Shmuel I Two: Hannah and Samuel

Hannah has had her great dream fulfilled. She has a son, and now she is making good on her vow and dedicating him to God. Hannah, who prayed so fervently, now prays again. “And Hannah prayed and said, ‘My heart has rejoiced through the Lord; My horn has been raised by the Lord. My mouth is opened wide against my enemies, For I have rejoiced in your salvation (Samuel I 2:1).'” She praises God continually, acknowledging Him as a God of thoughts, the decider of life and death. “The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and raises up (Samuel I 2:6).” God is given dominion over miracles, but also over individual acts, largely of compassion, such as raising the poor from their poverty. This seems particularly relevant to Hannah, who had her deepest desire given to her just recently. “Those who strive with the Lord will be broken; Upon him will He thunder in Heaven; The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. And He will grant strength to His King, And raise the horn of His anointed one (Samuel I 2:10).”

Elkanah, Hannah’s husband, home, leaving their son with Eli, the high priest. It’s not shared at this point of Hannah goes with him, leaving Samuel on his own in the Temple, or if she stays nearby. For her sake as a mother, I hope she retains access to her son, even while he is fulfilling his destiny outside of her home. At the same time, Eli’s sons are known to be less than honorable men. They would take portions from the sacrifices that people brought to the Temple. “And the sin of the lads was great before the Lord, for the men despised the offering of the Lord (Samuel I 2:17).” It’s interesting that the sons are referred to as lads here. Lads indicates youth, and if they’re still children at this point, do they really stand responsible for their actions? Or are they grown men behaving in an immature manner?

Samuel, on the other hand, serves God. And, we’re given an update on his mother, who i feel very attached to. I’m sympathetic to her, and want her to have joy. “And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and he would say, ‘May the Lord grant you seed from this woman,’ because of the request which he had requested of the Lord, and they would go to his place (Samuel I 2:20).” It seems that Hannah went home, but every year she and her husband come to sacrifice, and see their son, and when she comes, she brings him a new robe. This is so touching to me. It’s such a maternal gesture, and shows how Samuel is close to her mind and heart, even if not her body. Luckily, God continues to remember her, and gives her three more sons and two daughters. So it’s a happy ending for Hannah.

Eli, at this point, is very old. He hears reports of the misconduct of his sons, and is saddened by it. He confronts them, but they don’t listen. This is in juxtaposition to Samuel, who continues to grow and is loved by God and the people. An angel of God comes to Eli at this time, and tells him that his sons will be cursed because of their misdeeds. “And I shall raise up for Myself a faithful priest, who will do as is in My heart and in My mind, and I shall build for him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed all of the days (Samuel I 2:35).”


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