This Week's Story

Hannah's little boy, Samuel, hears God's voice.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

What do you want?

“For me to have two wives is not a good idea, even it is allowed.”  Elkanah was frustrated as he arrived with his wives at the Tabernacle in Shiloh.  “Hannah has no children.  Peninnah has plenty.  Peninnah mocks Hannah; and Hannah cries. Oh… I need help with these two women.”

Hannah went inside the Tabernacle to pray. How she yearned for a child! She pleaded with God, “If you will let me have a son, I will give him for your service.”

Her lips were moving and Eli, the chief priest, thought that she was drunk.  “Woman, why do you come to the Tabernacle drunk?  Throw away your wine.”

“No, sir, I am not drunk.  I…I am a sad woman, asking God to answer my prayer.”

Eli declared, “May the Lord give you your request.”

Within the year she became pregnant with a son, whom she

named Samuel.  When he was a little boy, she took him to the Tabernacle.  There he would grow and serve God.

One evening Samuel received an important message.  “Samuel, Samuel!”  The voice was clear and urgent and Samuel awoke.

He jumped out of bed, and ran to Eli.  “Eli, here I am.  Did you call me?  What do you want?”

“No, Samuel, I did not call you.  Go back to bed.”

Samuel returned to his bed, which was in the Tabernacle near the Ark of the Covenant.  A second time the call came, “Samuel, Samuel!”  Again he quickly got out of bed and went to Eli.  “I’m here.  What do you want?”

“I did not call you, Samuel.  Go back to bed.”

Samuel heard the voice a third time.  Immediately he went to Eli.  “I’m here.  Do you want something?”

Then Eli realized that God was calling the boy.  Eli instructed Samuel, “Lie down again.  If you are called, then say, ‘Yes, Lord, your servant is listening.’”

Samuel again heard the call, he replied, “Yes, your servant is listening.”

The Lord spoke to Samuel.  How strange it seemed to Samuel.   In those days in Israel messages and visions from God were not common. Those were not good times in Israel.  Each person did whatever he or she decided was right, regardless of God’s commandments.

God’s message to Samuel was, “No more can Eli’s sons ignore what is right.  Enough with their rotten example!  I have been patient.  Now I will act according to their evil deeds.

 I warned Eli that judgment is coming against him and his family.  Though Eli is the main priest in Israel and his sons are priests, they are scoundrels! They do not help the people to know me. His sons take parts of the people’s sacrifices and use them selfishly. They have affairs with women.  There will be severe consequences.”

Samuel did not tell Eli the message that night, because he was afraid to tell him.

The next morning Eli said, “Samuel, come here.  What did God tell you?  Tell me everything and may God punish you, if you hide anything from me.”

Samuel told Eli all of God’s message and Eli accepted  the message.  He knew that his sons had been destroying people’s respect for worship.  He humbly responded, “It is God’s will.  Let Him do what He believes is right to do.”

Judgment did come to his family.  In battle Eli’s sons were killed and Eli died soon after.  As Samuel grew into a man, he acted wisely.  God gave him messages for the people of Israel and he became the priest to replace Eli.  Years later he became the  prinicipal judge in the country.  He was a fair judge and obedient to God.  However, he also had trouble with his children, which the Bible does not hide.

This is Barbara Steiner with admiration for a man who had integrity in a culture losing its integrity.

<< previous story] [next story >>

We invite your comments!  [click here to comment]

Let's Talk

There are several aspects to this story that caught my attention: Hannah's persistence and commitment to God, Eli's humble response to God's discipline of his sons, and Samuel's integrity when Israel was corrupt. From Caleb

I like when Samuel thinks that Eli is talking to him but it's actually God who is speaking to Samuel.  I LOVE the stories out of the Bible!  They are so neat. Thank you again!   from Sarah

Dear Sarah,

This story exemplifies obedience.  It reminds me always to have a heart of a servant.   Leah

Why did Eli tell Samuel, "Tell me everything or may God punish you"?   from Liz

Dear Liz,

God had already warned Eli of coming judgement.  I believe Eli knew God spoke to Samuel about that judgement.   Leah

If everybody followed their own rules like in this story, their rules would conflict with other peoples' rules.  from Sunny

Dear Sunny,

I believe that is the definition of chaos and is similar to what we see happening in today's society.   Leah

This story was a great reminder that no matter what time period we are living in, we can always refer back to the Bible and use it as an example on how to act.   from Cristina

Dear Cristina,

I agree!  I consider the Bible the best instruction manual ever!    Leah

This is a story I want to listen to again. There is much I want to understand better.  from Ana

Dear Ana,

I frequently return to reread a story and gain new perspective from readers' comments.  Leah

Hannah had to make a big sacrifice for her prayer to be answered.  from Jenny

Dear Jenny,

Can you imagine how proud Hannah was to see her son display the heart of a servant?   Leah

Eli and his sons died. Eli trained Samuel and he did not train his sons well.  The third time Samuel answered God.  from Grace

Dear Grace,

I find it intriguing that Eli did not train his sons well.  Yet, he was humble enough to accept God's will.   Leah

Facebook Join the conversation.

This Week's Story is a non-profit supported by listeners. [click here to make a donation with ]