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5 tions: But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion, or a double portion, for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb; he did not love her less because she was barren, but showed her peculiar affection, as a woman of a gracious and tender spirit, to support her under her affliction, and balance her rival's inso6 lence. And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make 7 her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb. And [as] he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, So she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. On this occasion the other wife twitted her with her barrenness, and the fruitlessness of her prayers. At home she had a separate apartment, but they were obliged now to be together, and she took advantage of this to reproach and provoke her. It was highly unkind and cruel to do it on this solemn occasion, which caused her 8 festival to be turned into a fast, Then said Elkanah her hus
band to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? [am] not I better to thee than ten sons? Elkanah knew the cause, but gently reproved her for her dejection on this occasion, and with kind words persuaded her to eat and be cheerful; intimating, that she had more comfor in his tender attachment, than in many sons,
So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk; her husband's kind words had a good effect, and brought her to her meat and her prayers. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by the post of the temple of the LORD, to keep good order, give advice, explain the law, and bless the worshippers. 10 And she [was] in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore; her grief returned when she was alone, and she 11 prayed with many tears. And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor came upon his head. Her petition was humble and earnest ; she prayed for a man child, because only such could attend upon the tabernacle.t
And it came to pass as she continued praying before the 13 LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; she used such gestures with her hands and eyes as showed great inward emotion; therefore Eli thought she had been 14 drunken. And Eli said unto her, by way of reproof, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee; go from this holy place till thou art sober, then return, and repent of thy
The males only were obliged to attend; but devout men often took their wives and daughters with them. These had their portion, viz. out of the peace offerings, the greatest part whereof belonged to the offerer, wherewith he and his friends did feast together, see Deut. xii. 12. xvi. 11. Lev. vii. 15. ix. 22.
The Levites served only twenty five years, and then became judges, or preachers of righteousness; but he was to serve all the days of his life, and be a Nazarite from the womb. The vow was conditional, if it was a son, and he had no defect in his body or mind, and the hus band gave his consent.
15 sin. And Hannah modestly and humbly answered and said, No, my lord, I am not drunk with wine, but I [am] a woman of a sorrowful, afflicted spirit : I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul in sincere and fervent prayer 16 before the LORD. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial, a wicked, abandoned woman, for out of the abundance of 17 my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant [thee] thy petition that thou hast asked of him. This respectful answer convinced the old man of his mistake, and he dismissed 18 her with his prayers and blessings. And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight, still enjoy the benefit of thy prayers, and continue in thy good opinion. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more [sad,] being fully persuaded that Eli's prayers and her own would be answered.
And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped be. fore the LORD, prayed for a prosperous journey, and confirmed Hannah's vow, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah : and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remember20 ed her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about, in revolution of days, after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, that is, asked of God, [saying,] Because I have asked him of the LORD. The name conveyed useful instruction both to the parents and the child, 21 and this was a circumstance that gave great joy. And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God, according 22 to his vow. But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, [I will not go up] until the child be weaned, and [then] I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever. She was not obliged by the law to go with her kusband, and therefore chose to continue at home, till the child was able to accompany her there, and fit to be left in God's house, and 23 instructed in his service, And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish his word; either Eli's prophetic blessing, or some word of promise made to them which is not men tioned. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.
And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, and, in token of gratitude, they took with them a large offering, three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child [was] young, about three years old, as is generally supposed, 25 And they slew a bullock for a burnt offering, and brought the child to Eli, to inform him of God's goodness, and to offer a peace 26 offering. And she said, O, my lord, [as] thy soul liveth, my lord, I [am] the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. She makes use of this asseveration, because it was
27 some years before, and he might have forgotten her. For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition 28 which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD; expressing great earnestness, gratitude, and strong resolution; and notwithstanding all the ties of parental tenderness, and foregoing all her female fears and fondness, she leaves her child and fulfils her wow. And he worshipped the LORD there. Some think this refers to Samuel's devoting himself to God; but rather to his father, who renewed his thanksgiving, and sought the blessing of God upon his son, that he would sanctify him, and enable him for the service to which he was devoted.
OME lessons which may make us relatively good, may be of an husband, and a devout man. He feared God with all his house; took them with him to public worship; was kind and affectionate to a good wife, and bore meekly and patiently the perverse temper and insolent spirit of a bad one. Husbands are to love their wives, and not be bitter against them, and should be peculiarly careful to comfort them under their afflictions. Hannah had a meek and devout spirit, worthy the imitation of all wives. They are often in danger of fretfulness, and therefore should guard against it. The insolence and haughtiness of Peninnah are very detestable. Let all be careful to shun a peevish and provoking disposition, for that will, as in the case before us, alienate the affections of the kindest relative. Mothers may learn from Hannah, the duty of nursing their own children, if possible; and not to commit that work to strangers, which God commands and designs for them to do themselves. And though that work may confine them sometimes from public ordinances, as it did Hannah, yet God will accept them in it, and bless them. Let parents learn likewise to devote their children to God, to teach them the language of prayer, and bring them to God's taber nacle and ordinances; and then they may hope that they will prove comforts to them. Let us always remember, that he cannot be really good who is not relatively good,
2. Is any man afflicted? let him pray. Under all our troubles, crosses, and vexations, let this be our refuge: let our prayers, like Hannah's, be humble and fervent. We shall find it to be a remedy for every complaint, a support in every trouble; it gives ease to the heart under all our sorrows; it refreshes the mind, and bright. ens the countenance. And when we seek mercy, let us accompany our prayers with pious resolutions. This we are encouraged to do, since God hath never said, Seek ye my face in vain.
8. Let us be careful to guard against rash censures of others, especially for their devotion. Eli, though a man of God, and à good man, yet erred herein. He should have been better informed before he was so sharp in his rebuke, Hannah was not noisy and
clamorous, as drunkards usually are, and therefore there was the less reason for his suspicion. We should not be forward to believe people guilty of ill things; while the matter is doubtful, charity would hope and believe the best. May we be especially careful not to censure persons for their devotion, as if they were enthusiasts, or hypocrites, lest we blame that which God approves.
4. We learn hence, to be modest and humble even in our necessary vindication. Hannah bore this censure excellently well. Had she been of the disposition of many people, she would have soon been in a passion, retorted the charge, bid him look at home, and reprove the debauchery of his sons.. She did not angrily tell him how ill it became him, but contented herself with denying the charge, and relating how the fact was. Persons who are censured unjustly, think they have a right to be angry and to complain; but let us guard against this, even for our own interest; for we shall sooner be believed if we are humble and modest. But if we return censure for censure, and railing for railing, we shall bring suspic ions of guilt upon ourselves, and injure our own souls. Christ, when he was reviled, reviled not again.
5. We may hence infer, the odious nature of drunkenness. Hannah called them with great justness, Children of Belial; wick ed, untractable men, children of the devil. No name is too bad for drunkards, especially women drunkards, who are generally the worst, when they are habituated to that infamous and pernicious practice. It is highly wicked at any time, more especially so when coming to the worship of God; and the drunken prayers of some unhappy creatures, will be the heaviest and blackest articles in all their charges at the great day. Be not drunk with wine, in which there is excess; but be filled with the Spirit, the spirit of devotion, meekness, and humility. We may observe once more,
6. That those mercies are peculiarly welcome which are granted in answer to prayers, and should be acknowledged with peculiar gratitude. Samuel's parents were full of gratitude, and brought a noble sacrifice. Such mercies claim our warmest praises; such favours should be devoted to God, and employed in his service. Let the temper of David be ours; I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice, and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. Psalm cxvi. 1, 2.
CHAP. II. 1–21.
We have here Hannah's song of thanksgiving for the mercy of God to her ; the bad character of Eli's sons; and God's further favour to the family of Elkanah.
ND Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD; she consid
*This expression is very proper, as praise and thanksgiving are very essential parts of prayer; she adores the divine perfections, especially the goodness of God to her,
era her joy as coming from God; the lifting up the horn was token of triumph: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies ; because I rejoice in thy salvation. She was melancholy before, and durst not speak; but now speaks cheerfully and courageously, 2 because of the singular honour conferred upon her. [There is] none holy as the LORD for [there is] none beside thee : neither [is there] any rock like our God; she acknowledges his supremacy; that he is the only refuge in trouble; there is none else that she can rest upon; all other beings are as nothing to him. 3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let [not] arrogancy come out of your mouth :* for the LORD [is] a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed; he judges in the most exact manner, weighs actions in all their circumstances, knows what men think, as well as what they speak and do, and can bring about what 4 seems to men impossible. The bows of the mighty men [are] broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength, God brings down confident and presumptuous sinners, who trust to their own might, and makes the weak and feeble triumph over them. 5 [They that were] full and rich have hired out themselves for bread, to satisfy their hunger, and [they that were] hungry ceased to be 80; such changes we frequently see in the world: so that the barren hath borne seven, a proverbial expression for many children ; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble, through grief for not having more, or for the loss of those 6 which she had. The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bring. eth down to the grave, and bringeth up; the power of life and death are in his hand, and all domestic concerns at his disposal. 7 The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich he bringeth low, and lifteth up; he is the sovereign Lord of the whole world, dis8 poseth all things as he pleaseth, exalts or abases whom he will. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, [and] lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set [them] among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory; he raises the poor to a glorious throne, to dignity and power for the pillars of the earth [are] the LORD's, and he hath set the world upon them; therefore he is able to dispose of the inhabitants as he pleaseth. He will keep the feet of his saints, direct them in all their ways, and preserve them from danger; and the wicked shall be silent in darkness, shall be quite confounded, and brought into a most gloomy and miserable situation; for by strength shall no man prevail against 10 God. The adversaries of the LORD, the Philistines, shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them, destroy them in some dreadful way, (see ch. vii. 10.) the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength 11 unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.† And Elka
• Some refer this to Peninnah; but perhaps it was beneath Hannah to take notice of her poor malice, and may rather refer to the Philistines, the enemies of Israel, by whom they were oppressed.
†There was now no king in Israel; therefore some interpret the words as referring to David But it seems more reasonable to refer them to Christ, especially as there is so re markable a resemblance between this and the Virgin Mary's song, Luke i, 46, &c. This is the first place in scripture where the word Messiah or anointed, occurs As it she had said God shall make the Messiah great and honourable, and cause him to triumph over all his enemies.