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I Samuel 3:1-10

Victor M. Eskew


1.      Outline section:


i.                    THE RARITY OF THE WORD (I Sam. 3:1)

ii.                  THE REVELATION FROM GOD (I Sam. 3:2-8a)

iii.                THE REDIRECTON BY ELI (I Sam. 2:8b-9)

iv.                THE RESPONSE OF SAMUEL (I Sam. 2:10)


2.      What was Samuel doing before Eli? (I Sam. 3:1)


And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli…


A.    He was ministering before the Lord.


3.      Define:  ministered (I Sam. 3:1)


A.    Definition:

1.      Strong (8334):  to attend as a menial or worshipper

2.      BDB:  to minister, serve, to minister to


B.      This is the third time that we are told that Samuel ministered unto the Lord (I Sam. 2:11, 18).


C.     This shows us two things:

1.      Samuel’s faithfulness in carrying out his duties to the Lord.

2.      The contrast of Samuel to the sons of Eli who were unfaithful in their duties.


4.      What is the meaning of the words:  “And the word of God was precious in those days; there was no open vision” (I Sam. 3:1)


…And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.


A.    Precious

1.      Strong (3368):  valuable

2.      BDB:  valuable, prized, weighty, precious, rare, splendid


B.      We must keep in mind that the Old Testament was not as quickly revealed as the New Testament.

1.      It was revealed by prophets from time to time (See Isa. 28:13; II Pet. 1:20-21).

2.      At this time in the history of Israel, the Word of God was not being revealed very much.  Oftentimes, unbelief and disobedience would cause God to cease His revelations to the people. 

3.      Therefore, it was rare or precious.

4.      “The song of Hannah, and the prophecy of the “man of God” (1Sa_2:27 note), are the only instances of prophecy since Deborah. Samuel is mentioned as the first of the series of prophets Act_3:24 (Barnes, e-sword).


C.     The words, “there was no open vision” help us to understand the previous part of the verse.

1.      Visions were one of the ways God communicated to the prophets.

2.      See Hebrews 1:1

5.      What is verse 2 describing? (I Sam. 3:2)


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.


A.    Eli did not have good eye sight.  This is one of the difficulties of growing old for many (I Sam. 4:15; Eccl. 12:2).


B.      As darkness settled upon the land and bedtime drew near, it was even more difficult for him to see.  NOTE:  Samuel would have been well aware of Eli’s lack of sight.


6.      T – F    The lamp of God in the holy place was supposed to go out. (I Sam. 3:3)


And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was…


A.    True.


B.      The candlestick in the holy place was supposed to be lit at the evening and allowed to burn through the night until the oil ran out (Exo. 27:20-21; 30:8, II Chron. 13:11).


…to cause the lamp to burn always.  In the tabernacle of the congregation without the veil, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the Lord.  And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even…And the candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening…


7.      What do the words, “ere the lamp of God went out” refer to? (I Sam. 3:3)


A.    The word “ere” means before.


B.      It was sometime in the middle of the night that the call of God came to Samuel.


8.      When God called Samuel, what did God say to him? (I Sam. 3:4)


That the Lord called Samuel:  and he answered, Here am I.


A.    The Lord called Samul to attention by simply calling his name.


9.      How did Samuel respond? (I Sam. 3:4)


A.    Samuel was very compliant and submissive.  He simply said:  “Here am I.”


10.  Who did Samuel think had called him? (I Sam. 3:5)


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.


A.    As a servant to Eli, Samuel had probably heard Eli called out in times past in need of assistance.


B.      Upon hearing his name called, he would immediately assume that this was Eli needing him again.


11.  How many times did God call Samuel, and he mistook the call as coming from Eli? (I Sam. 3:4, 6, 8)


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.


A.    He called Samuel three times

1.      “The Lord called Samuel…” (I Sam. 3:4)

2.      “And the Lord called yet again…” (I Sam. 3:6).

3.      “And the Lord called Samuel again the third time…” (I Sam. 3:8)


B.      NOTE:  We are not told Eli’s thoughts as the events are happening.  He simply says to the young man that he had not called him and to go back to bed.


12.  Explain I Samuel 3:7


Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him.


A.    We are introduced to another way that a person could “know” the Lord.  Remember it was said of Eli’s sons that they “knew not the Lord” (I Sam. 2:12).


B.      Samuel definitely knew who the Lord was from the standpoint of having knowledge of Him as the God of Israel.


C.     However, he had not ever received any direct revelation from God as a prophet.  Therefore, he did not yet know how the Lord spoke to his chosen prophets.


13.  After the third time, who did Eli perceive had called Samuel? (I Sam. 3:8)


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.


A.    The first time Eli may have merely thought Samuel thought that he heard him call.


B.      The second time, he may have been a little more suspicious.  He knew that he had not called the child.  It may not have been very long between the times that Samuel heard his name.


C.     The third time, Eli knew who was calling this young man.


14.  Define:  perceive (I Sam. 3:8)


A.    Strong (995):  to separate mentally, to distinguish, to understand.


B.      BDB:  to discern, understand, insight


15.  If the call came to Samuel again, how did Eli tell Samuel to answer?  (I Sam. 3:9)


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.


A.    He was to simply say:  “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.”


B.      This phrase has been used for sermons many times through the years.

1.      It shows one’s openness to the Word of God.

2.      It shows one’s availability to God.

3.      It shows one’s submission to God’s authority.


16.  Define:  servant (I Sam. 3:9)


A.    Strong (5650):  a servant


B.      BDB:  slave, servant, subject


17.  T – F    God called Samuel the fourth time.  (I Sam. 3:10)


And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel…


A.    True


B.      This time there is the addition of the words:  “And the Lord came, and stood…”

1.      Clarke says that this indicates that the voice grew closer and closer and was now loud enough that is was as if the Lord was in his presence.

2.      A personal presence, not a mere voice, or impression upon Samuel’s mind, is here distinctly indicated (Barnes, e-sword).


C.     This was the first call that God ever made to Samuel.  Perhaps God called with a voice at first so as not to frighten him.  Once Samuel was prepared by Eli to know that this was the Lord’s call, he would now appear to him in some manner.


18.   How did Samuel respond?  (I Sam. 3:10)


…Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.


A.    Eli had told him to say:  “Speak, Lord…”, but Samuel omitted the word “Lord.”


B.      It could have been that he was not sure that it was the Lord really speaking to him.  It would have been quite an occasion to hear the Lord’s voice.  It had been said that “Samuel did not yet know the Lord…” (I Sam. 3:7).


















I Samuel 3:11-4:1a

Victor M. Eskew


19.  Outline section:


i.                    I Samuel 3:11-14

ii.                  I Samuel 3:15

iii.                I Samuel 3:16-18

iv.                I Samuel 3:19-4:1a


20.  What does the phrase, “at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle” mean?     (I Sam. 3:11)



21.  What is the meaning of the words:  “…when I begin, I will also make an end”? (I Sam. 3:12)



22.  Why was the Lord going to judge Eli’s house? (I Sam. 3:13)



23.  Define:  judge (I Sam. 3:13)



24.  Define:  vile (I Sam. 3:13)



25.  What would not be purged from the house of Eli with neither sacrifice nor offering? (I Sam. 3:14).



26.  What was one of the works of ministry that Samuel performed? (I Sam. 3:15).



27.  “And Samuel  _____________________  to show Eli the vision” (I Sam. 3:15).


28.  Why do you think Samuel feared to tell Eli the vision?




29.  When Eli called Samuel, how did he refer to him? (I Sam. 3:16)



30.  How did Samuel respond to Eli’s call? (I Sam. 3:16)



31.  What did Eli tell Samuel NOT to do? (I Sam. 3:17)



32.  T – F    Samuel kept back some of the vision from Eli. (I Sam. 3:18)



33.  How did Eli respond to Samuel’s words (I Sam. 3:18)




34.  Who was with Samuel as he grew? (I Sam. 3:19)



35.  None of Samuel’s _________________ to the ground. (I Sam. 3:19).  What does this mean?




36.  T- F      All Israel knew that Samuel was established to be a priest in Israel. (I Sam. 3:20).



37.  How is the extent of the knowledge about Samuel described? (I Sam. 3:20)



38.  Define:  established



39.  Who appeared to Samuel in Shiloh? (I Sam. 3:21)



40.  What does the text mean when it says:  “and the Lord revealed himself to Samuel”? (I Sam. 3:21)