Summary: God cares for our desperation He will change the situation for us when we pour out our soul to Him
God who cares
1 The Problem 1:1-8
The story began with a small family of Elkanah, he was a descendant of Zuph whose family line in 1 Chronicles 6:16-30, 66 shows he was a Levite who lived in a Levitical city in the boundaries of Ephraim.
He had two wives: Hannah and Peninnah, Hannah had no children Peninnah had sons and daughters. Polygamy often caused troubles, strife and conflict always happen in the family. One wife was cruel to the other wife, there was an intense, competitive relationship between Hannah and Peninnah.
The conflict between the two wives made Hannah very sad because she could not bear children for her husband. Hannah suffered from her rival who provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the LORD had closed her womb.
Fruitfulness was God's special blessing to His people, bearing children was necessary for every Israelite woman and their tribes, to carry on family line.
Barrenness is a big problem for Israelite women, it’s a curse, a shame and misfortune for a woman and a family.
Elkanah realized the problem and the situation, he showed his kindness and love and tried to comfort and help Hannah by giving her double portion of the sacrifice as if for her firstborn son.
The Double portion usually was for the firstborn son who normally received a double inheritance, and was the one who would inherit his father’s role as head of the family and also refers to the right and authority over all things.
But Hannah could not enjoy it she still felt deeply sad, she wept and did not eat.
Elkanah asked her 4 questions
1 Why do you weep?
2 Why do you not eat?
3 Why is your heart grieved?
4 Am I not better to you than ten sons?”
For the first 3 questions Elkanah knew the answers but he could not help her to solve the problems. For the last question he would be shocked if Hannah answered. For Hannah the answer might be “No” because she wanted to be a mother to bear a son, the emptiness in her heart cannot be filled by anything but a child, she strongly desired to have a son,
She didn’t answer the question, Elkanah’s questions didn’t solve her problems nor make the situation better.
2 How did Hannah solve the problem? 1:9-11
She decided to do something to solve her problem, she stopped weeping and ate, then went into the temple after finished eating and drinking.
In her deep distress and desperation, Hannah turned to the only one who can redeem her hopeless situation—Yahweh, the giver of life and prayed for a son.
She prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish and made a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your maidservant and remember me, and not forget your maidservant, but will give your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.”
She did the right thing, taking her bitter and anguished feelings to God in prayer, and promised to give her son to the work of the LORD, vowing he would be a Nazirite from birth. It was an extraordinary promise to God.
One may confuse with her intention, at first she strongly desired to have a son but in her prayer she would give back her son to God. Did she really want to be a mother? “Yes” But why did she offer such a prayer?
It probably was
1 Every Levite has to serve God in the temple from the age of 30 to 50 (Num. 4:2-3)
2 Her shame was eradicated when she bore a child and will become a blessed woman.
3 She was faithful to the life giving God.
So she didn’t have any reluctance to give back her son to God from whom she asked of.
3 God Change the situation 1 :12-20
While she was praying, moving her lips silently, in the temple with her anguish and bitterness
Eli was doing his duty, responsible for moral behavior of Israelite and to insure that they would treat the tabernacle of the Lord with reverence.
Eli saw her behavior and drew a wrong conclusion that she was a drunken woman. Drunkenness was inappropriate anywhere in the tabernacle, so Eli asked her to put away from wine then she had a chance to explain.
Hannah did not let Eli misunderstood, she explained her situation and her distress, that she was in a spiritual oppressed and poured out her soul before the LORD.
Eli learned that he had made a mistake then as a priest he offered her His peace and blessed her that may God grant her petition.