What does 1 Samuel 3:7 mean?
ESV: Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
NIV: Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
NASB: Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him.
CSB: Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, because the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
NLT: Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before.
KJV: Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him.
NKJV: (Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.)
Verse Commentary:
Before the Lord calls to Samuel a third time (1 Samuel 3:4–6, 8), Scripture explains why it did not immediately occur to Samuel that it was God's voice he heard. The boy did not yet "know the Lord." That is given further context by noting that Samuel had never before heard a direct revelation from God. Samuel would hear often from the Lord over the course of his life, but this would be his first experience of direct revelation from God that was meant to be passed on to someone else. That was the work of a prophet.

Eli's sons Hophni and Phinehas were also said not to have known the Lord (1 Samuel 2:12). In their case, they "were worthless men." Both they and Samuel knew much about the Lord, of course. Samuel had been serving the Lord for years by this time, and Eli's sons knew enough about the Lord to serve the people on His behalf, as well. The difference was that Eli's sons didn't know the Lord in the sense that they did not seem to believe in Him or fear Him. They profaned His sacrifices and sinned against the people in their work as priests (1 Samuel 2:12–17, 22). They also certainly don't seem to have ever heard from Yahweh directly.

Samuel's relationship to the Lord God of Israel would soon be very personal in a way that Eli's sons' never was. The contrast between Samuel's obedience to the Lord and Eli's sons' disregard for the Lord is striking. Whereas negative reports of all that Eli's sons did against Israel spread far and wide (1 Samuel 2:22–23), all of Israel recognized that Samuel was a prophet of the Lord (1 Samuel 3:20). God judged Eli and his sons for their contempt (1 Samuel 2:25–36), but He was with Samuel and revealed Himself to him (1 Samuel 3:19, 21).
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 6/21/2024 4:47:43 PM
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