1 Samuel 3:1-3-10 MSG
The boy Samuel was serving GOD under Eli’s direction. This was at a time when the revelation of GOD was rarely heard or seen. One night Eli was sound asleep (his eyesight was very bad—he could hardly see). It was well before dawn; the sanctuary lamp was still burning. Samuel was still in bed in the Temple of GOD, where the Chest of God rested.
Then GOD called out, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Yes? I’m here.” Then he ran to Eli saying, “I heard you call. Here I am.”
Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.” And so he did.
GOD called again, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel got up and went to Eli, “I heard you call. Here I am.”
Again Eli said, “Son, I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.” (This all happened before Samuel knew GOD for himself. It was before the revelation of GOD had been given to him personally.)
GOD called again, “Samuel!”—the third time! Yet again Samuel got up and went to Eli, “Yes? I heard you call me. Here I am.”
That’s when it dawned on Eli that GOD was calling the boy. So Eli directed Samuel, “Go back and lie down. If the voice calls again, say, ‘Speak, GOD. I’m your servant, ready to listen.’” Samuel returned to his bed.
Then GOD came and stood before him exactly as before, calling out, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak. I’m your servant, ready to listen.”