The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family–from beginning to end. For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’ ” 1 Samuel 3:10-14
Samuel, just a young boy hears the Lord call him three times during the night. Thinking it is Eli the high priest, he runs to him and asks if he called? After the third time, Eli realizes it is the Lord calling Samuel, so Eli tells Samuel if He calls again say, “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.” The Lord tells young Samuel He is about to bring judgement on the House of Eli. The Lord says His judgment will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. The meaning of the word is also of teeth chattering from fear. This judgment will get the attention of the people of Israel. But, the word was not the first time it was spoken. Previously in chapter 2, a Man of God speaks the judgement in more detail, so the word given to Samuel is a confirmation of the judgement to come, and a warning to all Israel (and us today) about disobeying the Lord. Eli’s sin was not so much in his actions, but his inactions. His sons Hophni and Phinehas were wicked men, immoral men, involved in sexual sin with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. They stole from the meat offered as sacrifice. Eli did rebuke his sons for their actions, but he continued eating from their stolen meat, fattening himself. He did nothing to uphold the Name of the Lord, rather chose to honor his sons by his inaction toward them. And so there was judgement on the house of Eli. May our ears tingle and teeth chatter at the hearing of this story, that each of us would honor the Lord above all in our thoughts and actions.