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THE LITTLE BOY WITH A LINEN COAT
I Samuel i: 1, to iii: 21.
AMSON the strong man (see Story 47) ruled Israel as the
thirteenth of the judges; and after him came Eli as the
fourteenth judge. Eli was also the high-priest of the
Lord in the Tabernacle at Shiloh.
While Eli was the priest and the judge, a man was
living at Ramah in the mountains of Ephraim, whose name
was Elkanah. He had two wives, as did many men in that
time. One of these wives had children, but the other
wife, whose name was Hannah, had no child.
Every year Elkanah and his family went up to worship at
the house of the Lord in Shiloh, which was about
fifteen miles from his home. And at one of these visits
Hannah prayed to the Lord, saying:
"O Lord, if thou wilt look upon me, and give me a son,
he shall be given to the Lord as long as he lives."
The Lord heard Hannah's prayer, and gave her a little
boy; and she called his name Samuel, which means "Asked
of God," because he had been given in answer to her
prayer. While he was still a little child she brought
him to Eli, the priest, and said to him:
"My Lord, I am the woman who stood here praying. I
 God for this child; and now I have promised that he
shall be the Lord's as long as he lives. Let him stay
here with you and grow up in God's house."
HANNAH BRINGS HER BOY TO ELI
So the child Samuel stayed at Shiloh and lived with Eli
the priest in one of the tents beside the Tabernacle.
As he grew up he helped Eli in the work of the Lord's
house. He lit the lamps, and opened the doors, and
prepared the incense, and waited on Eli, who was now
growing old and was almost blind.
Samuel was all the more a help and a comfort to Eli
because his own sons, who were priests, were very
wicked young men. Eli had not trained them to do right,
nor punished them when they did wrong, when they were
children; so they grew up to become evil, to disobey
God's law, and to be careless in God's worship. Eli's
heart was very sad over the sins of his sons; but now
that he was old he could do nothing to control them.
 It had been a long time since God had spoken to men, as
in other days God had spoken to Moses, to Joshua, and
to Gideon. The men of Israel were longing for the time
to come when God would speak again to his people as of
One night Samuel, while yet a child, was lying down
upon his bed in a tent beside the Tabernacle; he heard
a voice calling him by name. It was the Lord's voice,
but Samuel did not know it.
He answered, "Here I am!" and then he ran to Eli,
saying, "Here I am. You called me; what do you wish me
And Eli said, "My child, I did not call you. Go and lie
Samuel lay down, but soon again heard the voice calling
to him, "Samuel! Samuel!"
Again he rose up and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am;
for I am sure that you called me."
"No," said Eli, "I did not call you. Lie down again."
THE BOY WHO LIVED IN THE TEMPLE
A third time the voice was heard; and a third time the
boy rose up from his bed and went to Eli, sure that Eli
had called him. Eli now saw that this was the Lord's
voice that had spoken to Samuel. He said:
"Go, lie down once more; and if the voice speaks to you
again, say 'Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.' "
Samuel went and lay down, and waited for the voice. It
spoke as if some one unseen were standing by his bed,
and saying, "Samuel! Samuel!"
Then Samuel said to the Lord, "Speak, Lord, for thy
And the Lord said to Samuel:
"Listen to what I say. I have seen the wickedness of
Eli's sons. And I have seen that their father did not
punish them when they were doing evil. I am going to
give to them such a punishment that the story shall
make every one's ears tingle who hears it."
Samuel lay in his room until the morning. Then he arose
and went about his work as usual, preparing for the
daily worship and opening the doors. He said nothing of
God's voice until Eli asked him. Eli said to him:
"Samuel, my son, tell me what the Lord said to you last
night. Hide nothing from me."
And Samuel told Eli all that God had said, though it
was a sad
 message to Eli. And Eli said, "It is the Lord; let him
do what seems good to him."
And then the news went through all the land that God
had spoken once more to his people. And Hannah, the
lonely mother in the mountains of Ephraim, heard that
her son was the prophet to whom God spoke as his
messenger to all Israel.
From that time God spoke to Samuel, and Samuel gave
God's word to the twelve tribes.