Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 3:1
See the margin reference note. Josephus says that Samuel's call to the prophetic office happened when he had just completed his twelfth year (compare Luk 2:42).
Was precious - (or rare) The song of Hannah, and the prophecy of the "man of God" (Sa1 2:27 note), are the only instances of prophecy since Deborah. Samuel is mentioned as the first of the series of prophets Act 3:24.
No open vision - Better rendered, "There was no vision promulgated or published." (Compare Ch2 31:5.)
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 3:2
The passage should be rendered thus: "And it came to pass at that time that Eli was sleeping in his place; and his eyes had begun to grow dim; he could not see. And the lamp of God was not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was; and the Lord called Samuel, etc." Eli's old age and dimness of sight is probably mentioned as the reason why Samuel thought Eli had called him. Being a blind and feeble old man, he was likely to do so if he wanted anything, either for himself, or for the service of the temple.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 3:7
Did not yet know the Lord - i. e. in His supernatural communication, as follows at the end of the verse. The text rendering of this verse is better than that of the margin.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 3:10
A personal presence, not a mere voice, or impression upon Samuel's mind, is here distinctly indicated. (Compare Gen 12:7 note; Rev 1:1; Rev 22:16.)
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 3:11
More accurately, "the which whosoever heareth both his ears shall tingle." This expressive phrase occurs again twice (marginal references) with reference to the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. It is remarkable that Jeremiah repeatedly compares the destruction of Jerusalem with the destruction of Shiloh (Jer 7:12, Jer 7:14; Jer 26:6, Jer 26:9; Compare Psa 78:60-64).
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 3:12
When I begin ... - literally, as in the margin: meaning, I will go through with the performance from first to last.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 3:13
Made themselves vile - Rather, "have cursed themselves," i. e. brought curses upon themselves.
He restrained them not - In the sense of punishing. He did not remove them from their office, which he ought to have done.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 3:14
See the marginal references. The sin of the sons of Eli could not be purged by the appointed sacrifices of the Law. In blessed contrast with this declaration is the assurance of the New Testament Jo1 1:7; Act 13:39.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 3:15
Opened the doors - We learn thus incidentally the nature of some of Samuel's duties. This duty was quite Levitical in its character. In the interval between Josh and David, when the tabernacle was stationary for the most part, it may have lost something of its "tent" character, and among other changes have had doors instead of the hanging.
Samuel feared to show Eli the vision - Here was Samuel's first experience of the prophet's cross: the having unwelcome truth to divulge to those he loved, honored, and feared. Compare the case of Jeremiah Jer 15:10; Jer 17:15-18; Jer 20:7-18.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 3:18
It is the Lord ... - Compare the devout submission of Aaron Lev 10:3, and of Hezekiah Kg2 20:19. And, for the highest conceivable submission to the will of God, compare Luk 22:42.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 3:20
From Dan ... - See Jdg 20:1 note.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 3:21
The state described in Sa1 3:7 was henceforth reversed. Samuel now knew the Lord, and the Word of the Lord was revealed unto him.