The call of Elijah (Mt 27:47-27:47)

“When some of the bystanders

Heard Jesus,

They said.

‘This man

Is calling Elijah.’”


τινὲς δὲ τῶν ἐκεῖ ἑστηκότων ἀκούσαντες ἔλεγον ὅτι Ἡλείαν φωνεῖ οὗτος.


This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:35.  However this episode was not in Luke, chapter 23, or John, chapter 19.  Matthew said that some of the bystanders heard the cry of Jesus on the cross (τινὲς δὲ τῶν ἐκεῖ ἑστηκότων ἀκούσαντες).  They said that Jesus was calling for Elijah (ἔλεγον ὅτι Ἡλείαν φωνεῖ οὗτος).  Elijah often came to help the good people who were in need.  The name “Eli jah” was close to “Eli,” so that some people might have mistakenly thought that Jesus was crying for help from the ancient Israelite prophet Elijah.  Elijah was also a forerunner of the messianic times as was the case of John the Baptist.

Yahweh’s call to Samuel (1 Sam 3:1-3:9)

“Now the boy Samuel was ministering to Yahweh under Eli. The word of Yahweh was rare in those days. Visions were not widespread.”

It does not say how old Samuel is at this time, but he is still a boy. Jewish tradition puts him at the age 12. Luke puts Jesus at this age of 12 when he was teaching in the temple. So there may be some coincidence. Interesting enough the idea of visions and word of Yahweh was not widespread then, as if there may have been a time when it was.

“At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim, so that he could not see, was lying down in his room. The lamp of God had not yet gone out. Samuel was lying down in the temple of Yahweh, where the ark of God was. Then Yahweh called. ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel said. ‘Here I am!’ He ran to Eli, and said. ‘Here I am, you called me.’ But Eli said. ‘I did not call. Lie down again.’ So he went and lay down. Yahweh called again. ‘Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said. ‘Here I am, you called me.’ But he said. ‘I did not call, my son. Lie down again.’ Now Samuel did not yet know Yahweh. The word of Yahweh had not yet been revealed to him. Yahweh called Samuel again, a third time. He got up and went to Eli, and said. ‘Here I am, you called me.’ Then Eli perceived that Yahweh was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel. ‘Go, lie down. If he calls you, you shall say. ‘Speak, Yahweh, for your servant is listening.’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.”

This is the first mention of Yahweh speaking directly with Samuel as he was near the Ark of the Covenant. This will put Samuel in the line with the judges and the prophets, not quite as important as Moses and Joshua, but above Samson and some of the judges. Yahweh calls him by name, ‘Samuel, Samuel!’ Samuel replied that he was ready with the classic biblical response to a call from Yahweh, ‘Here I am.’ Samuel assumed that was Eli that was calling him. This happened 3 times. Each time Eli said that he was not calling Samuel. This is the basis of the famous song “Eli’s calling.” Finally, Eli gave Samuel some advice on how to respond.

Samuel at Shiloh (1 Sam 2:18-:20)

“Samuel was ministering before Yahweh, a boy wearing a linen ephod. His mother used to make for him a little robe. She would take it to him each year, when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say. ‘May Yahweh repay you with children by this woman for the gift that she made to Yahweh.’ Then they would return to their home.”

Samuel stayed at Shiloh and grew up there. He had a small robe or ephod. This ephod was explained in Exodus, chapters 28 and 39. Each year Hannah would bring a new robe for him. Eli liked this and blessed Hannah with the hope that she would have more children.


The birth and consecration of Samuel (1 Sam 1:19-1:28)

“They rose early in the morning and worshiped before Yahweh. Then they went back to their house at Ramah. Elkanah knew Hannah his wife. Yahweh remembered her. In due time, Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel. She said. ‘I have asked him of Yahweh.’”

After intercourse, knowing each other, Hannah had a child because Yahweh had remembered her. They called him Samuel. There is a question on whether it should have been ‘sha’al’ or ‘shem-el.’ Saul (sha’al) would have been about asking God but Samuel (shem-el) is the name of God. Anyway his name is Samuel. We will get a Saul later.

“The man Elkanah and his entire household went up to offer to Yahweh the yearly sacrifice, and to pay his vow. But Hannah did not go up. She said to her husband. ‘As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him that he may appear in the presence of Yahweh, and abide there forever. I will offer him as a Nazirite for all time. Elkanah her husband said to her. ‘Do what seems best to you. Wait until you have weaned him. Only, may Yahweh establish his word.’ So the woman remained and nursed her son, until she weaned him.”

At the yearly sacrifice, Hannah did not want to go because the child was breast feeding and not weaned. She said that she was going to offer him as a Nazirite when she would go to Shiloh. However, Elkanah told her to stay home if you wanted to. So she stayed at home until Samuel was weaned.

“When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine. She brought him to the house of Yahweh at Shiloh. The child was young. Then they slaughtered the bull. They brought the child to Eli. She said, ‘Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to Yahweh. For this child I prayed. Yahweh has granted me my petition which I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to Yahweh. As long as he lives, he is given to Yahweh.’ They worshiped Yahweh there.”

However, once the child was weaned, she went to Shiloh to offer a sacrifice to Yahweh of a 3 year old bull. She brought young Samuel to the temple of Yahweh at Shiloh. There they saw Eli. She reminded him that she was the lady in the temple that he confronted. She showed him the child Samuel. Then she gave or lent Samuel to Yahweh and they all worshiped Yahweh.

The prayer of Hannah (1 Sam 1:9-1:18)

“After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of Yahweh. Hannah was deeply distressed and prayed to Yahweh. She wept bitterly. She made this vow. ‘O Yahweh of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant and remember me. Do not forget your servant, but give to your servant a male child. Then I will set him before you as a Nazirite, until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants. No razor shall touch his head.”

After eating and drinking, Hannah went to the temple, where Eli the priest was sitting on his chair seat. Hannah wept and prayed for a son. If she had a son, she would dedicate him to Yahweh. He would be a Nazirite, never drinking or shaving his head, like Samson.

“As she continued praying before Yahweh, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying silently. Only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought that she was drunk. So Eli said to her. ‘How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine.’ But Hannah answered. ‘No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before Yahweh. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.’ Then Eli answered. ‘Go in peace. The God of Israel grant your petition which you have made to him.’ She said. ‘Let your servant find favor in your eyes.’ Then the woman went to her quarters. Her countenance was no longer sad.”

Eli thought that Hannah was a drunken lady because she moved her lips but no sound came out. However, Eli and Hannah had a conversation. Hannah explained that she was troubled not drunk. Then Eli told her that her petition has been granted. Eli acted like an oracle here. She then went away happy.