1 Samuel 3

1 Josephus indicates that Samuel was twelve when God spoke with him. Samuel's tasks probably included cleaning and tending to the minor tasks of ministry like lighting the lamps.

God desires to relate with his human creatures. However, people are not always willing to listen. It had been a long time since God had found someone through whom He could speak and work. Some would say that a similar situation exists today. However, the major difference is that today the Holy Spirit indwells every Christian, and it is a matter of allowing Him to work through us. The "spectacular" miracles may be rare today (in fact, they always were), but the miracle of salvation and transformation occurs in every Christian today.

3 God spoke to Samuel just before sunrise (Exo 27:20-21). Sleeping in the holy place seems unusual. Perhaps Samuel was taking care of nighttime and morning duties there, so it was a convenient place to sleep.
5 Hearing the voice, Samuel's first assumption was that Eli had called him. This is not surprising since he had never heard a voice come from anywhere besides people's mouths. Since Eli was going blind, it might have often been necessary for Samuel to help when needed during the night.
7 This may be a very convicting statement. We are not told how long Samuel had been servicing the temple, but obviously, he was old enough now to speak and carry out duties there. However, during his residency, no one had told him much about God, and Samuel did not have a personal relationship with Him. Furthermore, he had apparently never been told that God could speak with people. Samuel had probably learned a lot about rituals and traditions, but he knew very little about God. What a tragedy it is that children can be raised in a church and not learn about God. How much worse when the ministers do not know God or His word!
8 Finally, Eli recognizes what was happening. There was no one at the tabernacle besides Samuel and himself, therefore it had to be God calling the boy. He remembered that in the past that God would speak to people. Although God may not have spoken directly to Eli at this point, He was apparently now trying to communicate with Samuel.
9 Samuel had already shown that he was willing to serve, but now Eli counsels him on how to listen. When we know God is speaking to us we should always be ready to listen.
10 This verse indicates that God appeared as a theophany, a physical manifestation, yet He remained either invisible or hidden from the boy's sight.
11 The upcoming defeat of Israel would be such terrible news that they would believe their ears. When something very profound happens, we often want all the information we can get about it. Our ears seem to "tingle" for more information.