David and his men faced their worst nightmare when they arrived home and found a burned-out village and that their wives and children were gone. Thankfully, they didn’t come home to dead bodies, too. There was hope they were alive.
David’s men were furious and blamed David for this misfortune. It was time for David to turn to God rather than try and take matters into his own hands. He called for the ephod from the priest so he could be sure the word was truly from God. And God said, “Go!”
Saul must have still be hopeful that God would change his mind and help him. Saul had relied on God’s direction for a long time before he made his costly blunder. He was hoping for a forgiving God. God is forgiving, that is not the problem. God is true to his word, and he told Saul what would happen if, and Saul didn’t believe it then either.
We hear that Saul had banned mediums from the land, yet he was able to find one. She was at least trying to abide by the law, but Saul was desperate. He needed an answer. The battle was looming and he needed a word from God.
You may have heard the saying, “behind every great man is a great woman.” I’m not sure where that comes from exactly, but we have seen examples of that down through the ages. If you are a woman reading this, your man is great because of you! And, if you’re a man, then cherish that bride of yours who is making you great!
David seems to have several women in his life. We can’t forget how Saul’s daughter Michal helped David escape several chapters ago. Apparently, in their culture a father can give his daughter away if he chooses. That’s what Saul did in David’s absence following his escape.
Our last reading told of the massacre of Israelite soldiers and the loss of the ark. Today it is reported to Eli and others. The outcome is not explained in great detail but left to speak for itself. We see how two people responded to this news, yet we must not forget the Israelite people as a whole have also been dealt a severe blow.
God had shared a portion of what took place that day with Samuel before it happened. Eli had been prepared for what to expect only because he had pulled the truth out of Samuel. Didn’t it seem as if Eli was more moved by the loss of the ark than in losing his sons?
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.