Sam sat straight up in bed. What could the old man want at this time of night? Strange, but it was not the role of a servant to question his master when called. He walked to the next room and stood in the open doorway. “What do you need, sir?”
The old man never opened his eyes. He pulled his blanket up, turned toward the wall, and mumbled something undiscernible.
“What do you want? You called me.”
“You must be dreaming.” He sounded like someone talking in his sleep. “Go back to bed.”
Yes, that was it. Back in bed, Sam closed his eyes to resume his dream, although he had no memory of what that might have been.
What was it this time? The room was still dark, but even a blind person can find his way to the next room. “Yes, sir, what is it?”
“What is what?” The moonlight captured his confused, half-asleep expression.”
“You called my name, so here I am. What can I get for you?”
“I didn’t call you.” He turned to the wall. “Go back to sleep.”
Before, Sam might have been dreaming, but this was too real, the voice too clear to be a dream. The man had called him, but now he says he didn’t. This made no sense, but all he could do was obey. He stretched out on the bed and closed his eyes, wondering.
The voice sounded like a trumpet. Again he had been called, and this time there could be no mistake. He ran to the doorway. “You called, sir?”
“No, I never called you. Not before. Not now.”
“But sir, I heard you clearly.” Sam’s desperation allowed him to question his master. “You did call my name.”
“I never called you. Go back to sleep.” In the first light of dawn, the man looked like someone envious of another person’s good fortune. “But if you hear that voice again, say to the Lord God, ‘What is it Master, for your servant is listening.’ ”
Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down. If you hear his voice, say to the Lord God, ‘What is it, Master, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went back to bed with an open ear to hear. — 1 Samuel 3:9