DO YOU ever see others do bad things?— * Samuel did. He lived where you would not expect such things to happen. That was at God’s tabernacle, or place of worship, in the city of Shiloh. Let’s see how, over 3,000 years ago, the tabernacle came to be Samuel’s home.
Before Samuel was born, his mother, Hannah, wanted very much to have a baby. During a visit to the tabernacle, Hannah prayed to God about it. She was praying so fervently that her lips were quivering. This made the high priest, Eli, think that she was drunk. But when he learned that instead she was very distressed, Eli blessed her, saying: “May the God of Israel grant your petition.”—1 Samuel 1:17.
Later, Samuel was born, and Hannah was so happy that she told her husband, Elkanah: ‘As soon as I stop nursing Samuel, I’m going to take him to the tabernacle for him to serve God there.’ And that’s what she did! By then, Samuel may have been four or five years old.
Eli had grown old, and his sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were not worshipping Jehovah in the right way. They were even having immoral relations with women who visited the tabernacle! What do you think their father should have done?— Yes, he should have disciplined them and not allowed them to do those bad things.
Young Samuel was growing up there, and he likely knew about the bad behavior of the sons of Eli. Did Samuel follow their bad example?— No, he kept doing what was right, just as his parents had taught him to do. It is no wonder, however, that Jehovah was angry with Eli. He even sent a prophet to tell Eli about how He would punish Eli’s family, especially his bad sons.—1 Samuel 2:22-36.
Samuel continued serving with Eli at the tabernacle. Then, one night when Samuel was sleeping, a voice called his name. So Samuel ran to Eli, but Eli said that he had not called him. The same thing happened again. Well, after the same thing happened the third time, Eli told Samuel to say: “Speak, Jehovah, for your servant is listening.” When Samuel said that, Jehovah spoke to him. Do you know what Jehovah told Samuel?—
God repeated to Samuel His purpose to punish Eli’s family. The next morning Samuel was afraid to tell Eli what Jehovah had said. But Eli pleaded with Samuel: “Do not, please, hide it from me.” So, finally, Samuel told Eli everything Jehovah had said He would do—just as His prophet had earlier related to Eli. Eli’s reply was: “What is good in his [Jehovah’s] eyes let him do.” Eventually, Hophni and Phinehas were killed, and Eli died too.—1 Samuel 3:1-18.
In the meantime, “Samuel continued growing up, and Jehovah himself proved to be with him.” By then, Samuel was probably a teenager, an important time in the lives of young ones. Do you think it was easy for Samuel to continue doing what was right even when others were not?— Although it was not easy, Samuel served Jehovah faithfully for the rest of his life.—1 Samuel 3:19-21.
What about you? Will you be like Samuel as you grow up? Will you stick to what is right? Will you continue to hold fast to the teachings of the Bible and to what your parents have taught you? If you do, you will make both Jehovah and your parents happy.
^ par. 3 If you are reading with children, the dash provides a reminder to stop and direct the question to them.