God’s story of love and redemption continues in the books of Samuel. We will see that these books reveal the transition between the tribal weaknesses of idolatry and sin to seeing kings raised up with a different focus and shift in culture. There are growing pains with any transition in life.
According to the Commentary on the Old Testament by Keil & Delitzsch, our passage today was likely taking place at roughly the same time as Samson was leading the Israelites in the Book of Judges. You will recall how the concluding chapters in Judges often mentioned Israel had no king. We’ll see how God responds to this need and their extreme desire to have a king.
How is Hannah feeling? If you’ve ever been bullied, you probably have a good idea. If you’ve not been blessed with children, you are sure to relate to her feelings of loneliness. Even though I have wonderful children for whom I will be forever grateful, Hannah’s story has always spoken to me because I would have liked even more children. God had other plans for me. (Side note: if I had had another daughter, Hannah was the name I had chosen for her.)
Being bullied is not a feel-good situation at all. I feel for Hannah. It’s like the other wife is just rubbing it in her face in an attempt to make her feel worthless. As a child growing up, I was always picked last for anything sport related. While I may not have been extremely gifted in the sport department, those name-callers from my childhood did a number on my self-esteem. One of my biggest challenges and accomplishments was obtaining my black belt in karate several years back.
While we didn’t meet Samuel in today’s reading, we are seeing a bit of his back story. Fun fact: I learned that Elkanah was a Levite from the genealogies found in the Chronicles (also mentioned in the aforementioned commentary). We heard that he was an Ephraimite. That is also true from a geographical standpoint. As we learn in Joshua, when the tribes all received their land allotment, the tribe of Levi was given no land because they were set aside to be priests. They would be provided for by the other tribes.
I did feel sorry for Hannah at being bullied for something she could not control. I hope that she was able to really appreciate the love and devotion that her husband, Elkanah had for her. He was doing his best to care for her and let her know she was treasured. Elkanah probably didn’t understand that his love alone would not be able to fill the emptiness in her heart.
But God was stirring. Stay tuned. Take time today to reflect on how God has kept you strong despite feeling like the underdog being unappreciated in some way.
Let’s pray …
Father God, thank you for building me up in the face of adversity. I know that you are there cheering me on and are my biggest fan! I am forever grateful for the children you have given me. I treasure my relationship with you and look forward to the direction you take me in this life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.