. The Israelite army put up their tents near the place called Ebenezer. The Philistine army put up their tents at Aphek.