Reading through the Bible together
This first chapter gives us a sad picture of God’s people. Apostasy was wide spread, “every person was doing what his sinful desires led him to do.” When Eli, God’s high priest, heard Hannah praying, he expected that she was another person who had been drinking too much wine. So he went and talked to Hannah and soon realized that she was a sincere worshipper praying to have a child. He must have thought, “Please forgive me Lord.” Then the Lord prompted him to assure Hannah that her request for a child would be granted.
Eli was a pious man but as a leader he lacked moral courage. The Lord needed a man who would give strong leadership and take needed action. The change began with a woman’s failure to have children, but the reproach it brought on her did not turn her away from God. She put her trust in the Lord and knew He would answer her prayer. Her husband, Elkanah was a Levite who had settled in the tribe of Ephraim. He was a person who was faithful to God and obeyed His commands. However to have children he had taken a second wife, which in those days was often done. That only added to the shame of Hannah being childless. It was while at one of the yearly feasts at Shiloh that Hannah poured out her grief and request to have a male child. If the Lord would do this for her, she promised to give her son back to the Lord all the days of his life.
This was the kind of mother the Lord was looking for. Not long afterward, she gave birth to little Samuel and did all she could by prayer and example to prepare him for the Lord. It was not easy for her to take Samuel to Shiloh and leave him there as she had promised the Lord. There is no doubt that little Samuel was constantly in her thoughts. This is seen by the new coats she made for him year after year as he grew to be a young man. The faith in God that little Samuel had was first seen in his mother. While the Bible says nothing directly about Samuel’s love for his mother, it must have been strong. The yearly meetings when the family came to Shiloh to worship must have been very special for all of them.