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called him Samuel, which means in the Hebrew, “ Asked of God," saying, “Because I have asked him of the LORD." That time Hannah did not go up to Shiloh with Elkanah, for she said to him, "I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever." Her husband agreed, saying, “Do what seemeth thee good, tarry till thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish His Word.”
In due course of time they took the little Samuel up to the House of the LORD at Shiloh, with offerings of flour and wine and bullocks, and offered a sacrifice—and then they brought the child to Eli the priest. And Hannah said, “O my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. For this child I prayed, and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of Him; therefore also I have lent him to the LORD, as long as he liveth he shall be lent unto the Lord.” Then they left Samuel with Eli to be trained up in the worship and fear of the LORD.
Meanwhile Hannah burst forth in prayer very different from the sorrowful complaint she had
once poured out in that holy temple. Now her whole soul was filled with gladness and gratitude, and she prayed and said, “My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD; my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies, because I rejoice in Thy salvation. There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside Thee: neither is there any rock like our God. Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men are broken : and they that stumbled are girded with strength. They that were full have hired out themselves for bread, and they that were hungry ceased : so that the barren hath borne seven, and she that hath many children is waxed feeble. The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: He bringeth down to the grave and bringeth up. The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich : He bringeth low and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory : for the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and He hath set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of His saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness : for by strength shall no man prevail. The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces, out of Heaven shall He thunder upon them : the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth ; and He shall give strength unto His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed.”
Then Samuel remained at Shiloh, under Eli's care, and he ministered before the Lord in such things as a child could do, wearing a linen ephod, as our little choristers now wear linen surplices. And every year when Hannah came up to Shiloh to worship with Elkanah, she brought a little coat for her son.
Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and prayed God to reward them for their piety in devoting Samuel to the Lord's service, by giving them other children. And God answered his prayer, and gave them three more sons, and two daughters.
GOD CALLING SAMUEL.
Samuel continued to grow in the fear of God, and doubtless he must have been an earnest holy boy, for God was pleased to make
him His special messenger to Eli, while he was yet but a little child.
One night Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim; Samuel too was laid down to sleep. The lamp of God was yet burning in the temple of the LORDand all was still. Then in the solemn hush of the night, the Lord called Samuel. But he thought the voice was Eli's, and he ran to the aged priest, and said, “Here am I, for thou didst call me." But Eli said, “I called not, lie down again.” So Samuel went and lay down again, but soon he was roused once more by a voice that said, “ Samuel.” And once more the child rose up and hastened to Eli, saying, “Here am I, for thou didst call me. But he met with the same answer from Eli, “I called not, my son, lie down again.”
Samuel did not yet know the wonder-working power of the Lord, Who had not yet revealed Himself unto him ; and, therefore, when a third time the Voice was heard, calling him by name, he still thought it could be no other voice than Eli's. So again he arose, and went to hear his master's bidding. But now Eli perceived that it was the Lord Who had called the child; so he bade him return and lie down, and if the LORD should call him again, to answer, “ Speak, LORD, for Thy servant heareth."
From first to last Samuel seerns to have had no will of his own, but simply to have sought the way of obedience, and thus he lay down in his place once more; and when, as Eli expected, the Awful Voice again rang in his ears, calling, “Samuel, Samuel !” the child answered, “ Speak, LORD, for Thy servant heareth."
Then the Lord gave into his charge a very solemn message of woe to Eli, whose sons Hophni and Phinehas were leading wicked lives, and causing many others to sin with them. “Be. . hold, I will do a thing in Israel,” He said, “at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house ; when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever, for the iniquity which he knoweth ; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not."
When Samuel had heard the awful words, he lay still until the morning, and then he did his usual duties, and opened the doors of the Lord's house. But he was afraid to tell Eli of