Samuel hears a voice as he is falling asleep. He assumes that Eli has called to him and so he goes to the High Priest, only to be told that it was not Eli’s voice that he heard. The third time this happens, Eli realizes that it is in fact God who is calling to Samuel, and he instructs Samuel to listen to God’s instructions. Samuel accepts the gift of prophecy upon himself. His first prophecy pertains to the inevitable doom of Eli’s household. With much sorrow, Samuel reveals God’s will to the High Priest. Eli loves Samuel like a son, as he has raised him and taken care of him. Samuel likewise views Eli as a father figure. The two are devastated by the terrible decree. Samuel tries to do all he can to mitigate God’s wrath. Eli’s household faces a somber fate, but thanks to Samuel’s intervention, their demise will occur gradually. The young prophet helps to alleviate the rigor of divine judgment with compassion.
“And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lordbefore Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision” (1 Samuel 3:1)
“Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth” (1 Samuel 3:9)
“And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him” (1 Samuel 3:18)
Mercy is the empathy that inspires support for those in need.