UNSUNG HEROES

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  Hannah  
 
 

1 Samuel 1:1 - 2:21
1 There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
2 He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
3 Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the LORD Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the LORD.
4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters.
5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb.
6 And because the LORD had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.
7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.
8 Elkanah her husband would say to her, "Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don't you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?"
9 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the Lord's temple.
10 In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD.
11 And she made a vow, saying, "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head."
12 As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth.
13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk
14 and said to her, "How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine."
15 "Not so, my lord," Hannah replied, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD.
16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief."
17 Eli answered, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him."
18 She said, "May your servant find favor in your eyes." Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her.
20 So 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."
21 When the man Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the LORD and to fulfill his vow,
22 Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, "After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the LORD, and he will live there always."
23 "Do what seems best to you," Elkanah her husband told her. "Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the LORD make good his word." So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him.
24 After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh.
25 When they had slaughtered the bull, they brought the boy to Eli,
26 and she said to him, "As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD.
27 I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.
28 So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD." And he worshiped the LORD there.

2:1 Then Hannah prayed and said: "My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.
2 "There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
3 "Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed.
4 "The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
5 Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away.
6 "The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up.
7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.
8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. "For the foundations of the earth are the Lord's; upon them he has set the world.
9 He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. "It is not by strength that one prevails;
10 those who oppose the LORD will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth. "He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed."
11 Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the LORD under Eli the priest.
12 Eli's sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the LORD.
13 Now it was the practice of the priests with the people that whenever anyone offered a sacrifice and while the meat was being boiled, the servant of the priest would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand.
14 He would plunge it into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot, and the priest would take for himself whatever the fork brought up. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh.
15 But even before the fat was burned, the servant of the priest would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, "Give the priest some meat to roast; he won't accept boiled meat from you, but only raw."
16 If the man said to him, "Let the fat be burned up first, and then take whatever you want," the servant would then answer, "No, hand it over now; if you don't, I'll take it by force."
17 This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord's sight, for they were treating the Lord's offering with contempt.
18 But Samuel was ministering before the LORD--a boy wearing a linen ephod.
19 Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice.
20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, "May the LORD give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the LORD." Then they would go home.
21 And the LORD was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD.


The life of Hannah is during a time when judges ruled. It was a time when everyone did as they saw fit (Judges21:25).Each year, Elkanah a Levite (1Chr6:27) and his family travelled from Ramah to Shiloh, the religious centre of the nation where they worshipped and sacrificed at God's tabernacle (Tent of meeting). Hannah, one of Elkanah's two wives didn't have children. She was ridiculed by the other wife Peninnah for many years, to the point that Hannah would weep not even being able to eat anything. Although we cannot keep others from hurting us , we can choose how we react to those hurts.

Though the Lord closed her womb, (1:5) her heart was still open toward him.

1 Sam 1:10 - In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. She was misunderstood by the Priest.

Vs.13-Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk. Hannah had good reasons to feel discouraged and to be bitter, but instead of giving up hope she kept praying. She brought her problem honestly before God. She poured out her heart to God - trusting him.

We notice a complete change in her attitude. In 1:18, she said, "May your servant find favour in your eyes." Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. Why didn't Hannah lose hope, even when she didn't see results for many years? How she could persevere not getting angry or bitter to God? Why didn't she blame her husband or quarrel with Peninnah? Why didn't she have a bad attitude towards Eli, the priest?

When God gave her the desire of her heart, how she could give him back to the Lord, for His service allowing Eli to raise him. We see the answers when we study her prayer; she had a clear understanding of the Lord she was worshipping. She knew her God.

No one holy like the LORD, no rock like our God,(2:2) the LORD is a God who knows and by him deeds are weighed,(2:3) the LORD brings death and makes alive(2:6), he humbles and he exalts,(2:7) the foundations of the earth are the LORD's(2:8), he will guard the feet of his saints(2:9), the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.(2:10)

Though Eli's sons were wicked men, the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favour with the LORD and with men.(2:26). Samuel became a great judge, prophet and priest.

Application:
1. Get back faith in areas you've lost hope in and stopped praying about.
2. Get to know God deeper by spending quality time with His word.