Pastoral Commentary for 1 Samuel 1:1-2:11
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
Hannah bore the shame and sorrow of being childless, and her husband Elkanah felt deeply for her. His other wife Peninah added to Hannah's misery by taunting her. This is one of the many instances where the Old Testament makes clear the evil that results from a polygamous marriage. Although it was a common practice in Old Testament times, it was never endorsed by God. In sorrowful prayer Hannah made a vow if that the LORD would give her a son she would dedicate him for all the days of his life in service to God. As Hannah prayed in her heart, her lips were moving and Eli the priest thought she was drunk. When Hannah explained her prayer, Eli blessed her, asking God to grant her prayer. Hannah's faith was fortified, and immediately she was no longer depressed. In response to her prayer of faith, God granted her a son, whom she named Samuel, meaning "Heard by God." Hannah kept Samuel at home with her until he was weaned then she presented him with a sacrifice to God to live in God's house and serve Him for his whole life. In joy, Hannah prayed, thanking and praising God with a song that was very similar to the one Mary sang when she rejoiced with Elizabeth over the gift of Jesus. For this reason Hannah's song has been called "The Magnificat of the Old Testament." Hannah's song reminds us that all blessing and strength come from God, who brings down the proud and raises up the weak. When Hannah went home, Samuel remained to minister at the LORD's house under Eli the priest.