The Intriguing Beginning of a Great Prophet

1 Samuel 1 records events in a family life, some which we can easily relate to and some which seem very hard to get our minds around given how different our culture and time is to that recorded in the scriptures. We see once again how badly it goes for a man to have more than one wife. There is rivalry and it is not fruitful, but rather hurtful. We see favoritism from the husband, which is also not helpful.
Perhaps what is interesting is that we know the LORD closed Hannah’s womb, but we don’t know why. We can speculate that perhaps it was his intent all the while to prepare Hannah to give her son to him, but that is speculation. The scripture does not tell us. Most of us probably think that was harsh or “unfair”. We must trust our LORD and Father, even when things go the way we don’t understand.
Hannah offers a son to the LORD and he then opens her womb. She is honorable and true to her vow to the LORD. Most of us probably have a hard time with her “giving her child away”. However, the LORD used Samuel as a great prophet, honoring her dedicating her son to him.
Let us learn to trust our Father and come to him with our supplications and with thanksgiving. Let us be careful in making vows to him, but when we do, let us fulfill them.
Elkanah and His Wives
      1Now there was a certain man from Ramathaim-zophim from the hill country of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2He had two wives: the name of one was Hannah and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

      3Now this man would go up from his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests to the LORD there. 4When the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and her daughters; 5but to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, but the LORD had closed her womb. 6Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. 7It happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she would provoke her; so she wept and would not eat. 8Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”

      9Then Hannah rose after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the temple of the LORD. 10She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. 11She made a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.”

      12Now it came about, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli was watching her mouth. 13As for Hannah, she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. So Eli thought she was drunk. 14Then Eli said to her, “How long will you make yourself drunk? Put away your wine from you.” 15But Hannah replied, “No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the LORD. 16“Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation.” 17Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him.” 18She said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

Samuel Is Born to Hannah

      19Then they arose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD, and returned again to their house in Ramah. And Elkanah had relations with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. 20It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked him of the LORD.”

      21Then the man Elkanah went up with all his household to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice and pay his vow. 22But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “I will not go up until the child is weaned; then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD and stay there forever.” 23Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you. Remain until you have weaned him; only may the LORD confirm His word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with a three-year-old bull and one ephah of flour and a jug of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD in Shiloh, although the child was young. 25Then they slaughtered the bull, and brought the boy to Eli. 26She said, “Oh, my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the LORD. 27“For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him. 28“So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.

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