Second Sunday after Epiphany (Jan 14th)

Pastor's Summary of  I Samuel 3:1-20

Hannah, Samuel's mother, barren for many years, has given her son to the service of the Lord in thanksgiving for his gift of a child. He serves Eli in the temple at Shiloh.  (Jerusalem is not yet an Israelite city.) For many years (during the period of the judges), revelatrions from God ("word", "visions", v. 1) were rare.  The "lamp of God" (v. 3) burned throughout the night (per Exodus 27:21), near the Ark, so it was not yet morning. Perhaps Samuel lay near the lamp to tend it. God calls Samuel, as he had Moses, Gideon and Samson. Samuel thinks it is Eli who is calling him (vv. 5,6); he does not recognize God's voice because he had not come into direct contact with him (v. 7a); it is Eli who realizes that God is calling the boy (v. 8c), Samuel then acknowledges God's call

Vv 11-14 and 2:27-36 probably explain why the priests in later times were descended from Zadok and not from Eli: his sons were a bad lot; see 2:12-26. Samuel was later recognized as a prophet, and God continued to appear to him at Shiloh.