WHOSE ARE THE “WORDS” OF 1 SAMUEL 3:19?
by Shawn Brasseaux
First, let us read the verse about which we have the question: “And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.” Since there are two male individuals here—Samuel and the LORD—the expression “his words” is rather ambiguous. Is it Samuel not letting the words of the LORD (that is, the Scriptures) fall to the ground? Or, is it the LORD not letting the words of Samuel (that is, his preaching) fall to the ground? What does “fall to the ground” imply anyway?
Verse 20 seems to resolve the matter for us: “And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.” If Samuel were a prophet of the LORD, he needed authentication or validation—namely, his prophecies fulfilled. He took in God’s words (especially the Law of Moses) and subsequently preached in accordance with them. That is to say, God let none of Samuel’s prophetic words fall to the ground. All of Samuel’s prophecies came true (they were not trampled on the ground or considered worthless). Accordingly, everyone within the borders of Israel—from Dan (northernmost) to Beersheba (southernmost)— recognized Samuel as God’s spokesman! Thus was the LORD’S promise to the evil Priest Eli fulfilled. Whereas he and his idolatrous sons were banned from the priesthood, Samuel was a faithful minister in their stead (cf. 1 Samuel 2:27-36).