1The boy Samuel served before the Lord under Eli's supervision. At that time messages from the Lord were rare—visions were not common.
2One evening, Eli had gone to bed in his room. His eyes were now so weak that he couldn't see.
3The lamp of God hadn't yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Lord's Temple where the Ark of God was.
4Then the Lord called, “Samuel!” He answered, “I'm here.”
5He ran to Eli, and said, “I'm here—you called me.” “I didn't call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So Samuel went back to bed.
6Then the Lord called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up, went to Eli and said, “I'm here—you called me.” “I didn't call you, my son,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.”
7(Samuel hadn't yet come to know the Lord and had not received any message from him.)
8The Lord called again for the third time, “Samuel!” He got up went to Eli and said, “I'm here—you called me.” Then Eli realized that it was the Lord calling the boy.
9Eli told Samuel, “Go back to bed, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, because your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to his bed.
10The Lord came and stood there, calling just as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” Samuel answered, “Speak, because your servant is listening.”
11The Lord told Samuel: “Pay attention, because I'm going to do something in Israel that will surprise everyone who hears it.
12That's when I will carry out against Eli and his family everything I have said, from beginning to end.
13I told him that I will judge his family forever because of the sins he knows about, because his sons blasphemed God and he did not try and stop them.
14That's why I swore to Eli and his family, ‘The guilt of Eli and his descendants will never be removed by sacrifice or offering.’”
15Samuel remained in bed until the morning. Then he got up and opened the doors of the Lord's Temple as usual. He was afraid to tell Eli about the vision.
16But Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.” “I'm here,” Samuel answered.
17“What did he tell you?” Eli asked. “Don't hide it from me. May God punish you very severely if you hide anything he told you from me!”
18So Samuel told him everything and didn't hide anything from him. “It's the Lord,” Eli replied. “May he do what he thinks is good.”
19Samuel continued to grow up. The Lord was with him and made sure all he said was trustworthy.
20Everyone in the whole of Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the Lord.
21The Lord went on appearing at Shiloh, because there he revealed himself to Samuel and delivered his messages,