1 Samuel 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.
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(8) And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child.—The whole story of the eventful night is told so naturally, the supernatural wonderfully interwoven with the common life of the sanctuary, that we forget, as we read, the strangeness of the events recorded. The sleeping child is awakened by a voice uttering his name. He naturally supposes it is his half-blind old master summoning him. The same thing occurs a second and a third time. Then it flashed upon Eli the boy had had no dream. We can well fancy the old man, when Samuel again came in, asking, “Where did the voice you thought was mine come from?” and the boy would reply, “From your chamber, master.” And the old high priest would remember that in the same direction, only at the extremity of the sanctuary, behind the veil, was the Ark and the seat of God. Was, then, the glory of the Lord shining there? and did the voice as in old days proceed from that sacred golden throne? Se he bade his pupil go to his chamber again, and if the voice spoke to him again, to answer, not Eli, but the invisible King—“Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.”

3:1-10 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, Joh 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.Did not yet know the Lord - i. e. in His supernatural communication, as follows at the end of the verse. The text rendering of this verse is better than that of the margin. 5-18. he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me—It is evident that his sleeping chamber was close to that of the aged high priest and that he was accustomed to be called during the night. The three successive calls addressed to the boy convinced Eli of the divine character of the speaker, and he therefore exhorted the child to give a reverential attention to the message. The burden of [the Lord's message] was an extraordinary premonition of the judgments that impended over Eli's house; and the aged priest, having drawn the painful secret from the child, exclaimed, "It is the Lord; let him do what seemeth him good." Such is the spirit of meek and unmurmuring submission in which we ought to receive the dispensations of God, however severe and afflictive. But, in order to form a right estimate of Eli's language and conduct on this occasion, we must consider the overwhelming accumulation of judgments denounced against his person, his sons, his descendants—his altar, and nation. With such a threatening prospect before him, his piety and meekness were wonderful. In his personal character he seems to have been a good man, but his sons' conduct was flagrantly bad; and though his misfortunes claim our sympathy, it is impossible to approve or defend the weak and unfaithful course which, in the retributive justice of God, brought these adversities upon him. He arose and went to Eli; he persists in the same readiness to obey and serve him and was not discouraged or driven from his duty by his double mistake and disappointment.

Eli perceived, by the consideration of Samuel’s piety, of the sanctity of the place adjoining, from whence God had oft-times spoken, and of the solitude of the place, where there was no human person besides himself who could or would have called Samuel in that manner.

And the Lord called Samuel again the third time,.... In the same manner he had done before, expressing his name no doubt:

and he arose and went to Eli, and said, here am I, for thou didst call me; as if he should say, it must certainly be so, I cannot be mistaken a third time:

and Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child; he was satisfied now that Samuel must have heard a voice, and he knew there was no man in the tabernacle but himself, and therefore it must be the voice of the Lord out of the most holy place; and he had formerly been acquainted with such voices, and used to them, and now called them to mind; and besides, as Aben Ezra observes, he was the rather confirmed in this, that the Lord called Samuel, because Samuel heard the voice, and not Eli, though Eli lay nearer the most holy place than Samuel did; which showed that this must be the voice of prophecy the Lord makes whom he pleases to hear; and that Eli might be fully persuaded of this, before the matter of the prophecy was delivered to him, Samuel was so often directed to him.

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 {g} perceived that the LORD had called the child.

(g) Such was the corruption of those times that the chief priest had become dull and negligent to understand the Lord's appearing.

Verse 8. - But Eli was neither so inexperienced, nor so lost to all sense of Jehovah being the immediate ruler of Israel, as not to perceive, when Samuel came to him the third time, that the matter was Divine. Possibly he recalled to mind the visit of the man of God, and had some presage of what the message might be. At all events he bade Samuel lie calmly down again, because the best preparation for hearing God's voice is obedience and trustful submission. 1 Samuel 3:8As soon as Samuel heard his name called out, he hastened to Eli to receive his commands. But Eli bade him lie down again, as he had not called him. At first, no doubt, he thought the call which Samuel had heard was nothing more than a false impression of the youth, who had been fast asleep. But the same thing was repeated a second and a third time; for, as the historian explains in 1 Samuel 3:6, "Samuel had not yet known Jehovah, and (for) the word of Jehovah was not yet revealed to him." (The perfect ידע after טרם, though very rare, is fully supported by Psalm 90:2 and Proverbs 8:25, and therefore is not to be altered into ידע, as Dietrich and Bttcher propose.) He therefore imagined again that Eli had called him. But when he came to Eli after the third call, Eli perceived that the Lord was calling, and directed Samuel, if the call were repeated, to answer, "Speak, Lord; for Thy servant heareth."
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