Hannah was the wife of Elkanah (1 Samuel 1-2). But she was barren and could not bear children for her husband. Alkanah’s other wife, Peninnah, had children. And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, Alkanah would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters but to Hannah he would give a double portion because he loved her. This caused Peninnah to be jealous and ridicule Hannah severely and make her life miserable.
So, grieving deeply, Hannah traveled to the tabernacle in Shiloh and prayed for a child, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head” (1 Samuel 1:11).
When Eli the priest saw her crying bitterly, he thought she was drunk but she told him she was praying to God. So, Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him” (v. 17). Hannah returned home and conceived a child and she called him Samuel which means “I have asked for him from the LORD” (v. 20).
After Samuel was weaned, Hannah brought him to Shiloh to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. And there she fulfilled her vow and gave Samuel to Eli saying, “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord” (v. 27–28). And from that point on, Hannah visited Samuel every year and brought him a gift (1 Samuel 2:19).
God blessed Hannah and gave her much more than she had asked. For she had five other kids than Samuel – three other sons and two daughters (Samuel 2:21). And Hannah praised the Lord saying, “My heart rejoices in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation. No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none besides You, nor is there any rock like our God” (1 Samuel 2:1,2).
The story of Hannah and Samuel has often been an inspiration and encouragement to families struggling with infertility. Though God may act differently with people according to His good will, Hannah’s diligent spirit of prayer should be an inspiration to the believers when they are afflicted. “This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles” (Psalm 34:6).
In His service,
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