Topical - Prayer, Hannah's...
1 and 2 Samuel form one book in the ancient Hebrew manuscripts. They were not divided into two books until the Old Testament was translated into Greek. We don’t know who wrote the books; certainly, Samuel was a major contributor, but much of the book takes place after his death in 1 Samuel 25.
Apparently, Nathan and Gad completed the writing of these books. We learn this from 1 Samuel 10:25 and 1 Chronicles 29:29.
They are called the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, not because he wrote all of them, but because they describe his great ministry in Israel and the legacy of it. “Samuel the Prophet” thus practically bridges the gulf between Samson the Judge and David the King: and there is deep significance in the fact that his name is identified with the two Books of Scripture which describe this great transitional period, every event of which was affected by his influence. (F.B. Meyer)
This book opens with a cry from a godly woman. While the people are crying for a king, Hannah is crying for a child.
A. The Family of Elkanah (v.1-7)
1. Elkanah the Levite has two wives (v.1-2)
a) Now there was a certain man: at this strategic time & place, God begins His plans as He almost always does – with a person, a man or a woman He will use. God can accomplish His work all by Himself, or by using angels or any other means He wants to. But God’s normal way of working is to find a certain man or woman whom He can use.
The Bible says 2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
b) This certain man had two wives: the name of one was Hannah ‘Grace’ & the name of the other was Peninnah ‘Pearl’. Peninnah had children but Hannah had no children.
1) Polygamy Was Not God’s Intention For Mankind: the practice of having several spouses, especially wives, at one time. God Did Not Approve Of This Man Having Two Wives: the fact that certain things are recorded in Scripture does not mean that God approved of them. God is merely giving us the facts concerning history, persons & events.
2) The Bible Presents Monogamy As The Divine Ideal.
(a) God instituted marriage when He declared, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Gen. 2:18). So God fashioned a woman and brought her to the man. On seeing the woman, Adam exclaimed, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Gen. 2:23). This passage also emphasizes the truth that “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). This suggests that God’s ideal is for a man to be the husband of one wife and for the marriage to be permanent. Apparently polygamy, like divorce, was tolerated because of the hardness of people’s hearts (Deut.21:15-17; Matt. 19:8).
2. Elkanah goes yearly with his family to worship at Shiloh (v.3)
(v.3) Yearly – or from year to year: Three times a year all Israelite men were required to be at the central or most important sanctuary to offer sacrifices in observance of the main religious festivals (Exodus 34:23; Deut 12:5-7; see also Luke 2:41), Elkanah was no exception (vv. 3, 21; 2:19).
1) According to the law of Moses, Israelites were not to worship God through sacrifice any time and any way they pleased. They were to bring their sacrifices to the tabernacle of God.
2) Shiloh was the central city of Israel, the religious center, for almost four hundred years. The tabernacle was erected there, and in it sat the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was the symbolic throne of God among Israel, the sacred chest containing the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. At the Ark, once a year, the high priest would make atonement for the sins of the nation. Though it was hidden, it was a powerful and important part of Israel’s religious life.
3) Today, if you visit Shiloh, you can see the bare, ancient outline of ruined walls of stone, walls that had once surrounded Israel’s tabernacle for almost 400 years. On the heights you can see desolate, fruitless hills all around; rocky and bare, except for a distant Israeli neighborhood.
4) Hundreds of years later, through the prophet Jeremiah, God used Shiloh as a lesson. “Go to Shiloh,” He says. “Look what happened to a place of spiritual privilege and glory when they forgot about Me. The same will happen to you if you do not turn again to Me” (a paraphrase of Jeremiah 7:12-14).
(v.3) Hophni & Phinehas: we will learn more about these priest in chapter 2. Even though there were wicked men among the people this did not stop Elkenah to worship & serve the Lord.
3. Elkanah gives double portions to Hannah (v.4-7)
(v.4) He would give portions to all her sons & daughters: worshiping the Lord is to be all the family not just dad or mom.
(v.5) Hannah he would give a double portion showing his favor and love for her. He probably knew that his wives bareness was by divine providence (Gen.16:2; 30:2).
1. The primary duty for a wife was to produce a son for a husband, therefore, bareness was a cultural curse. It was legal grounds for divorce.
2. The thing to note was that it is the LORD who had shut up her womb. It was God that had caused her to become barren in order that God might work out His eternal purpose and plan in her life.
(v.6) Provoked her severely to make her miserable. When someone has or is provoking us to get us angry, we must allow the Lord to defend us, do not take revenge for yourself.
Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them.’ (Deuteronomy 32:35 NKJV)
And I am weak today, though anointed king; and these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too harsh for me. The LORD shall repay the evildoer according to his wickedness.” (2 Samuel 3:39 NKJV)
(v.7) She provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat. Because Hannah was provoked year-by-year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, she went weeping bitterly.
q Saying things to people or about people so that they are hurt when they come to church or they don’t even want to come to church is something that needs repented of (Matt.18:1-14).
q Hannah has a double portion in front of her and she cant enjoy it!
q Despite Hannah’s pain, God has a purpose in it all. God would use the closed womb of Hannah, and the pain from being childless, to accomplish something great in her life and in the whole plan of salvation. Even though things were hard, God was still in charge.
q God’s Sovereignty over the womb is a familiar theme in the Bible (Gen.20: 18; 29:31; 30:22)
4. Hannah’s Vow To the Lord (v.8-11)
(v.8-9) Why do you weep? In Elkanah’s response to Hannah’s sorrow, we see that he really does love her; yet, as many men, he is at least somewhat insensitive to her. He does not recognize that she had needs that he could not fulfill (such as the desire to be a mother).
(v.10) Bitterness of soul, prayed to the Lord, wept in anguish. What was her response to the taunting of her adversary? She did the right thing.
q She brought her grief and sorrows to the LORD, poured out her heart to God. That’s really where we are going to find our help. That’s where we’re going to find the sympathetic understanding that we need.
(v.11) She made a vow to the Lord: God needed a man to lead the children of Israel to a spiritual revival, and there was no man in Israel that God could use.
God said in Ezekiel, “And I sought for a man among them, who would stand in the gap, and who would fill in the hedge, but I found none: and therefore my judgment had to come.” God could not find the man who would intercede and stand between the judgment of God and the people. Therefore, not finding a man, judgment came.
Not finding a man, God found a woman (Hannah). Samuel, as a descendant of Levi, was the Lord’s property, from thirty years of age till fifty (Num.4:2-3), because God regarded the tribe of Levi as His own special possession; but the vow here implies that he should be consecrated to the Lord from his infancy to his death, and that he should not only act as a Levite, but as a Nazarite.
(a) The Purpose for the Vow of a Nazarite (Numbers 6:1-2).
1. To separate himself to the LORD: The vow of the Nazarite was to express one’s special desire to draw close to God and to separate one’s self from the comforts and pleasures of this world (“The English word Nazarite transliterates Hebrew nazir, meaning “set apart.” (Wenham)
2. (a) Samuel abstained from any product from a grape vine & strong drink, signifying distance from all fleshly pleasures – (b) Never cut his hair because it was a public, visible sign to others of the vow – (c) Touched anything that was ceremonially unclean.
3. This vow could last for a few months or years (Num. 6:4–8). But only Samson (Judg. 13:7; 16:17), Samuel (1 Sam. 1:11), and John the Baptist took the vow for life.
4. Samuel’s lifelong, voluntary self-denial was the ultimate act of devotion to God.
(b) Cautions When We Make Vows:
1. Watch What You Say: (Lev.5:4-5; Prov.20:25).
2. Deliver on Your Promise: (Deut.23:21-23)
3. Be Careful of Excessive Devotion (Ecc.5:1-7)
4. Words Are Cheap Actions are What Count (James 1:27-2:26)
If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. (Numbers 30:2)
Offer to God thanksgiving, And pay your vows to the Most High. (Psalms 50:14 NKJV)
Make vows to the LORD your God, and pay them (Psalms 76:11 NKJV)
5. Eli Sees Hannah Pray (v.12-18)
(v.12) Continued praying before the Lord: literally means “as she multiplied to pray” she did not give up. As she was praying she spoke in her heart, only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard.
(13-18) Eli thought that she was drunk: Note: Hannah considered a woman who got drunk as a daughter of Satan!
q Here is the moral degeneracy of these times: here is a woman who is really pouring out here soul to God, but this was such an unusual sight to Eli, he thought that she was drunk, which means the woman perhaps were lying around drunk after the feast times.
q This proves that religion at this time was very low. Even though Hannah is misunderstood by the high priest, our high priest never misunderstands us (Heb.4:14-16).
q Note: Hannah in bitterness of soul (v.10), poured out her soul before the Lord (v.15). Holding on to bitterness is like acid that will eat up our inside
6. Samuels Birth (v.19-28)
(v.19) Arose Early in the morning: Note how Hannah, even though the promise was not yet fulfilled, she was able to genuinely worship the Lord in faith. Note: this was early in the morning.
God also remembered (anthropomorphism) her prayer and answered according to His will. God had brought Hannah around to the place of aligning her will to His now God was going to answer.
(v.20) In the process of time: Even though this did not happen right away, she did not lose faith in the promise. She is a great example of those who through faith and patience inherit the promise (Heb.6:12). Samuel – ‘heard of God’
(21-23) Hannah Keeps the child until he is weaned: Culturally speaking this was about 2 or 3 years of age.
(v.24) The Child was young: it is good to be in the house of the Lord at an young age.
(v.25) Brought the child to Eli: the parents brought the child to Eli who was the high priest. As a parent I must bring my children to My High priest in order to dedicate them to Him.
(26-28) They worshiped the Lord: