Wednesday of Week 1 Per Annum (12th January): I Samuel 3.1-10,19-20; Ps 39; Mark 1.29-39
Samuel’s call to particular service by a Voice calling him in the night has about it the aura of a script from The Twilight Zone. (The first-century Jewish historian Josephus said that this took place when Samuel was 11 years old.) The text contrasts the faithful boy, still at his prayers late at night, with the indolence and corruption of the Temple priesthood. Nothing they do can ever amount to anything [3.14]; by contrast ‘no word of Samuel’s will fall to the ground.’ [cf Isaiah 55.11]
Samuel’s response is portrayed as entirely naïve; as yet ‘he had no knowledge of the lord.’ To know the lord is less an accomplishment of the intellect than it is a disposition of the will; to use our common dichotomy, it is an act of the heart, not of the head. For the prophets, a common theme is the desire God has for our knowledge (Da’at) of him rather than for the sacrifices of the Temple. [Hosea 6.6] Samuel had been given over by his mother to a life of sacrifice [I Samuel 1.27-28] but God had even larger and better things in store for him.