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First Samuel 9:1-20 Notes

1 Sam. 9:1-20 - EXEGESIS (Donovan)

CONTEXT: This appears to be a story only about a childless woman who brings her problem to the Lord and finds help. It is, however, much more. The birth of Samuel takes place during the time of anarchy reflected in the last chapters of the book of Judges-a time in which "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 17:6). Just as God, a thousand years later, will start with a baby to redeem the world (Luke 1-2), so now God starts with a baby-Samuel-to redeem Israel. Just as the mother of Jesus will be a devout but unlikely choice to be the mother of the Savior of the world, so also Hannah and Elkanah are devout but very ordinary people-not the kind of people we would choose to play a major role in the redemption of Israel. So this story tells us of Samuel's humble beginnings and unusual birth as a way of introducing us to one of the Old Testament's key personages.

The first three verses of this chapter (not included in the lectionary reading) give clues to what will follow. They tell of Elkanah, "a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the hill country of Ephraim... (who) had two wives"-Hannah and Peninnah (vv. 1-2a). A good story always has some sort of tension requiring resolution. The mention of two wives is the first hint of that tension.

Then we hear, "Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children" (v. 2b). We know enough about life in those times to understand that people wanted children to carry on the family name and to provide care in their old age-and that women were valued in large measure for their ability to bear children. Hannah's childless state is an accursed situation. Her barrenness gives Elkanah grounds for divorce, but he is a good man and loves Hannah. He probably married Peninnah to bear children when Hannah proved barren.

The presence of another woman in the home has to be difficult for Hannah. Seeing Peninnah's fruitfulness and having to deal with Peninnah's children day by day must reinforce Hannah's misery. The situation reminds us of the tension that existed earlier between Sarai and Hagar (Gen 16:4-5) and Rachel and Leah (Gen 30:1-24).

Elkanah "went up out of his city from year to year to worship and to sacrifice to Yahweh of Armies in Shiloh. The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, priests to Yahweh, were there" (v. 3). Shiloh has been the site of the tent of meeting since the beginning of Israel's occupation of the Promised Land (Joshua 18:1; 19:51). The tent of meeting and the Ark of the Covenant are still located there (2:22; 3:3). The mention of Hophni and Phinehas in verse 3 casts a shadow across the story. We will soon learn that they are scoundrels who have "no regard for the Lord or for the duties of the priests to the people" (2:12-13) and that their sin "was very great before Yahweh; for the men despised the offering of Yahweh" (2:17). Because Eli tolerates their behavior, God will cut him off (2:22-36).


9 Then Hannah rose after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the temple of the LORD. 10 She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. 11 She made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head."

"So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk" (v. 9a). Elkanah, Peninnah, and their children have eaten and drunk, but Hannah has abstained (v. 7c). "Now Eli the priest was sitting on his seat by the doorpost of the temple of Yahweh" (yhwh-Yahweh) (v. 9b). Sitting on a seat is a mark of authority. Teachers sit to teach, while ordinary people stand or sit on the ground. It seems likely that Eli is sitting at the doorpost of the temple to monitor people's comings and goings-and to insure that they act appropriately while in the temple.
▪ This reference to "the doorpost of the temple" makes this sound as if it is a permanent building. However,
later God will say, "For I have not lived in a house since the day that I brought up the children of Israel out of
Egypt, even to this day, but have moved around in a tent and in a tabernacle" (2 Samuel 7:6).
▪ We should remember that the tabernacle is not just a piece of cloth stretched over a lightweight frame. It has upright frames of acacia wood held in place by bases made of silver. Each frame is ten cubits (15 feet or 4.5 meters) long and a cubit and a half (27 inches or 70 cm) wide. The north and south sides of the tabernacle each have twenty frames, and each frame is held in place by two silver bases. The other two sides each have eight frames. These frames are reinforced by bars of acacia wood overlaid with gold (Exodus 26:15-30). So it is reasonable to assume that the tabernacle would have a doorpost and that this is a tabernacle rather than a permanent building.

"She was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to Yahweh, and wept bitterly" (v. 10). In her deep distress, Hannah turns to the only one who can redeem her otherwise hopeless situation-Yahweh, the giver of life. Adversity often drives people to their knees before the Lord.

"She vowed a vow, and said, "Yahweh of Armies (yhwh seba·ot), if you will indeed look on the affliction of your handmaid, and remember me, and not forget your handmaid, but will give to your handmaid a boy, then I will give him to Yahweh all the days of his life, and no razor shall come on his head'" (v. 11). This phrase, "Lord of Armies" or "Yahweh of Armies" gives us an image of God surrounded by all the heavenly hosts.
▪ Hannah not only asks for something from God, but also promises something to God. She makes a vow that, if God will bless her with a son, she will in turn give that son back to God as a Nazirite. A vow is a binding contract. If God gives Hannah a son, she has obligated herself to giving the son back to God. However, a husband has the right to nullify a vow made by his wife-but if he fails to act, the vow stands.
▪ We might note that people still make vows to God in extremity. "God, if you will just get me through this crisis, I will (fill in the blank)." We tend not to take our vows very seriously. It would be interesting to see how our lives would be different if we would take them seriously.
▪ Hannah's willingness to give her son to God is reminiscent of Abraham, and his willingness to sacrifice Isaac. However, there are key differences. In Abraham's case, he was following God's orders when he took Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice him. Here, Hannah initiates the idea of giving her son back to God. Nor does Hannah offer to slay her son. She offers him to God as a living sacrifice.
▪ Numbers 6:1-21 spells out the requirements of the Nazirite vow. Both men and women are permitted to take this vow, which separate them to the Lord and make them holy to the Lord (Numbers 6:2, 8). They are not to cut their hair or eat or drink the produce of a grapevine (even the skin or seeds) or go near a corpse. ▪ ▪ The purpose of the vow is uncertain, but apparently has to do with forging an especially close relationship to God for the period during which the person is under the Nazirite vow.
There is no obligation for people taking a Nazirite vow to obligate themselves for a lifetime. In this case, however, Hannah vows that her son will be a Nazirite for life.
▪ It might be that Hannah gets her inspiration for this vow from the story of Samson's mother. The wife of Zorah was barren, and the Lord appeared before her and told her that she would bear a son. The Lord told her to " please beware and drink no wine nor strong drink, and don't eat any unclean thing: for, behold, you shall conceive, and bear a son" (Judges 13:4-5a). God further instructed her, "no razor shall come on his head; for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb: and he shall begin to save Israel out of the hand of the Philistines" (Judges 13:5b). While Samson's sin caused that story to end badly (Judges 14-16), it gave Hannah an idea of something she might do to please the Lord.


12 Now it came about, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli was watching her mouth. 13 As for Hannah, she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. So Eli thought she was drunk. 14 Then Eli said to her, "How long will you make yourself drunk? Put away your wine from you." 15 But Hannah replied, "No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the LORD. 16 Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation." 17 Then Eli answered and said, "Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him." 18 She said, "Let your maidservant find favor in your sight." So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad..

"As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth" (v. 12). The sense here is that Hannah is fully absorbed in her prayer and is unaware of Eli's presence. Eli appears to be checking to see that all is well inside the sanctuary.

"Now Hannah spoke in her heart. Only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she had been drunken" (v. 13). Eli observes Hannah's behavior and draws an incorrect conclusion-that she is moving her lips silently because she is drunk. Drunkenness would be inappropriate anywhere, but especially inside the tabernacle.

"Eli said to her, 'How long will you be drunken? Put away your wine from you'" (v. 14). In challenging Hannah, Eli is only doing his duty. As a priest, he has a responsibility for moral behavior in the community. More to the point, he has a responsibility to insure that people treat the tabernacle of the Lord with reverence.

"Hannah answered, 'No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I poured out my soul before Yahweh'" (v. 15). Hannah's response to Eli's accusation shows that she has more strength than we might have imagined. In that patriarchal culture, women are near the bottom of the pecking order, and priests are solidly ensconced at the top. Many women, challenged by a priest, however incorrectly, would be deferential. Hannah, however, does not let Eli's rebuke pass without comment.
▪ Hannah's response is perfect. She is respectful of Eli's authority, but tells him exactly what is going on. She tells him that she has not had any strong drink. Her words, "sorrowful spirit" and "poured out my soul" convey the reality of her pain. The fact that she "poured out (her) soul before Yahweh" shows spiritual sensitivity and purpose.

"Don't count your handmaid for a wicked woman (bat-be·liy·ya·'al-a daughter of wickedness); for I have been speaking out of the abundance of my complaint and my provocation" (v. 16). While scholars debate the meaning of bat-be·liy·ya·'al, it clearly has to do with some sort of evil. References to be·liy·ya·'al (rendered Belial in the KJV) occur frequently in the Old Testament and once in the New Testament (Judges 19:22; 20:13; 1 Samuel 2:12; 10:27; 25:17, 25; 30:22; 2 Samuel 16:7; 20:1; 23:6; 1 Kings 21:10, 13; 2 Chronicles 13:7; 2 Corinthians 6:15). They always refer to some sort of wickedness or demonic influence.
▪ Hannah asks Eli to reconsider his initial impression that she is a drunken woman acting irreverently in the Lord's sanctuary. She explains her situation. Her behavior is not prompted by strong drink, but by anxiety and vexation. She is well within her rights to bring her deepest anxieties to the Lord.

"Then Eli answered, 'Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of him'" (v. 17). Hannah's impassioned plea rings true to Eli. He can see from her clear speech and thought patterns that she is not under the influence of alcohol. To his credit, once he realizes that he has made a mistake, he quickly reverses himself. He offers her his peace and a prayer that God will grant her petition.

"She said, 'Let your handmaid find favor in your sight.' So the woman went her way, and ate; and her facial expression wasn't sad any more" (v. 18). Hannah finds great solace in Eli's words. She seems to regard his blessing as a promise. Where she earlier had no appetite and refused to eat (v. 7c), now she eats and drinks with Elkanah. Where she was depressed, now she is sad no longer.

1 Sam. 1:10-18, 26-28 - EW Commentary

3. (1 Sam. 1:8-11) Hannah's godly vow.

10 She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. 11 She made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head."

b. Hannah was in bitterness of soul and great anguish; yet she did the right thing. Hannah took those bitter and anguished feelings to God honestly in prayer.
i. Most people know a time of bitterness of soul and anguish at some time in their lives. Thomas Sutherland said that he lost his faith during his time as a hostage in Lebanon. "God, I prayed so many times and prayed so hard - so hard! - and nothing happened. After thinking about it deeply, I'm not so sure there is a God." He added, "But I never felt abandoned by my country." The headline to this story read: Sutherland Tells of Captivity Without Bitterness. But what about his bitterness towards God?
ii. Hannah had many problems. Her husbands heart was divided. Her home, instead of being a place of refuge from trials, was a place of trials. Her hope had been disappointed. She was misunderstood by her husband. Yet in all those things, Hannah did the right things: she wept, she prayed, and she committed the whole situation to the LORD.

c. O LORD of hosts: Hannah begins her prayer by calling on the LORD of hosts.The title LORD of hosts is used some 260 times in the Old Testament, and has the idea "LORD of the Mighty Armies." Hannah feels attacked by her rival, and so calls on the LORD of Mighty Armies to be her protector!

d. She made a vow: Hannah promises her son to the work of the LORD, vowing that he will be a Nazirite from birth (I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head). According to Numbers 6, the vow of a Nazirite included the following:
i. Abstinence from any product from a grape vine, signifying distance from all fleshly pleasures.
ii. Taking no part in any mourning for the dead, nor to come near a dead body, because the dead show the corruption and the fruit of sin. Also, because the Nazirite had greater concerns than the ordinary joys and sorrows of life.
iii. Never cutting the hair, because it was a public, visible sign to others of the vow.
iv. Typically, the vow of a Nazirite was taken for a set and rather short period of time. Samuel and Samson (Judges 13:5) were unique, because they were Nazirites from birth.

e. I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life: The child born would be a Levite, and being of that tribe, would be already dedicated unto the LORD, because God regarded the tribe of Levi as His own special possession. But the time of a Levite's special dedication to the LORD only lasted from the age of 30 to 50 (Numbers 4:2-3). Here, Hannah was taking something that already belonged to the LORD in some sense, and gave it again to the LORD in a greater way - for the whole life, and in a the dedication of a Nazirite, which was a greater consecration than a Levite.
i. Even so, we may be dedicated unto the LORD - but is there a greater dedication God wants from us? It would have been easy for Hannah to say, "I don't need to dedicate my child to the LORD, because he is already dedicated." But there was a deeper dedication the LORD was trying to draw out of Hannah. Is there a deeper dedication the LORD is trying to draw out of you?
f. It is difficult, even impossible to understand all the reasons and dynamics behind the plan of God; but certainly, if God wanted this little boy to be dedicated to Him in this special way, He had to allow Hannah to come to this place of desperation.

i. Certainly, this was not the first time Hannah had prayed for a child. But perhaps this was the first time she prayed, truly giving the child to the LORD - not just in her heart, but in this vow as well.
ii. "Prayers and tears are the saints' best weapons." (Trapp) But Hannah - just as many of us - would not resort to these best weapons until bitterness and anguish forced her.

4. (1 Sam. 1:12-14) Eli, the high priest, watches Hannah's silent prayer.

12 Now it came about, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli was watching her mouth. 13 As for Hannah, she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. So Eli thought she was drunk. 14 Then Eli said to her, "How long will you make yourself drunk? Put away your wine from you."

a. As she continued praying is literally, "as she multiplied to pray." We have recorded only a bare summary of Hannah's prayer. As is the case with most all of the prayers and speeches of the Bible, all we have recorded is a portion or a summary of what was said.

b. Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: It is often good to pray aloud, because it can help us to better focus our thoughts. Yet this passage shows that prevailing prayer doesn't need to be vocal, it can be silent in the heart.

c. How long will you be drunk? Of course, Eli misunderstands Hannah here. But the fact that he would even suspect that she was drunk shows that it may not have been all that unusual for people to be drunk at the "fellowship meals" they would have in sacrificing to the LORD at the tabernacle. The fact that Eli suspected Hannah of drunkenness doesn't speak well for what he had seen around the tabernacle area previously!
i. "The fact that Eli supposed her to be drunken, and the other of the conduct of Eli's sons already mentioned, prove that religion was at this time at a very low ebb in Shiloh; for it seems drunken women did come to the place, and lewd women were to be found there." (Clarke)

d. Hannah suffers from being misunderstood by both her husband and her high priest; our High Priest never misunderstands us (Hebrews 4:14-16).

5. (1 Sam. 1:15-18) Hannah responds to Eli's accusation; Eli answers back with a blessing.

15 But Hannah replied, "No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the LORD. 16 Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation." 17 Then Eli answered and said, "Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him." 18 She said, "Let your maidservant find favor in your sight." So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

a. No, my lord: Hannah will not accept Eli's accusation, but she will not respond in a haughty or an arrogant tone. She will explain herself, but will do it remembering that he is her high priest.

b. I have poured out my soul before the LORD: This is exactly what Hannah needed to do. Instead of keeping the bitterness of soul and the anguish in her heart, she poured it out of her soul before the LORD. Don't hold it in, pour it out before the LORD! The bitterness and anguish is like an acid that will eat up your insides, unless you pour it out before the LORD.

c. The God of Israel grant your petition: Eli may have spoken this only as a pious wish; but it was in fact a word from the LORD.
i. Caiaphas is an example of an ungodly high priest who spoke a word from the LORD (John 11:49-52).

d. Her face was no longer sad: The change in Hannah's countenance shows that she received the promise with faith, something necessary if we will inherit the promises of God (Hebrews 6:12).
i. Hannah shows how we can regain the joy of fellowship in the house of the LORD again: by pouring out our heart before the LORD and by, receiving His word with faith.

3. (1 Sam. 1:26-28) Hannah dedicates Samuel to God's service.

26 She said, "Oh, my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the LORD. 27 For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him. 28 So I have also [j]dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD." And he worshiped the LORD

The magnitude of Elkanah's offering when Samuel was dedicated to the LORD - offering an entire bull - shows that a "grown up" offering for sin was made at his dedication, even though Samuel was only about three years old. This is a subtle reference to the inherited nature of our sinfulness. Though Samuel has not sinned as much as an adult, he is still a guilty sinner, because he has inherited a sinful nature from Adam - as we all have.

c. Literally, I also have lent him to the LORD could be translated, "And I also made myself to ask him for the LORD." The idea is not that Hannah "owns" the child and is "lending" him to the LORD. Instead, the idea is that the child is her "prayer," or the fulfillment of her prayer to the LORD.
i. The name Samuel means "Name of God" but Hannah - as was common among the Hebrews - made a pun on the name by saying that she had "asked the LORD for him." Asked in Hebrew sounds like Samuel.

d. So they worshipped the LORD there: Worship is a repeated characteristic of this family (1 Samuel 1:3, 19, 28). Even in difficult situations, they can worship the LORD. Praising God on the day you give your little son away may not be easy, but it is praise God is pleased with, even as we are to bring a sacrifice of praise to God (Hebrews 13:15).

1 Sam. 1:10-18, 26-28 - Extra Commentary

Verses 10-11: The best place to go when one feels hopeless and bitter "of soul" is before God (Ps. 62:8; Phil. 4:6-7; 1 Pet. 5:7). All parents should start at the throne of God in prayer and offer up their children to Him.

1 Samuel 1:10 "And she [was] in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore."

"And prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore": Her prayer was with strong crying and tears; it was very fervent and affectionate; she prayed most vehemently, and wept bitterly. This perhaps was about the time of the evening sacrifice, about three or four o'clock in the afternoon; seeing it was after dinner that she arose up and went to prayer in the house of God, at the door of the tabernacle, or near it, as it should seem by the notice Eli took of her, who sat there.

This is another way of saying that her heart was broken. It appears she was kneeling and praying to the LORD. This prayer was coming from her innermost being.

1 Samuel 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."

"Vow": Hannah pledged to give the Lord her son in return for God's favor in giving her that son. A married woman's vow could be confirmed or nullified by her husband (according to Num. 30:6-15). Her vow was a serious one (Eccl. 5:4-5). Her pledge was that if God would grant her a son, he would be consecrated as a Nazarite for service to the "Lord" for his entire life. (See the note on Judges 13:5).

"Thine handmaid": A humble, submissive way of referring to herself in the presence of her superior, sovereign God.

"Remember me": Hannah requested special attention and care from the Lord.

"All the days of his life": A contrast to the normal Nazirite vow, which was only for a specified period to time.

"No razor": Though not specified as such in this chapter, the Nazirite vow is certainly presupposed. The not shaving of the hair on one's head is one of the three requirements of the vow (Num. 6:5). This expression was used elsewhere only of the Nazirite Samson (Judges 13:5; 16:17).

The three times she speaks of herself as the LORD's handmaid, shows her willingness to serve the LORD. She vows to God, if He will let her have a man child (to take away her reproach), she will dedicate him to the LORD's service all of His life. We do not read here, that she promises for him to be under a Nazarite vow. She does, however, promise that she will never cut his hair, which is one sign of a Nazarite vow. He will be ordained from birth to the service of the LORD.

1 Samuel 1:12 "And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth."

Being very earnest and importunate with him to grant her request, and therefore repeated her petition, and prolonged her prayer, being unwilling to let the Lord go, until she had a promise, or some satisfaction, that she should have the thing she liked.

"That Eli marked her mouth": Observed the motion of her lips, and no doubt her distorted countenance, and uplifted eyes and hands, but chiefly the former; not knowing what the woman was at, and what could be the meaning of such motions.

It appears that, Hannah was praying in her heart, and very softly. So softly that Eli marked her mouth. He did not see her lips moving in prayer, but when he touched her, he realized they were moving. It seemed it was the custom to pray aloud, not just to God. He, now, realizes that she is saying something under her breath.

1 Samuel 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."

"Drunken": Public prayer in Israel was usually audible. However, Hannah was praying silently, leaving Eli to surmise that she was drunk. So, when he does not hear the words of her mouth, he thinks the worst. He assumes she has had too much to drink.

1 Samuel 1:14 "And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee."

What, every day drunk? What, continually in this wicked practice? When will it be stopped? for Eli might have observed on other days, and at other times, odd looks, and a strange behavior in her, which he took for the effects of drinking too much wine: or how long will this drunken fit last? She had been a considerable time as he thought in it, and it was not gone off yet.

"Put away thy wine from thee": Not as if she had any with her there to drink of, but he advises her, since it had such an effect upon her, to abstain from it, and wholly disuse it, and so break off such an habit and custom she had got into; or he would have her go home and sleep it off, and wait till she had digested it, and the strength of it was gone, before she came to such a place of devotion and worship.

He is telling her to stop drinking, and especially in the tabernacle. He wants her to go home and sober up, then come back and pray.

1 Samuel 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."

That is not my case, you have greatly mistaken it; she answered with great mildness and meekness. "I am a women" in whom drunkenness is most abominable; so that the Romans punished it with death; therefore, judge me not so severely.

"Of a sorrowful spirit": And therefore, not likely to give up myself to drink and jollity, and far from that merry temper which drunkards have: I am drunk with affliction, not with wine, as is said (Isa. 51:21).

"I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink": to wit: this day (see 1 Sam. 1:7-8).

"Have poured out my soul": Have been breathing forth the grief, and perplexities, and desires of my soul (the
like phrase in Job 30:16; Psalm 62:8 142:2).

She quickly tells him, that she has not been drinking. She is praying to God, because her heart is broken. She did not intend for others to hear her request to God. She had prayed her heart's desire to the LORD alone. She is sad, because she is barren.

1 Samuel 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."

The term "daughter of Belial" means a worthless or wicked woman. (2:12; see the note on Judges 19:22).

We see that Hannah associates women who are drunk with someone controlled of the devil. "Belial" in this particular instance, means worthlessness.

1 Samuel 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."

He found he was mistaken in her, and that her discourse was not only sober and rational, but religious and spiritual; and therefore, dismisses her in peace. And bids her not distress herself with what he had said to her, nor with anything she had met with from others, or from the Lord; but expect peace and prosperity. And particularly success in what she had been engaged, and had been solicitous for.

"And the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him": Which may be considered either as a prayer for her, he joining with her in a request to the Lord; that what she had asked might be granted. Or as a prophecy that so it would be, it being revealed to him by the Holy Ghost, as the high priest of the Lord. Or impressed by an impulse upon his spirit that the favor asked would be given. And therefore, she might go home in peace, and with satisfaction of mind.

This is tremendous encouragement to Hannah. The high priest is speaking for God, when he says this to Hannah. The high priest represented the people to God and God to the people. This is telling Hannah, that she will indeed have a son.

1 Samuel 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]."

In other words, Hannah's reply to his loving farewell asked the old man to think kindly of her, and to pray for her with his mighty power of prayer.

"Did eat, and her countenance was no more sad": A beautiful example of the composing influence of prayer. "Hannah had cast her burden upon the Lord, and so her own spirit was relieved of its load. She now returned to the family feast, and ate her portion with a cheerful heart."

Hannah needs to fast no longer. God has answered her prayer. Her confidence that her prayer is answered is shown in her now eating. She is happy. She is going to have a son.

Note: Verses 26-28: Children were normally "weaned" by the age of three. The child that the Lord gave to Hannah, she gave to Him ("lent to the Lord"), in return, fulfilling her vow (in 1:11). In every way, Samuel would be dedicated to the Lord and His service (Luke 2:22).

1 Samuel 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."

"As thy soul liveth": Literally "by the light of your soul," a common oath formula.

We remember that Eli had not heard what she had prayed for. He had answered her request; by saying God had answered her prayer. This is the first time that Eli is aware she had promised her son to God. It had been awhile since he had seen her, so she had to remind him of who she is.

Verses 27-28: The various Hebrew words here contain a play on the word ask. Hannah had "asked" the "Lord" for a son (verse 20), and the Lord had granted her asking (verse 27). Accordingly, she on her part had granted an asking (dedicated), she had given Samuel as a lifelong asked-for (consecrated), person to the Lord (verse 28).

These terms are from the same Hebrew root used 4 times in these two verses. Twice (in verse 27), it has the usual meaning of "asked." Twice (in verse 28), it bears the derived meaning "lent on request." The son Hannah requested God had given, and she gives her gift back to the Giver.

1 Samuel 1:27 "For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:"

Which she now had in her hand, and was presenting to Eli.

"And the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him": And which he also desired might be granted her, or foretold that it would be (1 Sam. 1:17). Though perhaps he knew not then particularly what it was she asked; nor did she acquaint him with it at parting, as she now did. Having obtained of the Lord what she was so solicitous for, and now makes mention of with thankfulness.

1 Samuel 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."

To be employed in his service, not for a few days, months, or years, but for his whole life. The Targum is, "I have delivered him, that he may minister before the Lord; As she had received him as an answer of prayer, she gave him up according to her vow

"As long as he liveth he shall be lent unto the Lord": Or as the Targum, "all the days that he lives he shall be ministering before the Lord, that is, he shall be lent unto him, and serve him as long as it is desired.

"And he worshipped the Lord there": In the tabernacle at the same time. Either Elkanah, who with Hannah brought the child to Eli, and now gave thanks to God for giving them the child, and prayed unto him that he might be received into the service of the sanctuary; or else Eli. To whom the child was brought for admittance, who when he heard that Hannah's request was granted, which he had entreated also might be or had declared it would be, bowed his head, and gave thanks to God for it.

Or rather the child Samuel, as he was taught and trained up, bowed himself before the Lord, and worshipped him in the tabernacle as soon as he was brought into it, though a child.

What she is really saying is that she has given her son back to the LORD. She had promised she would give him to the service of the LORD all the days of his life and she is fulfilling that vow. Eli realizes what the magnitude of this is, and worships the LORD. Samuel will never stop being her son, but he will never stop being God's servant either. He will be trained by Eli the high priest, in the ways of the LORD.