Happy Friday, ya’ll!
Chapter 1- Elkanah the Ephraimite has two wives; Peninnah who has several children, and Hannah who is barren (but also Elkanah’s favorite wife.) When they go to the temple to make a yearly offering, Hannah crys, prays, begs God for a son, and promises to dedicate him to God after he is born. The priest Eli sees her in her sad, prayerful state and accuses her of being drunk, but then blesses her when he learns what is really going on. She does conceive, and gives birth to a son named Samuel. After he is weaned, she takes him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh, makes sacrifices and dedicates Samuel to God.
I’m noticing a theme with the barren wife being the favorite wife. It happened with Rachel/Leah/Jacob as well. I guess God uses babies a consolations prizes for unloved wives.
I’m also noticing a trend that people didn’t deal with multiple marriages very well back in the day. “And [Hannah’s] rival [Peninnah] also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.” (6,7) Look, I understand that women didn’t really have any say in this multiple marriage business, but I think they could’ve made better use of the bad situation. Is it really a good plan to be a jerk to your barren, and obviously grieving, sister wife? I don’t think so. Let’s try to be friends.
After we finally get gay marriage fully legalized, I think multiple marriages will be one of the next issues to come up in society. So, let me be an equality hipster, and go on the record as supporting polyamorous marriages before it’s cool to do so. But, I think it needs to be a hell of a lot more consensual than the multiple marriages of the Bible.
Chapter 2- Hannah prays, then she and Elkanah leave Samual at the house of God and go home. Hannah goes on to have 3 more sons and 2 daughters. The sons of Eli the priest are corrupt and are taking more of the sacrificial meat for themselves than they should be. A man of God comes to Eli and rebukes him for this, and tells him that God will raise up a new priest to serve and that Eli’s family will have to beg for food from the new priest after they have been removed from power. All this time Samuel is growing up in the temple and is being a faithful person.
In verse 25, Eli attempts to chastise his sons for their wicked ways: “‘If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the Lord, who will intercede for him?’ Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father; because the Lord desired to kill them.” They did not listen because their rebellion was part of God’s plan to kill them. Yay free will!
Chapter 3- God calls out to Samuel. Samuel thinks it’s Eli, and goes to him. Eli tells him to go back to bed. The third time this happens, Eli realizes it’s God calling the boy, and tells Samuel to answer God next time it happens. God tells Samuel that he plans to destroy the house of Eli. The next day, Eli asks to hear what vision God gave Samuel, so he hesitantly tells Eli about it. From that time on, God is with Samuel, and he becomes known in the land as a prophet.
“So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.” (19) I like that. Very poetic.
Aaand, that’s all I have to say about that. I’ve entered back in to relatively familiar biblical territory, so nothing terribly surprising happened today.