High Priest Eli had two sons who served as priests at the tabernacle. Their names were Hophni and Phinehas. They did not obey Jehovah’s laws, and they treated the people very badly. When the Israelites brought sacrifices for Jehovah, Hophni and Phinehas would take the best meat for themselves. Eli heard about what his sons were doing, but he did nothing about it. Would Jehovah let this keep happening?
Although Samuel was much younger than Hophni and Phinehas, he did not imitate them. Jehovah was pleased with Samuel. One night while he was sleeping, Samuel heard a voice call his name. He got up, ran to Eli, and said: ‘Here I am!’ But Eli said: ‘I did not call you. Go back to sleep.’ Samuel went back to bed. Then it happened again. When Samuel heard the voice a third time, Eli realized that it was Jehovah who was calling Samuel. He told Samuel that if he heard the voice again, he should say: ‘Speak, Jehovah. Your servant is listening.’
Samuel went back to bed. Then he heard: ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ He answered: ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’ Jehovah told him: ‘Tell Eli that I am going to punish him and his family. He knows that his sons are doing bad things in my tabernacle, but he does nothing about it.’ The next morning Samuel opened the doors to the tabernacle, as he always did. He was afraid to tell the high priest what Jehovah had said. But Eli called for him and asked: ‘My son, what did Jehovah say to you? Tell me everything.’ So Samuel told Eli everything.
As Samuel grew up, Jehovah continued to be with him. From one end of the land to the other, all the Israelites knew that Jehovah had chosen Samuel to be a prophet and a judge.
“Remember, then, your Grand Creator in the days of your youth.”—Ecclesiastes 12:1