v1-3: Spiritual life was at a low ebb; there was no widespread revelation, and the lamp of God was about to go out (see Ex 27.20). This reflects Eli's poor vision, lack of spiritual character and, also, the state of Israel in general.
God raised up Samuel into this situation; often God raised up mighty men into difficult environments; e.g: Elijah and Elisha. Prophets would not be sent to an obedient people. Their role was to rebuke the disobedient people of God.
Samuel ministered to the Lord, 2.11, 18, 21, 26.
v4-7: It was God's initiative to call Samuel. Up to this point, Samuel did not know the Lord, although he had served in the tabernacle. We say that conversion is linked to revelation, as a person comes to meet and know God in Christ. This is a truly spiritual experience, as God and man meet.
v8-9: Eli slowly realised that it was God calling Samuel; this illustrates his lack of spiritual perception.
v10-14: The Lord's first message for Samuel was a hard one, a message of condemnation for Eli. Samuel was still young, and Eli had been his spiritual 'mentor'.
v15-18: At first, Samuel was reluctant to tell Eli what the Lord had said. Eli put some pressure on Samuel, using a particular form of words (v17; see also 25.22). Eli's response seems fatalistic; compare Hezekiah's words in 2 Kings 20.19. There appears little regret or repentance in him.
v19-21: Following this call, Samuel's ministry was effective. His words proved faithful, and doubtless the words for Eli would also prove true. He ministered throughout all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, that is from the most northerly city to the most southerly.