"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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God Calls Samuel
1 Samuel 3:1-21 Commentary
by Brent A. Strawn
The story of Samuel’s call is full of important details that are pregnant with meaning, right from the opening verses which set the stage (verses 1-3).
Here is where we learn that “Samuel was serving the LORD under Eli” (verse 1a; CEB), even though, quite unexpectedly, we hear just a few verses later that “Samuel didn’t yet know the LORD, and the LORD’s word hadn’t yet been revealed to him” (verse 7; CEB). The latter half of verse 7 makes perfect sense in context, but the first half doesn’t make sense, especially given verse 1a (see also 2:18). Perhaps it is a kind of narrative interruption or parenthetical aside added to explain the oddity of verse 1’s service to God which is then followed by the three “misses” where Samuel mistakes God’s voice for Eli’s (verses 4-8a).
But then again Samuel’s service is not entirely single-minded in verse 1. It is “under Eli” and the following account repeatedly demonstrates that Samuel is indeed under Eli -- dependent on his voice and, ultimately, his insight -- even as it also demonstrates that, after God’s ...
| Bible Text
2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL286: God Calls Samuel
October 15, 2017
This is the podcast for 1 Samuel 3:1-21, the Narrative Lectionary reading for Oct. 15, 2017, featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Craig Koester. Podcast recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.