Let’s recollect a few facts about where the Israelites are and what time period it is … because once again, I’m weeping like a baby and need a minute to corral my emotions. So, I noticed that Phinehas is one of the priests at the time (v. 3). You might remember from back in Numbers that Phinehas was the name of Aaron’s grandson, but the Phinehas in this chapter, while still a priest like Aaron’s grandson, is apparently a different Phinehas. That confuses me a little and completely threw a kink in my timeline, so I had to do a little research. According to my Tyndale Life Application Study Bible (NLT), we’re about 200 years after the first judges started ruling, and that was shortly after the Israelites entered the Promised Land. So, that doesn’t tell us a whole lot, but it gives us a bit of a time frame. Samuel is born during a time when the Israelites are waning from one leader to the next, sometimes they have a judge, and sometimes they are left to their own devices. And sometimes they are under rule of another nation or people group, like the neighboring Philistines, who the Israelites were supposed to kill off but didn’t. Because they didn’t obliviate all the natives who occupied the Promised Land when they arrived, the Israelites were exposed to their ways, their women and their gods. It sounds like, from past chapters, that these neighbors weren’t all bad people, either. They invited the Israelites to join their festivities, eat their foods and marry their ladies. They made pacts. In some cases, they lived very much in peace … but at the expense of abandoning, or at least not paying full attention, to the one true God. Enter baby Samuel. Well, enter Hannah first, who is so desperate for children – and so faithful to God – that she vows her firstborn to priesthood. We don’t know much about Samuel yet, but now we know the time frame in which he was born and the sacrifice his mother made to bring him into the world. And Eli is proving to be an interesting character as well. As “they” say, whoever they are, the best is yet to come!
Writing prompt: a mother’s heart
Yes, I was wiping the tears away yet again after reading this chapter. I was just imagining Hannah’s mama heart as she was weaning her baby in those last few months, weeks, days. Put yourself in Hannah’s shoes today, and write about her struggle through joy. You can write about Hannah herself or write about a personal experience that helps you resonate with Hannah’s sacrifice.