Story 16 - Samuel 2

Samuel grows up in the temple. The Bible says, “the boy Samuel continued to grow and to gain favour both with the Lord and with people,” BUT what Hannah didn’t know was that Eli’s two sons, also priests, were ‘wicked men’. They abused their priestly role and were greedy, stealing from the offerings people bought to God and behaving very badly. Eli, as their father, let them get away with it, in fact would eat some of the offerings they had stolen.

One night, while Samuel was sleeping, he heard a voice calling, Samuel!”  Samuel thought it was Eli calling him so he ran to him and said, “Here I am,” “I didn’t call you,” answered Eli. “Go back and lie down.”

So Samuel went back and lay down but again he heard a voice calling him, “Samuel, Samuel!” and again he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, you called me.”    “I didn’t call you my son; go back and lie down.”  Samuel did.

It happened a third time and a third time Samuel ran to Eli. Then Eli understood that it was God calling Samuel and he told Samuel, “If he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’”

So Samuel went to lie down and the Lord came and stood there and called as he had done the other times. This time Samuel replied, “ Speak, for your servant is listening.” And the Lord spoke to him about what was going to happen.

The next morning Eli asked Samuel what the Lord had said to him. Samuel was afraid to tell Eli because the Lord had told Samuel about how he was going to deal with the wickedness of Eli’s sons and how Eli was a part of this because he didn’t stop his sons bad behaviour.

Eli listened to Samuel and said, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.”

Samuel had started his work as a prophet. A prophet is someone that speaks on behalf of another and we saw in this story ,how Samuel spoke to Eli what the Lord, or God had said to him. It is also a calling. People did not apply for the job, God called them to do it. It wasn’t a popular job because people didn’t tend to like what God was saying through the prophet.

It is not long after this that Eli’s sons die and then Eli himself. We shall look at another story of Samuel who then becomes a priest as well -  but next time we will look more at prophets and why you probably wouldn’t have wanted to be one!