The Throne: Plain Text
This is the plain text version of “The Throne” devotional book for those who are having trouble viewing the pdf. version on their smart phones and tablets.
The Throne Devotional Book
1There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. 2 He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. 3 Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord. 4 On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb.
6 And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. 8 And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”
Elkanah was a man of some wealth and standing in the community. The text reveals this because it includes genealogy and you would have to have wealth to afford two wives. Elkanah’s name means “God created” and his wife’s name, Hannah, means, “favor with God”. Though Elkanah and Hannah’s names suggest favor and procreation that has not been the case so far in their marriage. Peninnah on the other hand, Hannah’s rival, has c!hildren.
This family would make a yearly trip to Shiloh in order to worship and make sacrifices to the Lord. The yearly pilgrimage was a source of great unhappiness and competition between the two wives. The deepest pain for each woman would manifest at this most holy time. Verse 5 explains the root of the unhappiness and competition, “But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb.” The day of sacrifice would mean that Peninnah would receive a portion for herself and for each of her children. These many portions testified to her fertility and standing before Elkanah and the community as a mother. Being a mother was the most important service a wife provided in ancient times. However, Hannah, who is barren, received a double portion. Her double portion testified to the favor and the affection that she received from her husband. Barrenness in ancient times was a reproach to a woman. What man saw as a reproach was the starting point of God working a miracle in biblical history. “Barren women seem to be God’s instruments in raising up key figures in the history of redemption, whether the promised seed (Isaac), the father of Israel (Jacob), saviors or preservers of Israel (Joseph, S!amson, Samuel, or the forerunner of the great King (John the Baptist).” (Dale Ralph Davis, 1 Samuel)!
“Hannah, therefore, shares in a fellowship of barrenness. And it is frequently in this fellowship that new chapters in Yahweh’s history with his people begin- begin with nothing. God’s tendency is to make our total inability his starting point. Our hopelessness and our helplessness are no barrier to his work. Indeed our utter incapacity is often the prop he delights to use for his next act. This matter goes beyond the particular situations of biblical barren women. We are facing one of the principles of Yahweh’s modus operandi. When his people are without strength, without r!esources, without hope, without human gimmicks-then he loves to stretch forth his hand from heaven. Once we see where God often begins we will understand how we may be encouraged.”(Dale Ralph Davis, 1 Samuel)!
Barrenness was the source of great grief for Hannah. It was because of her barrenness that, “her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her.” Hannah’s pain was deep and constant. Yearly, her grief would reach its pinnacle during the holy days, when the family would visit Shiloh. Peninnah would provoke and torment Hannah when they went to the house of the Lord. Hannah got to the point that she could stand it no longer. She wept and refused to eat. Elkanah comes to comfort her and asking her questions. “Why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad?” Elkanah has the misinformed idea that his presence is worth more than ten sons. Hannah, though deeply loved by her husband, could not find the healing that she longed for in her husband’s presence. We will see in tomorrow’s passage, Hannah turns to the presence of God to find the healing that she desires.
9. After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” 12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. 14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.! 19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord.” 21 The man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the Lord and dwell there forever.” 23 Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him; only, may the Lord establish his word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. And the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli.
Weeping and unable to eat, Hannah makes her way to the temple to pray. Hannah’s need for healing makes her seek out the manifest presence of the LORD. As she enters the temple and prays, she encounters the presence of the Lord, also the priest Eli is watching her. Hannah prays with complete abandon. She prays weeping bitterly and releasing her deep distress to the Lord. Her prayer is so intense and with so much emotion that Eli mistakes her troubled spirit for drunkenness. Hannah sees no one and her total focus is on the LORD and the petition that she is bringing before Him. “There was nowhere else to turn. She had to flee Penninah’s cruel mockery; she found no solace in Elkanah’s well-meant but inadequate sympathy (v. 8); not even the clergy understood her. Old Eli, who had learned to indulge his wicked sons (2:22-25, 29-30), could yet get riled over an inebriated woman (v. 12b-14). Hannah would only turn to “Yahweh of hosts” v. 11, the God whose universal rule, ‘encompasses every force or army, heavenly, cosmic and earthly.” (Dale Ralph Davis, 1 Samuel)!
Hannah’s prayer to the Lord of Hosts was both a petition and an oath. She asks God to see her pain and affliction and to remember her. She then vows that if the Lord hears her prayer she will dedicate her son a Nazarite. The razor refers to the Nazarite vow which is laid out in Numbers 6. A Nazarite can be a man or a woman. The vow involves not cutting your hair, drinking nothing from the grape, and not touching a dead body. The Nazarite vow requires a person to give them self wholly to the Lord for a certain period of time. Hannah’s vow is so powerful b!ecause she is promising to give her son not for a small period of time but for the entirety of his life.!
“The encounter between Eli and Hannah contains an ironic twist. Eli represents the corrupt and apostate leadership of the priesthood and Hannah the simple faith that issues from suffering and pain.Yet Eli mistakes her earnestness for drunkenness. The spiritual leader of the nation is unable to discern the spiritual significance of this woman’s struggle. In the end, he recognizes in her the faith what he was supposed to represent.”(v. 17) (Bill T. Arnold, 1 & 2 Samuel.) Eli, when he realizes he is mistaken about Hannah, sends her home with his prophetic blessing as high priest. “Go in peace, and the God of Israel will grant your petition that you have made to him.” Hannah, believing the priest, leaves happy and able to eat.!
The text then concludes this section about Shiloh and speaks of Elkanah knowing his wife. Elkanah knows Hannah, and God remembers her. In the Old Testament context God remembering refers to God remembering his promises for them and taking action on those promises. God’s remembering resulted in a son that Hannah named Samuel, Samuel ( s’mu’el) in Hebrew sounds like the word “I asked for him” (s’iltiw) in Hebrew. Hannah honors God and plays on the similarity of the sound of the two words. !
Hannah does not return the next year to Shiloh. She prefers to wait until her young son is weaned. The seriousness of the vow is recognized by Elkanah who declares, “May the Lord establish his word,” and by Hannah’s declaration, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the Lord and dwell there forever.”
24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. !
And the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. 27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. 28 Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there. 1 And Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the Lord;
my horn is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.!
1 Samuel 2:1-11
2 “There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. 3 Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is
a God of knowledge,and by him actions are weighed. 4 The bows of the mighty are broken,but the feeble bind on strength. 5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. 6 The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. 7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich;he brings low and he exalts. 8 He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,and on them he has set the world. 9 “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, or not by might shall a man prevail. 10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;he will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.” 11 Then Elkanah went home to Ramah. And the boy was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli the priest.
Hannah fulfills her vow. After the boy is weaned Hannah and Elkanah bring Samuel to Shiloh along with their offering of a bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine. The offering is an expression of gratitude to Yahweh who has remembered his promise to Hannah. “Hannah’s husband Elkanah, was presumably a well to do person who was capable of a substantial offering on the special occasion of the life-long dedication of the first son of his b!eloved first wife.” (David Toshio Tsumura, The First Book of Samuel)!
In verses 27-28 Hannah uses the word four times “to ask” in Hebrew. Though it is difficult to translate into English, we get a glimpse of what Hannah says to Eli. It could be translated, “I asked of God for a boy and I am giving back to God all the days that he lives the boy that I asked for.” Remember, Samuel ’s name sounds like the word in Hebrew for, “I asked of Him”. As Hannah is speaking to Eli, it is as if Samuel’s name and the impact of his name is being spoken over and over again. Surely this child, born in a miraculous way, with a prophetic blessing of the high priest will change the course of history. “The birth of Samuel is cast against this shocking backdrop. Israel is barren like Hannah; each has a desperate need that only God can satisfy. The chapter opens with the account of God’s intervening on behalf of both Hannah and Israel. He delivers Hannah from her barrenness and intervenes in the history of Israel. The deliverance is the same for Hannah and Israel, that is, the birth of a weak and innocent child. The birth of Samuel signals the end of Hannah’s painful sterility and Israel’s anchorless apostasy.”!
!(Bill T. Arnold, 1 & 2 Samuel)!
As Hannah presents Samuel to Eli, she says, “I have lent him (Samuel) to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord”. She then breaks out in a song of praise. She begins by saying “My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.” The multiple use of the word “my” here shows how personal Hannah’s experience is with God. God has personally worked salvation in her life. Her song seems to mirror Mary’s song in the book of Luke. She exults in God who has lifted up her horn. Her horn is lifted up over the rival wife, Peninnah. And like Mary’s son was lifted up so is Hannah’s son lifted and known o!ver the course of history.!
Hannah speaks of God as her rock. He is the One who is holy and His holiness silences all arrogance. She contrasts in her prayer the feeble and the mighty, those who are full with those who are hungry. Her God works out salvation and great reversals for those who call upon Him. Those reversals are so powerful that barren women will have seven sons and those with many sons will be left forlorn. The Lord takes the poor and makes them rich; he brings those who are low and he exalts them. Reversals are powerful things in the hand of God. The poor and needy are lifted up so that they are seated with princes. Today as you read through Hannah’s song of praise it is a good time to bring the areas of your life that need a reversal before God. The manifest presence of God brings miraculous reversals for the people of God.!