1 Samuel 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.
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(9, 10) And the Lord came, and stood.—Then before the boy, as he lay and waited for the voice, came something, and it stood before him. The question naturally occurs to us, What came and stood before the boy’s couch? As a rule, we find that generally, when the Lord was pleased to take some form, the form is specified. Now, as in Abraham’s case at Mamre, it was a traveller; now, as in Joshua’s, an armed warrior; very frequently, as to Manoah, the form was that of an angel; here nothing is specially described. Was it not that simply “the glory” on which Moses gazed when he met the Holy One on Sinai—“the glory” which seemed to rest at times in the lightless Holy of Holies on the golden mercy-seat of the Ark of the Covenant? Was it not this “visible glory”—Shekinah. as the Hebrews termed it—which filled the chamber of the child, and from out of this came the voice of the Eternal, and spoke to Samuel? “See how God loves holiness in children. The child Samuel was preferred by Him to Eli, the aged high priest and judge.”—Theodoret, quoted by Bishop Wordsworth.

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. Thy servant heareth, i.e. I am ready to hear what thou speakest, and to do what thou requirest.

Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, go, lie down,.... Once more:

and it shall be, if he call thee; the voice, or the Lord by it:

that thou shalt say, speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth; his meaning is, that he should not rise and come to him, as he had done, but continue on his bed, on hearing the voice again, but desire the Lord to speak to him what he had to say, to which he was ready to attend:

so Samuel went and lay down in his place; which, as commonly understood, was in the court of the Levites; see Gill on 1 Samuel 3:3.

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.
1 Samuel 3:9As 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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