What does 1 Samuel 3:11 mean?
ESV: Then the LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.
NIV: And the LORD said to Samuel: 'See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle.
NASB: Then the Lord said to Samuel, 'Behold, I am going to do a thing in Israel, and both ears of everyone who hears about it will ring.
CSB: The Lord said to Samuel, "I am about to do something in Israel that will cause everyone who hears about it to shudder.
NLT: Then the Lord said to Samuel, 'I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel.
KJV: And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.
Verse Commentary:
After establishing that what Samuel hears is the voice of God (1 Samuel 3:1–10), the Lord is about to deliver His message. Samuel has obediently responded by telling the Lord that he is listening (1 Samuel 3:10).

The Lord introduces His surprising and difficult prophecy for Samuel by saying that what He is about to do will get a great deal of attention. The effect of this action is describe with an odd expression implying shocking, devastating, even frightening news (Jeremiah 19:3). The original Hebrew root word here is tsalal, which is closely tied to the idea of shaking or vibrating. This might depict a person who shakes with fear (Habakkuk 3:16), or the "ringing in the ears" experienced when someone is struck in the head (2 Kings 21:12). When God's prophecy is fulfilled, it will stagger those who see it come to pass.
Verse Context:
First Samuel 3:1–14 finds both Samuel and Eli a bit older, though Samuel is still called a boy. Sometime before dawn, Samuel is sleeping in the temple and hears his name called. He runs to Eli, who tells him to go back to bed. When it happens a third time, Eli tells Samuel it is the Lord. The Lord reveals to Samuel that He is going to bring judgment on Eli and his household for Eli's failure to restrain the blasphemy of his sons against the Lord.
Chapter Summary:
Samuel is just a boy when the Lord calls Him to serve as a prophet in Israel. Sleeping in the temple, Samuel hears his name and thinks Eli the priest is calling him. Eli finally tells Samuel it is the Lord. The Lord tells Samuel that He is going to fulfill His judgment against Eli and his household for the sins of Eli's sons and for Eli's failure to restrain them. Samuel delivers the entire message to Eli and begins his lifelong career as an official prophet of the Lord.
Chapter Context:
First Samuel 3 follows the prophecy of judgment against Eli and his household at the end of the previous chapter (1 Samuel 2:27–36) with a repeat of the prophecy through the words of young Samuel. Eli helps the boy to understand the Lord is speaking to him, and Samuel delivers the Lord's harsh message. Eli accepts Samuel's word, passively accepting whatever God will do. The next chapters explain Eli's death and Israel's renewed conflict with the Philistines.
Book Summary:
First Samuel introduces the key figures who led Israel after the era of the judges. The books of 1 and 2 Samuel were originally part of a single text, split in certain translations shortly before the birth of Christ. Some of the Bible’s most famous characters are depicted in this book. These including the prophet Samuel, Israel’s first king, Saul, her greatest king, David, and other famous names such as Goliath and Jonathan. By the end of this book, Saul has fallen; the book of 2 Samuel begins with David’s ascension to the throne.
Accessed 4/15/2024 11:41:30 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com