The whole emphasis is upon the Lord’s initiative. The Lord speaks, his servant hears and obeys. Samuel has no choice; his own will is submitted to the command of God. . . . Samuel’s role is altogether different from that of a religious practitioner, seeking to cajole the deity into conformity with his desires. Quite the reverse is true: Samuel stands unequivocally for the demands of the Lord upon his people. The outcome must be either repentance and reform, or certain punishment.
— Joyce Baldwin