A Special Life, The Birth Of Samuel
1 Samuel; 1 Chronicles
Our Focus: 1 Samuel
Theme: There are no accidents with God. God has a plan and purpose for every life born into this world!
The Books of Samuel could be considered transitional books in the Bible.
The Books of Samuel roughly cover the years 1070-970 BC.
To some Samuel is considered the last of the judges.
To others Samuel is considered the first of the kings.
In truth Samuel was the last judge, but Samuel was also a priest, and Samuel was also a prophet.
And, it could probably be said that Samuel was the founder of the "school of prophets" mentioned more by Elijah and Elisha.
But Samuel was never King of Israel, the first king being King Saul.
Samuel is probably the author of most of the Book of Samuel but he could not have written all of it because the book notes his death.
It is because of this that we can believe we have actual eyewitness accounts of the events that are described in both First Samuel and Second Samuel.
This was an extremely important period in the history of Israel, marking the end of the dark period of the judges, and the transition to the United Kingdom of King David.
This is the transition in the Bible from a theocracy to a monarchy.
Believe me we are fools to want anyone but Jehovah God ruling in our lives.
Those that want a king deserve a king. Only when King Jesus rules during the Millennial Kingdom will there be a just king and this comes after the Church Age!
So let’s begin with the birth of Samuel:
*****1Sa 1:1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite:
1Sa 1:2 And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
1Sa 1:3 And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.
1Sa 1:4 And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:
1Sa 1:5 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.
1Sa 1:6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.
1Sa 1:7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.
1Sa 1:8 Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?
We must remember the theme of the Book of Judges.
Jdg 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
Something was needed to break the endless cycle of sin, punishment, and oppression.
These judges were only a temporary solution and Israel felt that perhaps law and order would exist if they had a king.
But before the first king arises we will first see the last great judge of Israel!
Elkanah, which means "God created" was from Ephraim geographically, but he was also from the family of Levi, the priestly family.
Elkanah was a descendent through Kohath.
It was the duty of this family to take care of the Ark of the covenant, the table of shewbread, the candlestick, the alters, and the vessels of the sanctuary, with all the hangings of the Tabernacle.
We should have a clear understanding that though Elkanah had two wives, "polygamy" was not, and never will be a part of God’s original design and intent.
When the Lord instituted marriage, He made it quite clear that marriage be between one man and one woman, and this is the pattern for all marriages. No Same Sex Marriages are biblical!
Polygamy and any other unbiblical marriage will always cause additional consequences and hardships in a family!
Hannah may have been the favored wife but it was the other wife that was providing the children!
Barrenness in the Old Testament era, was considered a curse on a married woman since her husband’s legacy and inheritance largely depended on a son to continue the family’s bloodline.
So Hannah was not only barren but she was also ridiculed by other women especially Peninnah!
The Hebrew men had to go to the Tabernacle to worship the Lord at least three times each year.
They had to observe the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, which included the time of the Passover.
They had to observe the Feast of the First Fruits.
And they had to observe the Feast of the Tabernacles.
AND, the Tabernacle was located in Shiloh at this time, which was about 10 miles from where Elkanah lived.
At this time, Eli was the high priest of Israel, but he was also the judge of Israel after the death of Samson.
Eli had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, but they profaned the priesthood, and caused great disgust amongst the people of Israel in their worship of the Lord.
That phrase "a worthy portion" really meant that Elkanah offered an offering for Hannah that was enough for two. He offered for Hannah and for a child she had never had up till this time!
But Hannah’s female rival taunted her and caused her great sorrow year after year and she despised this trip to Shiloh.
But Hannah, whose name means "Grace" could not leave off serving the Lord!
SO, Hannah shows us two of things that are required for answered prayer!
One of those is patience.
The Bible says:
Rom 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: "knowing that tribulation worketh patience";
Another one is the fact that the Lord looks into the heart of that one who prays.
And the Bible says:
Psa 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
It is truly a miserable when trials and troubles come, but many use this as an excuse to stop going to church.
This will never solve the problem and it will only make things worse!
*****1Sa 1:9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD.
1Sa 1:10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.
There’s just something special about praying in the house of God! We cannot always do this but we can get into our closet and get alone with God!
While everyone else were still sitting around the table, Hannah rose up to go pray.
When we fully understand that is only the Lord who has the power to answer prayer, then we will live in such a way that our prayers can be answered.
We see Eli, who was the high priest, and a descendent of Ithamar, though all high priest should actually have come through the family of Eleazar, the firstborn son of Aaron.
King Solomon corrects this when he becomes king and installs Zadok as High Priest.
We also see that Eli sat upon a seat.
In other words he was more prepared to judge God’s people than he was to be a priest to God’s people!
Hannah was in bitterness of soul and Hannah cried to the Lord who knew her needs.
Hannah not only wept but she wept with such intensity, that she became emotional in her sadness sadness.
We know that when weeping begins in the heart it will show outwardly and with great stress!
*****1Sa 1:11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.
Normally, if Hannah had had a son he would have been involved in the ministry of the tabernacle from the age of 25 to the age of 50.
But by this vow for her son, he would to be devoted to the ministry from his childhood and "also" being subjected to the discipline of a Nazirite all his life.
We see a lot of pictures of Jesus with longhair but these pictures could better describe what Samuel would have looked like as Jesus probably did not have long hair but resembled most any other Jewish man of that time!
*****1Sa 1:12 And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.
1Sa 1:13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.
1Sa 1:14 And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.
Hannah’s faith and devotion was so strong that it brought misunderstanding and criticism from Eli.
Again, Eli sat as judge before his main function as priest!
We will see that Eli was tolerant of the sin of his two sons, but he was quick to judge and condemn the devotion of a godly woman!
We will also see that if your prayers do not come from your heart, then they cannot be heard of God!
John Bunyan said: "in prayer it is better to have a heart without words, than words without a heart".
And, this is the way that Hannah prayed!
BUT, Eli, the high priest, reputed Hannah while she was still praying!
He accused her of being a drunk and therefore wasting God’s time!
But Jesus said:
Joh 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
We soon find out as Christians that as we serve our best, the world will judge us with great harshness!
AND, we see this more and more of in the days we now live!
*****1Sa 1:15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.
1Sa 1:16 Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.
Hannah immediately denies that she even drinks alcohol and Hannah kept a meek and humble spirit because her heart and soul were stayed on the Lord!
A "daughter of Belial" would mean that Hannah was a "worthless" person in the eyes of man.
She just tells Eli that she was pouring out her soul before the Lord!
Eli would have known this if he had just listened, and finally we see Eli acting like a priest which he should have done from the start.
*****1Sa 1:17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.
1Sa 1:18 And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.
We know that the United Nations seeks ways to change this world every day, but what we will read here, in the Book of Samuel, Is That God Can Change The World With The Birth Of One Child!
Hannah was crying out for a child not knowing "that it was in the will of God to use such a child" at this very time!
God had made plans for Samuel before he was even born!
Eli then added his own blessing to the prayer of Hannah.
Hannah may not have known her prayer would be answered but she knew she had gone to the only source who could provide her request!
Five times Hannah had called herself a handmaid, which tells us she had submitted herself to the Lord. (Five also being the number for Grace)
Hannah returned to the feast with peace in her heart, and joy showed on her face, her burden was lifted!
*****1Sa 1:19 And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her.
1Sa 1:20 Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.
"Remembered" means that God kept this prayer of Hannah on His mind!
There are over 40 times that the Bible uses the word "remembered" associated with God.
The Book of Revelation states this fact:
Rev 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with [the prayers of all saints] upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
Rev 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, [which came with the prayers of the saints], ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
The "prayers of the saints" are a sweet aroma in the presence of God!
And God does not forget any prayer that reaches into Heaven and each of those prayers He will answer in His own time.
The Book of James tells us:
Jas 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, [yet ye have not, because ye ask not].
Jas 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, [because ye ask amiss], that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
The art of praying is best learn on our knees with a humble heart and just talking to God!
First we see that Hannah did ask of God and her prayer did reach into Heaven. Hannah had lived a life that allowed this to happen and Hannah had not asked "amiss"!
In other words what Hannah had asked was not wrong!
It was not out of order!
AND, it was not improper and God had heard this prayer!
The next thing we see in this verse is the fact that the birth of Samuel would not be a supernatural event but would come from his parents Elkanah and Hannah.
In fact, the name Samuel means, "heard from God", because she had ask for him from the Lord.
*****1Sa 1:21 And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.
1Sa 1:22 But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.
Most children can be weaned from their mothers milk in two or no more than three years and this could be true of Samuel.
But one commentator writes that there was a threefold weaning of children in these times.
1.) There would first be a weaning from the mother’s milk up to three years old.
2.) There would next be a weaning of the toddler stage up to seven years old.
3.) There would last be a weaning from childless manners at the age of 12.
In other words it was very probable that Samuel was 12 years old and fit to serve in the Tabernacle, so that he may appear before the Lord and abide forever.
We know that in the life of Jesus, growing up we first see Him at the age of twelve at the Temple in Jerusalem:
Luk 2:42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
Luk 2:46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
*****1Sa 1:23 And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.
It was not sin for Hannah to stay at home and Elkanah approved of Hannah’s decision. It was only required of the men to make those three yearly trips to the Tabernacle.
*****1Sa 1:24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young.
1.) Hannah brought with her three bullocks. This probably but did not mean that Samuel was three years old as some suggest but there were three offerings that had to be made.
There was the burnt offering, the sin offering, and the peace offering.
2.) Hannah brought and ephah of flour. It took 3/10 part of a ephah for each offering, of each bullock.
3.) And Hannah brought a bottle of wine.
God will never go against His Word so this was grape juice and not fermented wine, as some may think and probably "freshly squeezed" or "yayin mi-gat", wine from the vat as only the best would be brought before the Lord!
In fact, The Jewish Encyclopedia provides a concise description of the various usages of "yayin": Which is "Fresh wine", before any fermenting.
And in the more recent Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): "The newly pressed wine prior to fermentation was known as "yayin".
In the King James Bible "yayin" can be used for fermented and unfermented wine.
Pro 23:30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
Pro 23:31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
Pro 23:32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
This verse tells us specifically not to look upon wine that is fermented and if you cannot look upon it then you certainly should not drink of it.
Again, God will never go against His Own Word.
1Sa 1:25 And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.
1Sa 1:26 And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD.
1Sa 1:27 For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:
Hannah had taught her son well and had prepared him for serving the Lord.
At this time Samuel did not have a personal knowledge of the Lord!
This would come later when God spoke to him!
But Hannah was woman of prayer and she taught her son to be a man of prayer.
Hannah reminded Eli that she was the woman who had prayed for a son earlier.
And, She also reminded Eli that God had answered her prayer!
*****1Sa 1:28 Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.
That word "Lent" used by Hannah here, means that she was making a lifelong and unconditional loan of her son, to the Lord.
Hannah had been obedient to her vow!
And, Hannah is a wonderful example of praying in the "Will of God"!
God works through mankind and God wanted a man like Samuel!
But, True prayer can only be offered on the grounds of sacrifice.
When Jesus Christ offered Himself as payment for our sin, He also opened the doors of Heaven that our prayers could be accepted through Him.
The Bible is specific:
Joh 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified "in the Son".
Joh 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
There was much more work done on the Cross than just a payment for our sin!
Prayer is about changing us, as much as it is about changing our circumstances, and none of that can happen without Jesus!