Now we’ve met Samuel. Answered prayer personified! You will recall how desperately Hannah had wanted a son. While we saw the side of her who was feeling inadequate and hurt from the bullying, she was probably also feeling the emptiness that can come when God doesn’t give a woman a child. Those feeling are deep.
Can you imagine her joy when she realized God had heard her prayer and answered it! Think of a time in your life when you turned around and God granted a desire of your heart. It could be as simple as an open parking space at the mall! Multiply that almost insignificant moment with giving life to a child, and you may be able to relate to Hannah’s joy!
Hannah shows us raw humility and great wisdom. She doesn’t know what to do with her despair, so she cries out to the Lord. “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.” What a vow!
We may remember that Samson was dedicated to the Lord as a Nazarite. He was set aside for God’s purpose, and his great strength and power from God was in his uncut locks. Presumably, this type of lifestyle was known to Hannah. She wanted a child so badly she was willing to give him back to the Lord.
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.