1 SAMUEL CHAPTER 1
Samuel's Birth and Presentation to the Lord.
THE UNHAPPINESS AND THE PRAYER OF HANNAH. — V. 1. Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim, of Mount Ephraim, usually called Ramah, some six miles northwest of Jerusalem, in the territory of Benjamin, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, after whom this special region was named, an Ephrathite, cp. 1 Chron. 6, 22-27, belonging to the tribe of Levi; v. 2. and he had two wives: the name of the one was Hannah (charm, grace), and the name of the other Peninnah (coral, pearl); and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. The bigamy of Elkanah, though tolerated by God among the Jews, was opposed to the original divine institution of monogamy, and the misfortune which attached to this relation appeared in Elkanah's married and family life. V. 3. And this man went up out of his city yearly, year after year, to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in Shiloh, evidently at the Feast of Passover and of Unleavened Bread, since he took his whole household along. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there. This notice is here inserted by the author to prepare for the subsequent history. Elkanah, as a true Israelite, worshiped the great Lord of hosts, the one true God, and be brought his sacrifices of peace offerings in order to strengthen his fellowship with this God. V. 4. And when the time was that Elkanah offered, it happened on the day that he brought his sacrifice, he gave to Peninnah, his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions, as their part of the sacrificial feast, Deut. 12, 11-13; v. 5. but unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion, a double portion; for he loved Hannah, she was his favorite wife, as Rachel had been Jacob's; but the Lord had shut up her womb, He had given her no children, and childlessness was rightly held to be a great misfortune, a reproach, even a divine punishment, Gen. 19, 31; 30,1. 23. V. 6. And her adversary, Peninnah, who was jealous of Elkanah's special love for Hannah, also provoked her sore for to make her fret, to make her worried and excited, because the Lord had shut up her womb, while Peninnah, more fortunate in child-bearing and therefore boastful, made it a point to vex her with her childlessness. V. 7. And as he, Elkanah, did so year by year, followed the same custom, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she, Peninnah, provoked her, for she had her flock of children about her and made use of the occasion to sneer at lonely Hannah; therefore she wept and did not eat, she was too deeply hurt to have any appetite. V. 8. Then said Elkanah, her husband, to her, Hannah, why weepest thou, and why eatest thou not, and why is thy heart grieved? This is a climax showing his deep anxiety and solicitude for her. Am I not better to thee than ten sons? The deep and tender love of the husband tried to console her in her great disappointment. V. 9. So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk, at the conclusion of the sacrificial meal. Now Eli, the priest, the high priest at that time, sat upon a seat by a post of the Temple of the Lord, at the entrance to the Tabernacle of Jehovah, the palace of the Lord. V. 10. And she was in bitterness of soul, on account of the continuance of her hopelessness and of the vexations which she suffered from her adversary, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore, her many tears being an expression of her grief because all her petitions up to that time had been unheard. V. 11. And she vowed a vow and said, O Lord of hosts, Jehovah of Sabbath, if Thou wilt indeed look on the affiliation of Thine handmaid, the misery of her childlessness, and remember me, and not forget Thine handmaid, but wilt give unto Thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, consecrate him for lifelong service in the Tabernacle, to which the Levites were not pledged otherwise; and there shall no razor come upon his head, he was to be a perpetual Nazarite, Num. 6, 2 ff. V. 12. And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord, in a long and urgent prayer, that Ell marked her mouth, for she was evidently out in the court of the Tabernacle, not far from the altar of burnt offerings. V. 13. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart, literally, "to her heart"; she was so deeply engrossed with her trouble that she forgot her surroundings. Her face was full of expressive eagerness and emotion, but her communing with the Lord was all in her heart. Only her lips moved, in the intensity of her fervor, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Ell, drawing a. rash and profane conclusion, thought she had been drunken, having partaken of too much wine at the sacrificial meal. V. 14. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? Put away thy wine from thee, namely, by sleeping off its effects in secret, where her supposed condition would offend no one. V. 15. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord; I am a Woman. of a sorrowful spirit, in deep trouble, this being an emphatic and indignant denial of Eli's suspicions; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, a very intoxicating beverage made of barley, dates, and honey, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. Cp. Ps. 42,5. V. 16. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial, be was not to place her on a level with worthless bad women; for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto, while Eli had observed her. V. 17. Then Eli answered and said, not only retracting his accusation, but remembering the dignity of his office, Go in peace; and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of Him. not a prophecy, but a sincere wish and prayer. V. 18. And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight, she showed her modesty, reverence, and humility in accepting the kind wishes of the high priest. so the woman went her way and did eat, her heart was eased, so she could partake of food, and her countenance was no more sad. The right conclusion of a prayer is a confident Amen, which testifies that we are sure of the hearing of our prayer by God in advance.
SAMUEL BORN AND BROUGHT TO SHILOH. — V. 19. And they rose up in the morning early, and worshiped before the Lord, took part in the morning service, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah, his wife; and the Lord remembered her, for it is He alone whole gift children are in marriage. V. 20. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, at the end of the period of pregnancy, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel (asked of God), saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord, he was a perpetual reminder of the fact that God hears prayers, even for temporal blessings. V. 21. And the man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer unto the Lord the yearly sacrifice and his vow, for apparently he also had made a promise to the Lord and now offered this in the form of a sacrifice in addition to those portions of his property which belonged to the Lord by law. Samuel may, at that time, have been two or three months old. V. 22. But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, which occurred at the age of three years, and then I will bring him that he may appear before the Lord and there abide forever, consecrated to the Lord's service all his life. V. 23. And Elkanah, her husband, said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good, he was in entire sympathy with his wife in this matter; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the Lord establish His word, fulfill it, bring it to completion, namely, so far as his destination for the Lord's service was concerned. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him. V. 24. And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, one for each year of the boy's life, and one ephah of flour (about 26 quarts), three-tenth deals being required for each bullock, and a bottle of wine, for a drink-offering, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh; and the child was young, having probably just turned three years. V. 25. And they slew a bullock, as a burnt offering to accompany the consecration of Samuel, and brought the child to Eli, for both parents presented him to the Lord. V. 26. And she said, O my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord, the circumstance by which Eli was to remember her. V. 27. For this child I prayed, and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him; v. 28. therefore also I have lent him to the Lord, given him to the Lord in turn; as long as he liveth, he shall be lent to the Lord, given to the Lord as one that had been granted by the Lord. And he, Elkanah, as the father of the house, worshiped the Lord there. It. is pleasing to God if parents consecrate their sons for the service of the Church. But the main thing is for all men who have experienced God's love and faithfulness in their lives to place themselves in the Lord's service, both body and soul.