Hannah and Samuel
(an adaptation from 1 Samuel from the Bible and arranged by Melineze Logan Hite)
In Ramathaimzophim, a city near Epraim Mountain there lived the family of Elkanah, the son of Jeroham. He lived there with his two wives, Peninnah and Hannah. With the wife Peninnah, he had sons and daughters. However, with his other wife, he had no children. "The Lord had shut up her womb." 1 Samuel 1:5 In this day children were indeed a blessing; there was no blessing for the one without children. Although Elkanah loved Hannah and treated her with great respect and love, she was in constant grief and felt saddened by her inadequacy as a wife. Her adversary, Peninnah, added to her feelings of emptiness by provoking her in words and actions.
Each year this family honored God by traveling to Shiloh, worshipping the Lord, and sacrificing before the Lord. Being greatly despondent, Hannah would not eat and constantly wept. Hannah sought the Lord. She went to the temple of the Lord, where she saw the priest, Eli. Weeping, praying unto the Lord in silent prayer, yet moving her lips, she whispered, "O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but will give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life..." 1 Samuel 1:11 She looked like a drunken woman to the priest, who said to her, "How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee." 1 Samuel 1:14 She corrected him by responding in this manner, "No my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord."1 Samuel 1:15 The priest responded, "Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him."1Samuel 1:17 Hannah was overjoyed because of his godly affirmation that everything would be alright. Her God would answer her prayer! The next morning after eating and worshipping the Lord the family traveled back to their home in Ramah. Elkanah felt so much love for his wonderful wife, and when he went unto her, the Lord remembered the prayer of Hannah. Then, she conceived and finally bore her husband a male child. She named the baby, Samuel, because Samuel means "asked of God". The baby grew strong, but Hannah and the baby would not pilgrim to the land of Shiloh the following year. This act puzzled Elkanah; however, Hannah answered him boldly, "I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide forever." 1 Samuel 1:2. This was indeed a powerful decision to have made; however, Elkanah respected his wife and respected her decision to honor God. "Do what seemeth thee good; only the Lord establish his word. "1 Samuel 1:23
When the child was weaned from her breasts and old enough to eat and drink without the help of his loving mother, she took him to the priest, Eli. She took with her" three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine." She presented the child to the priest with these words, "For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him. Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there." 1 Samuel 1:27-28 The cries of the baby must have been great. He would have to leave his mother's and father's home to live with a stranger. He loved his mother and wanted to remain with her. Although it was very painful to be separated from her only child, Hannah knew that she was doing the right thing. She spoke to the child and tried to comfort him. She gave him one last hug and kiss. She took his small hand and put it in the hand of the old, wise priest. She prayed that God would give her the strength not to break down and cry . She knew it would be wrong to take this child back home. He had to live there in the temple and spend the rest of his life worshipping and serving God. This she knew, but could she do it? Slowly, Hannah turned and walked away, tears flowing down her face. Without a sound of weakness, she left her child in the house of the Lord, and with her heart rejoicing, she exclaimed, "There is none holy like the Lord:...neither is there any rock like our God."1 Samuel 2:2
Samuel grew in knowledge, obedience, and great wisdom. He prayed unto the Lord. Each year his family visited him at the temple, and his mother brought him a warm coat to wear. The priest blessed the boy's mother and father for their great sacrifice made unto the Lord. God blessed the couple for their obedience and faithfulness with three additional sons and two daughters. "And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord , and also with men."1 Samuel 2:26 The child "ministered unto the Lord before Eli." 1 Samuel 3:1
One night when Samuel and the priest were asleep in the temple, the Lord called "Samuel". Samuel answered, "Here am I." And he ran unto Eli, and said, "Here am I: for thou calledst me." And he said, "I called not; lie down again." And he went and lay down. And the Lord called yet again, "Samuel". And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, "Here am I; for thou didst call me." And he answered, "I called not, my son; lie down again." Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him. And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he rose and went to Eli, and said, "Here am I; for thou didst call me." And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child. Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, "Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth. " So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, "Samuel, Samuel". Then, Samuel answered, "Speak; for thy servant heareth." 1 Samuel 3:4-9
The Lord shared with the boy great and powerful events to come. Samuel was afraid to share the vision from God with the priest, because God was getting ready to "judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restraineth them not." 1 Samuel 3:13 Finally, because the priest asked of him, Samuel told him all of the vision from the Lord. The priest knew that the end would come like this, because his two sons, Hophni and Phineas, were disobedient before him and the Lord. "Now, Eli was very old, and he heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he said unto them, "Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord's people to transgress."1Samuel 2:22-24 The sons of Eli still would not change their wicked ways.
Later a messenger gives Eli the news that his sons have been slain in battle by the hands of the Philistines, that thirty thousand footman have been slaughtered, and that the ark of God has been stolen. When Eli hears these disastrous events, he falls to his death backwards off the seat by the side of the gate. He breaks his neck. He was ninety-eight years old. The promise of judgement by God has been fulfilled!
"Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life." 1 Samuel 7:15 There was the power of God over the land of Israel. "So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel." 1 Samuel 7: 13 The ark of God would be returned. "And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath; and the coasts thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites." 1 Samuel 7:14
God uses his chosen prophets to bring the people back to obedience before him. Samuel was a beloved prophet of the Lord. He was obedient to the Lord, and God loved Samuel.
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