Bringing the Text to Life
There must have been days when the young Samuel wondered what his mother had gotten him into. He had spent virtually his whole childhood assisting in the temple at Shiloh, training to become a full-time servant of God, loyally waiting on the priestly family of Eli -- but not once had he perceived God's presence in the temple or God's purpose for his life. Samuel had been dedicated to God, but where was God? What was he supposed to do now? There was no "frequent vision" to guide him.
Because Samuel did not yet "know the Lord," he was directionless, floundering, confused. His role models for life didn't offer much encouragement either. As priests, Eli's sons were greedy, gluttonous and completely self-centered. They cheated and stole from the people and from God.
Eli, Samuel's mentor, was apparently kind and wise and obedient. But he was also somehow incapable of controlling his sons' behavior and so failed to maintain the sanctity of the temple. Eli was weak. With no vision of his...