Wednesday 10 December 2014

Bible Book:
1 Samuel

“For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him.” (v. 27)

1 Samuel 1:21-28 Wednesday 10 December 2014

Psalm: Psalm 96


Hannah did not go with her husband for his routine trips to makehis sacrifices but stayed behind in order to wean her son (it isnot clear which festival Elkanah is attending on this occasion).Elkanah was also going to fulfil a vow made to God which probablyinvolved a promise of a sacrifice in return for the blessing of hiscrops and general well being.

When Samuel was weaned she took him to be 'presented before theLord'. This practice is outlined in Exodus13:2 in which the firstborn son should be dedicated to God inremembrance of the night of the Passover in which the firstbornchildren and livestock of all Egypt were killed (Exodus11-12). The firstborn of the children and animals of Israelwere not killed as the angel of death passed over their houses.

For Hannah, this presentation has a special significance becauseshe would not be bringing her son home with her. Instead he wouldbe living in the tabernacle with Eli and the priests. He wasprobably about 3 years old as children were weaned for longer atthat time, but this is still very young as verse 24 notes.

It seems certain that Luke was a keen student of these verses ashe also mentions the presentation of Jesus in the temple (Luke2:22-40) and we will explore more parallels in the coming days.With Jesus being a firstborn himself, this would have been anatural thing to do but Luke's Gospel takes the trouble to mentionit perhaps because of the encounter that takes place there withSimeon. Like Jesus, Samuel would also be the channel that causesthe rise and fall of many in Israel (see Luke2:34) and this will be seen in the coming stories of Eli andhis sons and of the kingships of Saul and David.

We may sense within Hannah's words to Eli a great sense of joyand exaltation that her prayer has been answered and that now shecan fulfil her part of the agreement.

To Ponder

  • Hannah was quite straightforward in her prayers and her requestwas granted. When we say in our prayers 'if it be your will', isthis a lack of faith or a submission to God's will? What are yourthoughts?
  • The presentation of the firstborn is a powerful ritual aboutownership and a reminder of the Exodus. What else might it teachus?
  • Hannah's prayer for a child led to a great spiritual leaderbeing born in Israel. How do your prayers further the kingdom ofGod? 
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