Spiritual Training 1 Samuel 1:1-7 Hannah

Posted: November 17, 2015 in 1 Sameul, Eli, Hannah, Uncategorized
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Under Gods Command

    1There was a certain man from Ramathaim, Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.    
3Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the LORD Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the LORD. 4Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb. 6Because the LORD had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.
 

The book of 1 Samuel begins in the days when the judges still ruled Israel, possibly during the closing years of Samson’s life. Samuel was Israel’s last judge and the first priest and prophet to serve during the time of a king. He was the best example of what a good judge should be, governing the people by God’s Word and not by his own impulses. Samuel was the man who anointed Saul as Israel’s first king.

Although many great Old Testament leaders (such as Abraham, Jacob, and David) had more than one wife, this was not God’s original intention for marriage. Genesis 2:24 states that in marriage, two people become one flesh. Why then did polygamy exist among God’s people? First, it was to produce more offspring to help in the man’s work and to assure the continuation of the man’s family line. Numerous children were a symbol of status and wealth. Second, in societies where many young men were killed in battle, polygamy became an accepted way of supporting women who otherwise would have remained unmarried and, very likely, destitute. Nevertheless, polygamy often caused serious family problems, as we see in this story of Hannah and Peninnah.

The tabernacle (Tent of Meeting) was located at Shiloh, the religious center of the nation (see Joshua 18:1). Three times a year all Israelite men were required to attend a religious festival held at the tabernacle: the Passover with the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks, and the Festival of Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 16:16). Elkanah made this pilgrimage regularly to fulfill God’s commands. (See Exodus 23:14-17 for the regulations concerning the pilgrimage, and see the note on Exodus 40:34 for more on the tabernacle.)

Hannah had been unable to conceive children, and in Old Testament times, a childless woman was considered a failure. Her barrenness was a social embarrassment for her husband. Children were a very important part of the society’s economic structure. They were a source of labor for the family, and it was their duty to care for their parents in their old age. If a wife could not bear children, she was often obligated by ancient Middle Eastern custom to give one of her servant girls to her husband to bear children for her. Although Elkanah could have left Hannah (a husband was permitted to divorce a barren wife), he remained lovingly devoted to her despite social criticism and his rights under civil law.

Part of God’s plan for Hannah involved postponing her years of childbearing. While Peninnah and Elkanah looked at Hannah’s outward circumstances, God was moving ahead with his plan.

Lets Bring it Home: Think of those in your world who are struggling with God’s timing in answering their prayers and who need your love and help. By supporting those who are struggling, you may help them remain steadfast in their faith and confident in his timing to bring fulfillment to their lives.

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