1st Samuel 3 Notes

Chapter 3

v. 3: I am trying to understand exactly what is going on here, and this is my best guess: it is early morning (before sunrise) and Samuel is helping Eli make sure the lamps stay lit through the night (perhaps they are taking shifts, or perhaps Samuel does it by himself since Eli’s eyes are bad).  At any rate, Samuel feels comfortable that the lamp will remain lit until sunrise (perhaps the lamps are filled with oil) and so lies down in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle.  I do not believe Eli is in the Holy Place with him because he seems so unaware of what is going on.  Nevertheless, he is not far off – within earshot.  I’m not sure of the structure they are in.  I suppose the tabernacle to be the same as that described in Exodus, but Samuel’s actions in v. 15 make the structure seem much larger and more substantial than the Exodus tabernacle and its courtyard.  (I guess that this does not necessarily have to be the case. Maybe the “doors” are the curtains of the courtyard, but commentaries seem to treat the word differently.)  It would not be a stretch, given the unorthodox practices of the time, to imagine a permanent structure built around the tabernacle within which the High Priest and his family lived and which might host larger crowds of people than the courtyard of the tabernacle.


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