1–3 3 The boy Samuel was serving God under Eli’s direction. This was at a time when the revelation of God was rarely heard or seen. One night Eli was sound asleep (his eyesight was very bad—he could hardly see). It was well before dawn; the sanctuary lamp was still burning. Samuel was still in bed in the Temple of God, where the Chest of God rested.
Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.” And so he did.
Samuel got up and went to Eli, “I heard you call. Here I am.”
That’s when it dawned on Eli that God was calling the boy. So Eli directed Samuel, “Go back and lie down. If the voice calls again, say, ‘Speak, God. I’m your servant, ready to listen.’ ” Samuel returned to his bed.
Samuel answered, “Speak. I’m your servant, ready to listen.”