1 Samuel 1:2-20 (abbreviated)
“There was a certain man whose name was Elkanah. He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
Year after year this man went up from Ramah to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. Elkanah her husband would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you down-hearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Eli the priest was sitting by the doorpost of the Lord’s temple. Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord. And she made a vow, saying, “O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and give me a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life. Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
Early the next morning they arose and worshipped and then went back to their home in Ramah. In the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.” “
In the Bible, when God has a special purpose for a man, there is something special about his birth. Like Hannah, Sarah, Rebekah and Elizabeth all experienced being childless. Like Samuel, Isaac, Jacob and John the Baptist, were God-given answers to years of prayer. Each had a special role to play in the hands of God. When God gave Hannah a son, He also gave Israel the last and greatest of the judges and the first after Moses of the great prophets.
Shiloh was the centre of worship at this time. Joshua had set up the tabernacle here – the temple was not built until Solomon’s day.
Today, if you climb up Mount Shiloh, there are 360’ views. But there is only one place flat enough for the tabernacle to be erected. As you look down on one side there is a flat piece of land, 100yds x 50yds – the exact size of the tabernacle. It has been marked out by white flags.
Hannah vowed to give the baby she was praying for back to God. It was usual to pray aloud but we are told only Hannah’s lips moved. Eli is quick to jump to the wrong conclusion. Religious life must have been at a low ebb if worshippers came drunk to the tabernacle.
Samuel would have been two or three years old when Hannah took him back to the tabernacle.
Prayer: Pray, today, for all those families with new babies. Pray that God would have a special purpose for their lives and that they might be brought up to know and love Him.