1 Samuel 1:1-3:21 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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God Calls Samuel
Comments for Study 1

1 Samuel 1:1-3:21
Memory Verse: 3:10

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I. Hannah and Samuel (1:1-2:11)

>1. Describe Elkanah's family.

* "There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah." (1 Samuel 2:1-2a)

* "Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb." (1 Samuel 2:3-5)

* "There was a certain man" -Samson's father is introduced the same way. (Judges 13:2) Samson's mother was sited as childless too.

* "Elkanah" -The fact that he is traced back four generations would indicate his standing in society and/or to indicate that his ancestors were originally from Bethlehem. (Gen. 35:16, 19; Ruth 4:11; Mi. 5:2; Judges 17:7-12, 19:1-21) Samuel, his son, offered sacrifices at Bethlehem. (Isa. 16:2, 5)

* "Ramathaim" -aka Ramathaim-Zophim. The birthplace of Samuel (1 Sam. 1:1). The first element in the name means, twin peaks.” The final element distinguishes this Ramath from others. Zophim is perhaps a corruption of Zuph, the home district of Samuel (1 Sam. 9:5). (Holman Bible Dictionary)

* "Zuphite" -Zuph was a Levite living in the territory of Ephraim, the land of Zuph (Zophim). (1 Sam. 9:5; and 1 Chron. 6:16, 26, 35)

* "Hannah" -Hannah means grace in Hebrew.

* "Peninnah" -Peninnah perhaps means "woman with rich hair,” coral,” pearl", or "fruitful" in Hebrew.

* A man having more than one wife was not in God's original plans. Yet, he tolerated it even though it caused problems for the family and the man who practiced polygamy. He followed the custom of the time.

* "Year after year" -Elkanah kept faith.

* "worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty" -God's work often starts with one person and/or one family. Elkanah's family was typical for the time except they offered sacrifices at Shiloh where there was "a house of the LORD."

* "Lord Almighty" -Lord is YHWH in Hebrew. Almighty is "saba" in Hebrew and translated as "of hosts" in the KJV. This is the first time the two words are brought together. Though "God Almighty" (Shadday el) is used in Genesis 17:1 (see also Ex. 6:3). Ruth 1:21 uses Almighty (shadday) and LORD (YHWH) are used separately though in the same sentence. The Lord's hosts comprise of angels (Jos. 5:4), stars (Isa. 40:26), and men (1 Sam. 17:45). The name expresses the infinite resources of power which are at the disposal of the Lord as he works on behalf of his people.

* "Shiloh" -Shiloh is a place name perhaps meaning, tranquil, secure.” About thirty miles north of Jerusalem sat the city which would be Israel's religious center for over a century after the conquest, being the home of Israel's tabernacle (Josh. 18:1). Judges 21:19 described Shiloh's location as on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.” Twelve miles south of Shechem, Shiloh was in a fertile plain at 2,000 feet elevation. This is apparently modern Seilun, where archaeologists have unearthed evidence of Canaanite settlement by 1,700 B.C. Perhaps when Israel chose a spot for the tabernacle, Shiloh was available for Joshua to use as the place to allot land to the tribes (Josh. 18). (Holman Bible Dictionary) See below for more information.

* "Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice" -Whether this was one of the feasts of the Lord as mentioned in Exodus 23:14-19, 34:23 and Deut. 16:16-17 is unclear. This could have been a family worship event. The NIV Study Bible believes this may have been the Feast of Tabernacles.

* "he would give portions of the meat" -Some of the meat was used in the sacrifice, some went to the priests, and some went back to the giver. All would have a portion. (Lev. 7:11-18; Deut. 12:7, 17-18)

* "because he loved her" -The case is often cited when a man has more than one wife, he will love one more than the other. Perhaps the first marriage was arranged by his parents, a custom of the time. He kept the marriage, but did not really love Peninnah. Even in modern day marriages where a man has one wife and chooses who to marry, many do not love their wives; thus divorce is ramped, even among those who claim to be Christian.

>What was Hannah's problem?

* "Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none." (1 Samuel 2:1:2b)

* "the Lord had closed her womb" -The same phrase is used for Sarah (Gen. 11:30), Rebekah (Gen. 25:21), and Rachel (Gen. 29:31). All three born the son that received the most blessing (Joseph received a double portion.) Being barren was a test from the Lord for these women.

* This was a family problem. Every family has problems because we live in a cursed world and all are sinners.

>What made it unbearable?

* "And because the LORD had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her ill she wept and would not eat." (1 Samuel 2:6-7)

* "her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her" -Peninnah was getting on the nerves of Hannah. The phrasing implies continual vexations and robbing one of peace of mind.

* "year after year" -The fact that Hannah remained faithful to the Lord though not receiving an answer to her prayer right away is commendable and desired by God.

* "her rival provoked her ill" -God's people are often provoked by the ungodly to the point of physical harm. We should not be surprised if we are hated and treated wrongly. Jesus taught, "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Mark 13:13)

* "she wept and would not eat" -Jesus says, "In the would you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33b)

>What does this family show us about those times? (Judges 21:25, and 1 Samuel 3:1b)

* "In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit." (Judges 21:25)

* "In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions." (1 Samuel 3:1b)

* God's people were not very merciful or kind. They were little different than the worldly people around them. Unkind hearts do not know God and will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal. 5:19-21)

* The people didn't want to be accountable to anyone, king or spiritual leader who are answerable to God.

* People did not seek the Lord. Because of their sins, the Lord very seldom revealed himself or his will to them.

* 1 Samuel 2:22 states the Eli's sons and the women who served at the tent of meeting were wicked.

>2. What times was the worst time for Hannah?

* "Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD" -When she went to offer at Shiloh.

>Why?

* "Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat." (1 Samuel 2:7)

* Hannah wanted to worship the Lord, but her rival did not make it easy to do so.

* Hannah apparently did not fight back. She did not repay evil for evil.

* Hannah saught the Lord even though it was very hard to do so. Everything seemed against her.

* Peninnah seemed to be the blessed one even though she was very mean. Hannah could have doubted God's love for her.

>How did her husband try to comfort her?

* "Elkanah her husband would say to her, 'Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don't you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?" (1 Samuel 2:8)

* "Why are you weeping" -Either he must not have known about Peninnah's provoking or didn't want to acknowledge it.

* "more than ten sons" -Elkanah knew the problem. He could not stop the fact that she was barren. He tried to comfort her. Sometimes a husband's words does not help.

* The Bible did not say that he tried to get Peninnah sto stop.

>Why could he not?

* "her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her"

* "irritate her" -Hannah's problem was a deep rooted problem. Peninnah only provoked the problem that was there.

* She must have felt like God's blessing wasn't on her.

* Human solutions cannot solve many problems. Some problems only God can solve through faith.

>3. On one such occasion, what did Hannah do?

* "Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the LORD's temple. In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD." (1 Samuel 2:9-10)

* "Eli" -Eli means "high".

* "the priest" -Only men from of Levite linage was allowed to serve as priests.

* "by the doorpost of the LORD's temple" -The temple at Shiloh. Tyndale Old testament Commentaries, Joyce G. Baldwin wrote, "The Temple of the Lord was built by Solomon in Jerusalem, as is well known, but the Old Testament provides no explanation of this temple at Shiloh, where the tent of meeting was set up after the conquest of Canaan (Jos. 18:1). Shiloh was the main sanctuary of the Israelites throughout the period of the judges (Jdg, 21:19), but when the wood-frame tent was replaced by a more permanent structure is not known. The word he~iil, 'temple', 'palace', presupposes a building. It is used of the holy place of Solomon's Temple, but not of the corresponding area of the tabernacle. Similarly, the words for 'door' and 'doorpost' (1 Samuel 1:9; 3:15) require a solid structure, and not merely a tent with movable curtain.
    "Shiloh was the central shrine, because it housed the ark of the covenant, but it may not have been the only temple of the Lord in Israel during the judges period. The tribe of Dan is recorded as installing a centre for worship (Judge 18:30-31) at the city they renamed Dan; it was to be revived as a cultic centre by Jeroboam I, who also refurbished Bethel for worship (1 Ki. 12:28-29). Built at about the same time as Solomon's was the temple at Arad, the only excavated Israelite temple. Yohanan Aharoni is adamant:
    "'There is no doubt that this is an Israelite temple in the full meaning of that word, a house of Yahweh in biblical terms, not just a shrine built in the Israelite period... In the various stages of excavation, there was not found even one object relating to idol worship... Furthermore, there were found in it some inscriptions with the names of known priestly families, such as Pashhur, Meremoth, and the sons of Korah. There is no doubt, therefore, that this is an Israelite temple.' *
    "Its plan was different from that of the Jerusalem Temple in some important respects: it had only one room instead of two, and it was a broad room in contrast to the elongated structure of the Jerusalem Temple. A niche was formed in the long western wall by a recess, a sort of 'holy of holies', while a courtyard outside the long eastern wall contained the altar of sacrifice, constructed of earth and stones not hewed (Ex. 20:24-25). Small rooms round the courtyard would provide accommodation for the duty priests. Similar temples of the Canaanite period, with one broad room and a central niche, have been found also at Hazor, Lachish and Megiddo; it could well be, therefore, that the Shiloh shrine was of the same style, in keeping with the practice of the country.
    "A building of this sort makes good sense of the references in 1 Samuel 1-3. Samuel slept within the temple, 'where the ark of God was', in its niche along the west wall, while Eli had his quarters somewhere in the rooms around the outer court. Plans of the Arad temple even show a bench seat each side of the door, such as Eli may have regularly used (1 Sa. 1:9).** All the sacrificial ritual and the preparation of the meat for the worshippers took place, of course, in the open courtyard.
    "Danish excavators in the 1920s and 1930s failed to find evidence of the Shiloh temple. Excavation of Shiloh was resumed in 1981 as part of a regional study of the territory of Ephraim by Israeli scholars. They opened nine areas of excavation, some of them close to those of the earlier Danish expeditions. Since then, some important conclusions have been reached about the history of Shiloh, though it remains true that no trace of the temple there has come to light, probably because the highest point of the tell, where it was most likely to have been built, has been weathered to bedrock. Nevertheless, from the earliest levels of building onwards, objects used in worship have been found:
    "'There are accumulating indications of cultic continuity at the site - from the Middle Bronze II period onward; that is, the sacral tradition at Shiloh long antedates the Israelites. A sanctuary probably stood here as early as the Middle Bronze Age [1650-1550 BC], and this may have been of central importance to the development of the site. Even after the destruction of the fortified Middle Bronze site... cultic activity continued in the late Bronze Age, despite the absence, as far as can be determined, of any real settlement... The history of Shiloh in the Middle and Late Bronze Ages helps us to understand why Shiloh was chosen as the first Israelite cultic centre.'***
    "Surveys have shown that the territory of Ephraim was inhabited by only a small sedentary population just before the arrival of Israel; and in view of the fact that Shiloh was an old traditional site for worship, it was an obvious choice for the site of the tabernacle.
    "Indications of the date when organization round the sanc­tuary at Shiloh began are gained from excavated buildings on the western side of the tell, which Israel Finkelstein takes to have been annexes to the cultic complex that stood farther up-hill. Storage vessels abound, indeed 'the Iron Age pottery of Shiloh is one of the richest accumulations of pottery finds at any early Israelite site'.**** These vessels may have been used to store offerings brought by worshippers to the sanctuary (1 Sa. 1:24). The building is dated c. 1200-1000 BC.
    "Within a radius of three to four miles of Shiloh, twenty-two settlements have been found belonging to this period, a higher density of population than anywhere else in Ephraim so far discovered.
    "Evidence of a dramatic destruction of the buildings at Shiloh abounds. The storage vessels mentioned above all bear marks of burning which are visible in Finkelstein's photograph. Charred raisins remained in one of the jars. The building which housed the pottery had collapsed in a fierce fire, dated about the middle of the eleventh century B.C., which would tie up with an attack by the Philistines, after their victory at Ebenezer. Though this event is not recorded in I Samuel, it was long remembered, and well served Jeremiah's purpose in warning about the imminent destruction of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 7:12; 26:6; cf. Psalm 78:60-64).

    "* Y. Aharoni, TIu: Archaeology of the Land of Israel (London: 8eM Press, 1982),/. 229.
    "** Ibi ., photograph 31, model of the reconstructed temple at Arad.1 I. Finkelstein,
    "***Shiloh Yields Some, But Not All, of Its Secrets', BAR 12/1 (1986), p. 39.
    "**** Ibid., p. 38, where a photograph shows eight different shapes of jar." This ends the Tyndale quote.

>How is her agony described?

* "bitterness of soul" (10)

* "Hannah wept much" (10)

* "and prayed to the Lord" -She had faith in God.

* She was so distraught that she did not seem to notice Eli there.

>What was her prayer and her vow?

* "And she made a vow, saying, 'O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon 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 2:11)

* "vow" -Regulations for women making vows can be found in Numbers 30.

* "if you will only look upon your servant's misery" -She wanted the Lord to notice her. She sought after the Lord. She wanted to experience God actively in her life.

* "remember me" -Meaning not only thinking of her past and present, but to go into action on her behalf and future.

* "give her a son" -Asking for specific things is not wrong. The Lord knows our heart's desire even before we ask.

* "all the days of his life" -In contrast to the normal period of service for Levites, which was from age twenty-five to fifty (many died before then). They could assist their brother Levites after fifty. (Num. 8:23-26)

* "no razor" -The Nazirite vow. (Num. 6:1-21) Samson also took this vow (Judges 13:5) and Jesus was called a Nazarene (Matt. 2:23). The Hebrew root "nazar" means "to separate" and "to Consecrate".

* The call for the Nazirite vow seems to imply that Hannah saw the ethical, moral, and spiritual deterioration around her and longed for a spiritual leader who would turn the hearts of the people to the Lord and his ways to the point of self sacrifice. If so, her prayer is to be deeply honored and followed.

>What can we learn from her? (1 Jn. 5:14, 15; Mk. 11:24)

* "This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.And if we know that he hears us whatever we ask we know that we have what we asked of him." (1 John 5:14)

* "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (Mark 11:24)

* When we have problems we should go to God for the solution.

* Experience God in personal things.

* Don't give up on God.

>4. How and why did Eli misunderstand her?

* "As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, 'How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine.'" (1 Samuel 2:12-14)

* "she kept praying" -Not habitual.

* "in her heart" -She did not speak out loud, though she moved her mouth. Praying out loud is good. Praying in the heart is good too. Romans 8:26-27 states, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."

* When life is going well prayer is often quick and shallow. When life comes at us hard prayer is often long and deep.

* Luke 6:21 states, "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh."

* Peninnah made Hannah experience God in a way that she would not have if Peninnah did not exist. We can thank God for the "Peninnahs" in our life.

* "Eli thought she was drunk" -Eli was not very spiritually keen. Most likely he had to deal with the problem all the time. (1 Sam. 2:22; Judges 17-21)

>What did she tell him she was doing?

* "'Not so, my lord,' Hannah replied, 'I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.'" (1 Samuel 2:15-16)

* "deeply troubled" -Hannah expressed her true feelings when asked. Often people put on a happy persona so that people don't feel sorry for them. We like to dwell in the illusion of normality and acceptance rather than admitting we are weak and in need. This is a trait of the proud sinful nature. Hannah would rather display the truth to Eli rather then be identified as a drunk woman. The humble seek the Lord in spirit and truth.

* "wine" -Ancient Palestine wine was made from fermented grapes usually containing 10 to 15 percent alcohol.

* "beer" -Ancient Palestine beer was made from malt, wheat, and/or barley and perhaps hops usually containing less than 0.5 percent alcohol.

* "pouring out my soul to the Lord" -What a great testimony of a woman who trusted and sought God! Hebrews 11:6 states, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

* "wicked women" -The actual meaning is "daughter of Belial". "Balial" is Hebrew and used in post-biblical literature as a surrogate for Satan. Here it means "base women" or "wicked woman."

>How did God use him to plant faith in her heart?

* "Eli answered, 'Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.'" (1 Samuel 2:17)

* "Go in peace" -Meaning he accepted her explanation and faith.

* "may the God of Israel grant you" -A standard blessing and a pious wise, not a prophetic prediction. He did not seek God on her behalf. He did not inquire about her problem. I doubt that he even got up from his bench.

* "God of Israel" -"Elohim Yisrael" in Hebrew. Elohim is used in the first chapter of Genesis onward. Elohim is a singular plural word. "El" is root for God and "im" makes it plural.

>What shows her faith?

* "She said, 'May you servant find favor in your eyes. 'Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast." (1 Samuel 2:18)

* "May your servant find favor in your eyes" -A standard greeting by those who walked with the Lord.

* "Then she went her way and ate something" -This implies that she left her food to go and pray. Now she believed that God heard her prayer and was going to bless her. She regained her appetite.

* "her face was no longer downcast" -She had been given the joy of the Lord. I suspect that her rival was not happy to see Hannah no longer downcast. When the Lord lifts me up I have seen those who persecute me glare with envy and hate.

>How did God answer her prayer?

* "Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son." (1 Samuel 2:19-20a)

* "Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD" -A trait that many of God's people found a blessing, starting the day worshiping God and studying his word. Of course this often means getting up earlier so one is long late for work, school, or an appointment. Going to bed earlier rather than watching television or some other waist of time is often helpful. Jesus often prayed early in the morning. (Matt. 21:18; Mark 1:35; Luke 21:38; John 21:4)

* "the Lord remembered her" -The Lord remembered Noah (Gen. 8:1) and his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ex. 2:24). The Lord does not forget; rather he is about to do something new and extraordinary in his constant unfolding purpose.

>5. What did she name her son and why?

* "She named him Samuel, saying, 'Because I asked the LORD for him.'" (1 Samuel 2:20b)

* "Samuel" -Samuel means the name of God is "El". This was a reference to the power of God who answered her prayer. Samuel sounds like the Hebrew for "heard of God".

* When God blessed Hannah she did not forget who made it possible and thanked and acknowledged him. Often when people are blessed we forget God.

>How did she keep her vow to God?

* "When the man Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the LORD and to fulfill his vow, Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, 'After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the LORD, and he will live there always.' 'Do what seems best to you,' Elkanah her husband told her. 'Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the Lord make good his word.' So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him. After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh." (1 Samuel 2:21-24)

* "When the man Elkanah went up" -He was making his annual pilgrimage to Shiloh.

* "to fulfill his vow" -A reference to the feasts that the Lord required men of Israel to worship at the temple, the place of God's choice. Deuteronomy 12:17-18 states, "You must not eat in your own towns the tithe of your grain and new wine and oil, or the firstborn of your herds and flocks, or whatever you have vowed to give, or your freewill offerings or special gifts. Instead, you are to eat them in the presence of the Lord your God at the place the Lord your God will choose--you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites from your towns--and you are to rejoice before the Lord your God in everything you put your hand to." And Deuteronomy 12:26-27 states, "But take your consecrated things and whatever you have vowed to give, and go to the place the Lord will choose. Present your burnt offerings on the altar of the Lord your God, both the meat and the blood. The blood of your sacrifices must be poured beside the altar of the Lord your God, but you may eat the meat." See also Nehemiah 10:38, "A priest descended from Aaron is to accompany the Levites when they receive the tithes, and the Levites are to bring a tenth of the tithes up to the house of our God, to the storerooms of the treasury."

* "Hannah did not go" -Hannah's vow was to give her son, more precious than grain and the animal meat. She would offer him when the time was right to do so.

* "After the boy is weaned" -In ancient Israel where there was no speciality food for infants, they were weaned up to three years old.

* "Do what seems best to you" -A loving husband does not control his wife and family. He leads by sacrificial example and loving words, just as Jesus does.

* "Only may the LORD make good his word" -Elkanah is either implying more children or the Nazirite vow leading to the boy being a great spiritual leader. Some manuscripts say, "your vow".

* "a three-year-old bull" -Some manuscripts say three bulls meaning one for the vow of the boy, one for the annual sacrifice, and one for the priests or a thanksgiving offering. The offering amount is not as important as the intent behind it and keeping the vow. Lev. 12:6 states that smaller and less expensive animals could have been given. Thus, their gratitude was great.

* "an ephah of flour" -Three times the amount required by Num. 15:9.

>Why did she keep this hard vow?

* Hannah knew it was the LORD who gave her the boy.

* Hannah believed in the kindness of the Lord.

* Hannah believed in the love of the Lord.

* Hannah had the fear of the Lord.

>What can we learn?

* I can learn to keep my commitments to the Lord.

* I should remember it is God who give my children.

* I should give my children to the Lord.

* I shold raise my children up in the knowledge and faith of the Lord.

* Bitterness of soul does not have to be bitterness toward God.

* Ecclesiastes 5:4-7 states, "When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the [temple] messenger, "My vow was a mistake." Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God."

>How was she different from Eli?

* "When they had slaughtered the bull, they brought the boy to Eli, and she said to him, "As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. 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." And he worshiped the Lord there." (1 Samuel 1:25-28)

* Eli's and his son didn't live before God and were selfish. (2:12, 29)

* Hannah lived before the God, keeping the vow, and selflessly gave her most precious son.

* A similar comparison can be made between the Pharisees and the teachers of the law and Jesus.

* "And he worshipped the Lord there" -Eli worshipped the Lord. He was a man who believed in the Lord and served him. He had faith in the Lord. Yet as the Lord testified, his service and obedience was weak. Many today who claim the name of Jesus are like Eli. "Revelation 3:15-17 states to us today, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked."

>6. How did Hannah feel after she dedicated her son to God?

* "Then Hannah prayed and said: 'My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high, My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.'" (1 Samuel 2:1)

* "prayer" -Hannah's prayer is a song (psalm). Psalms are prayers and visa-versa. (Psalm 72:20) Hannah's prayer (psalm) has sometimes been designated "Magnificat of the Old Testament" because it is very similar to Mary's prayer (psalm), "Magnificat of the New Testament". (Luke 1:46-55) Zechariah's "benedictus" is also similar. (Luke 1:67-79) David's song in 2 Samuel 22 is similar too.

* "My heart rejoices in the LORD" -After giving something of great value and love the natural person would feel loss. Not those who worship God. 2 Corinthians 9:7 states, "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." Why? Because we practically experience the Lord.

* "the LORD my horn" -Animal horns, such as the ram's horn common in Palestine, is a sign of strength. Hannah personally experienced the strength of the Lord.

* Deuteronomy 33:17 states, "In majesty he is like a firstborn bull; his horns are the horns of a wild ox. With them he will gore the nations, even those at the ends of the earth. Such are the ten thousands of Ephraim; such are the thousands of Manasseh."

* "boasts over my enemies" -At first glance one could say boasting is wrong. However, Hannah is not boasting about herself. Rather, she is boasting about the LORD, her horn, her strength. Her enemies called her not blessed and not living as God intends. (Having children was considered being blessed by God.) How she can say that the Lord loves righteousness. I can identify with Hannah, not so much in being able to boast over my enemies now, but in the future, at the resurrection of the dead and the handing out of rewards at the Bema Seat of Christ. Then when I stand in his presence my joy will be complete. This may be reference to "gaping one's mouth" for in the middle east and else where today gaping one's mouth is used to show derision and contempt.

* "your deliverance" -She experienced deliverance, and perhaps she saw the Lord delivering Israel to a new era through her son and delivering a prophecy of the Messiah.

>What did she learn about God's holiness? (2 Pet. 1:4)

* "There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God." (1 Samuel 2:2)

* 2 Peter 1:4 "Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires."

* "there is no" -Expressed three times in three lines is called a tricolon.

* "Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." (2 Peter 1:4)

* "holy" -God is pure. The angels cry out, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty." (Rev. 4:8) The Lord's holiness transcends man's and evil spirit's sin and darkness.

* "there is no Rock like our God" -Perhaps Hannah, in the three years of raising her son she read and personalized Genesis 49:24-25 which states, "But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, because of your father's God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breast and womb." I can imagine Hannah reciting this verse from memory as she nursed Samuel. 1 Corinthians 10:4 says that Jesus is the Rock of Israel and 1 Peter 2:5 says he is the Living Stone on which God builds his kingdom and house. A rock from ancient times was a place of refuge, ancient cities were often built on rock outcroppings.

>About his sovereignty? (3-5)

* "Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed. The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away." (1 Samuel 2:3-5)

* "do not keep talking so proudly" -Peninnah is the first in the books of 1 & 2 Samuel. She is followed by Eli's sons,the Philistines, Saul, Nabal, Goliath, Absalom, Shimel, and Shebal.

* "for the LORD is a God who knows" -David wrote in 1 Chronicles 28:9, "And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever."

* "by him deeds are weighed" -David will say to Saul, "The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and faithfulness." (1 Samuel 26:23a)

* "bows of the warriors are broken" -Some may ask where she got this and why did she say it. Hannah prophesied because the Lord loved her and spoke through her. Jeremiah 51:56 proclaims a future day. "A destroyer will come against Babylon; her warriors will be captured, and their bows will be broken. For the Lord is a God of retribution; he will repay in full." This is the very theme of Hannah's prophecy.

* "those who stumble" -Hannah was lowly, downcast in her soul. She had grown weary because of the taunts of her enemy. It looked as though her enemy would win.

* "are armed with strength" -The Lord strengthened her so that she could continue the good fight.

* "those who were hungry hunger no more" -Hannah must have sought the meaning behind the Lord's working in her life, as all the faithful do, and came across Deuteronomy 8:2-3 which states, "Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord."

* "seven children" -Seven is the number of completeness. Perhaps she knew by faith that the Lord would give her more children.

* The life stories in 1 and 2 Samuel that follow will fulfill her words here.

>What else can we learn about God's character from her song? (6-11)

* "The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. "For the foundations of the earth are the Lord's; upon them he has set the world. He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. "It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the Lord will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the Lord will judge the ends of the earth. "He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed." Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the Lord under Eli the priest." (1 Samuel 2:6-11)

* "The Lord brings death and makes alive" -Belief in the resurrection of the dead is core to God's people.

* "down to the grave and raises up" -The Hebrew and Greek words for resurrection in the Bible can only be translated as a literal physical resurrection. When Jesus comes again there will be the resurrection of the saints. 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 states, "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive."

* "grave" -Grave is "Sheol" in Hebrew. Sheol is the abode of the dead. (Deut. 32:22; Psalms 88:3-6) Its depicted as a huge cave or dwelling where all those who have died are waiting. When Jesus died from crucifixion he went to Sheol and led all the faithful out, leaving all the unfaithful to wait for judgement day. Jesus brought the faithful to heaven, where they await the wedding feast of the Lamb and the coming kingdom of God on earth. For more on this read my manuscript The Believer's Future - Hope That Inspires.

* "The Lord sends poverty and wealth" -A person's position and status in life is not fixed to their standing with God. A persons position and status in life is not permanent.

* "the ash heap" -Ancient junk piles were ash heaps because they were either caught on fire or deliberately set on fire. When Job was afflicted he sat on a ash heap. He was once rich (Job 1:3), then poor on a ash heap (Job 2:8), and then rich again (Job 42:12).

* "he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor" -A foreshadow of not only her son, Samuel, but also David and the Messiah. Jesus is called, "LORD of lords, and King of kings."

* "the foundations of the earth are the Lord's" -David's psalm at the end of 2 Samuel states of the Lord's vengeance for his people, "The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because he was angry." (2 Samuel 22:8) And, "The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the Lord, at the blast of breath from his nostrils." (2 Samuel 22:16)

* "foundations" -The Hebrew word here only occurs in this book and so the exact meaning is not clear. The root of the word means molten pillars implying the solid crust that man lives on is supported by molten pillars. Other Biblical verses support this statement. (Gen. 1:10; Job 9:6, 38:4-6; Ps. 75:3, 104:5; Zech. 12:1) Scientists have now confirmed that the earth's core is composed of very hot molten pillars compared to the surrounding core elements. The molten pillars support and move the earth's crust.

* "It is not by strength that one prevails" -Then how does one prevail? When a great army arrived at Jerusalem the Lord said to to Zerubbabel, the king of Judah, "'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty." (Zechariah 4:6)

* "saints" -Saints are people who are faithful to the Lord. The Hebrew word is also translated "faithful ones" and "godly".

* "He will give strength to his king" -Hannah was used not only to announce Israel's coming change of government but also the Messiah, Jesus, the King of the Jews.

* "king" -Israel having a king before there was a king was not only expressed by Hannah, but can also be found in the Lord's promise to Abraham (Genesis 17:6), Jacob's prophecies for Judah (Gen. 49:10), Balaam's oracles (Num. 24:7, 17), in the laws given to Moses (Deut. 17:14-20), and the cries Hannah's more recent ancestors (Judges chapters 8 to 9).

* "and exalt the horn of his anointed" -Kings and priest were anointed with oil as a symbol of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Hannah's song is the first to associate anointing to the king. The Hebrew word is translated "Anointed" and "Messiah". The Greek translation is "Christos" from which we get the English word Christ. The Messiah is called the Anointed One of God. (Luke 4:18)

* "will judge the ends of the earth" -Clearly Hannah was used to proclaim the future of the Messiah, the judge of all men. (Rev. 20:11-15)

* God revealed himself through Hannah's faith. Hannah went to the Lord with the problems of her enemies and he honored her in ways she could not have imagined.

* "the boy ministered before the Lord" -Samuel was of the priestly line, so his service as priest is acceptable.

II. Eli and Samuel (2:12-3:1a)

>7. Describe Eli and his sons.

* "Eli's sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the LORD." (1 Samuel 2:12)

* "wicked men" -The practices and life style was not how God intended it.

* "no regard for the LORD" -Literally, they did not know the LORD. In the Bible to know the LORD is to not only have an intellectual or theoretical knowledge of the LORD, but to have a personal relationship with him. One who has a personal relationship with the LORD is one who accepts God's claims on his life. The term often has a conventional connotation. (Jer. 31:34; Hos. 13:4)

* Eli was the high priest. The high priest and the judge were the two highest places in Israel at the time.

* Throughout history, both spiritual and secular, there have been many men and/or their family members who were in high positions and did not know the Lord right through to the present age of the church. The church is not a democracy, it is a theocracy as a study of the book of Acts shows. Jesus chooses and directs.

* Eli's sons were not guaranteed by Moses law to be his replacement. All priests were eligible to become high priest. But as is the common practice to this very day, the father appoints the son as his replacement for the position even though God does not approve. (2:29)

* In order to protect God's people they must be cast out when Jesus comes again.

* Matthew 18:15-20 explains how we should deal with such leaders.

>How did the sons misuse their office? (2:13-17)

* "Now it was the practice of the priests with the people that whenever anyone offered a sacrifice and while the meat was being boiled, the servant of the priest would come with a three pronged fork in his hand. He would plunge it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot, and the priest would take for himself whatever the fork brought up. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh. But even before the fat was burned, the servant of the priest would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, 'Give the priest some meat to roast; he won't accept boiled meat from you, but only raw. If the man said to him, 'Let the fat be burned up first, and then take whatever you want,' the servant would then answer, 'No, hand it over now; if you don't, I'll take it by force. 'This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord's sight, for they were treating the Lord's offering with contempt." (1 Samuel 2:13-17)

* "the practice of the priests" -Eli's sons apparently were not the ones who engaged in this unlawful practice.

* "servant... three pronged fork... plunge it" -The priest seems to justify himself because he did not do it and the choice of meat was random. He must have concluded that God was directing which portion he was to get since he himself had nothing to do with the plunging, except for the fact that he ordered it. Human nature rationalizes sin. We should example our hearts for every action. We cannot fool God though we may fool ourselves and others.

* "the fat was burned" -The fat was the portion for the Lord. (Lev. 3:16, 4:10, 26, 31, 35, 35, 7:28-31, 17:6; Num. 18:17) Only a certain parts were for the priests and it must be boiled. (Lev. 7:28-36, 10:14-15; Num. 6:19-20; Deut. 18:1-5) The Passover lamb was the only meat to be roasted. (Ex. 12:8-9; Deut. 16:7)

* "by force" -Protests were useless, and non-compliance was met by force even though the priest portion was never to be taken by force. (Lev. 7:28-36; Deut. 18:3) To this day wicked leaders apply force and social pressure to do their will. Samuel and David are in sharp contrast to Eli and his sons (as well as the other young men.)

* "young men" -Eli must not have practiced this. Yet he allowed it which made him just as guilty. Worse yet he appointed his sons as leaders at Shiloh even though he knew they did this.

* "treated the LORD's offering with contempt" -The heart of their misconduct and sin was hatred towards God. All sin is rejection and contempt towards God. We should never take worship of God and obedience to his will and word lightly, even though we know he is a loving God for his is also a holy God and will not tolerate such sins forever.

* Refusal to heed to God's warnings leads to death. (Rom. 1:18)

>In what way was Eli responsible? (2:29)

* "Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?'" (29)

* Eli should have stopped it.

* Matthew 10:37 "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

>What kind of man was Eli? (2:22-25)

* "Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. So he said to them, "Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear spreading among the Lord's people. If a man sins against another man, God may mediate for him; but if a man sins against the Lord, who will intercede for him?" His sons, however, did not listen to their father's rebuke, for it was the Lord's will to put them to death." (1 Samuel 2:22-25)

* "Now Eli, who was very old"

* He was lazy, somewhat humanistic, and selfish.

* Eli was family centered not God centered. God is to be in every aspect of our lives in first place and at the center.

* Eli knew of the ways of God and what would happen, not not enough to go through with the commitment to do right.

* All of God's people should pray for responsible and God fearing leaders.

>8. How did God plan to punish Eli and his household? (2:27-36)

* 1 Samuel 2:27-36 "Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, "This is what the Lord says: 'Did I not clearly reveal myself to your father's house when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh? I chose your father out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in my presence. I also gave your father's house all the offerings made with fire by the Israelites. Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?' "Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: 'I promised that your house and your father's house would minister before me forever.' But now the Lord declares: 'Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your father's house, so that there will not be an old man in your family line and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, in your family line there will never be an old man. Every one of you that I do not cut off from my altar will be spared only to blind your eyes with tears and to grieve your heart, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life. "'And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you--they will both die on the same day. I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his house, and he will minister before my anointed one always. Then everyone left in your family line will come and bow down before him for a piece of silver and a crust of bread and plead, 'Appoint me to some priestly office so I can have food to eat.'"

* Three fold judgment:
    1) He was going to put his sons to death.
    2) There would be no old men in his line.
    3) There would be a new leader to replace Eli.

* According to verse 25 is was already to late.

* Because Eli didn't stop it, God himself would stop it. God shows no favoritism is someone sins, especially with his people.

* When sins are tolerated by a spiritual leader for a long time many others suffer and receive punishment.

* God is the sovereign Lord and God of history. He is good news for those who are oppressed by wicked and weak spiritual leadership. We can put our faith in him. We can wait for his hand. "'Vengeance is mine,' says the Lord." (Deut. 32:35, 43; Mic. 5:15; Nahum 1:2)

* "man of God" -This unnamed man of God could have been one of the several judges mentioned in the book of Judges living at the time. See chart for list of the judges and the time they served.

* "my anointed one" -This is the same word used by Hannah in her psalm and prayer. This is the second time Messiah is used, though not as a specific title.

Linen

>What message continue to help him? (2:18, 21b, 26; 3:1a)

* "But Samuel was ministering before the LORD-- a boy wearing a linen ephod... Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD." (2:18, 21b)

* "And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the LORD and with men." (26)

* "The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli." (3:1a)

* "linen ephod" -Young Samuel's ephod is not the ephod used in divination. Young Samuel's linen ephod was a scanty garment worn by inferior priests. (2 Sam. 6:14) Priest wore ephods. (1 Sam. 22:18) Linen is a textile made from the fibres of the flax plant. Linen is labor-intensive to manufacture, but when it is made into garments, it is valued for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather. See picture to the right of a linen cloth found in Qumran Cave 1 near the Dead Sea.

* "grew up" -The same verb is used of Moses. (Ex. 2:10)

* "in the presence of the Lord" -Meaning not only that he sleep in the temple, but that he lived with the belief and fear that the Lord was with him every moment.

* Even though Samuel was under the care of Eli, God himself was raising Samuel. God is always raising up his people and leaders who fear, love and serve him.

>9. In the meantime, how did Samuel grow and how did his mother continue to help him? (2:19-21a)

* "Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, 'May the LORD give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the LORD. 'Then they would go home. And the LORD was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters." (1 Samuel 2:19-21a)

* "little robe" -The Hebrew word denotes a kind of long loose robe worn by kings (1 Chron. 15:27), prophets (1 Sam. 15:27), men of position (Job 2:12), and women of rank (2 Sam. 13:18). It had a hole for the head, and slits in the sides for the arms to come through, but no sleeves. It was worn as an outer garment over the tunic. (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary)

* Hannah practically loved her son.

* "Eli would bless" -Eli went beyond his normal service for the family that God had worked in.

* "the one she prayed for" -Eli remembered her prayer. Her psalm must have been quit memorable too.

* "three sons and two daughters" -Now that she had expressed her faith the Lord poured out his blessing to her. God does sometimes bless those who live by faith in this world. The Lord is no man's debtor. (Matt. 5:3-12)

* "in favor with God and men" -Used to describe the young man Jesus. (Luke 2:52)

>What can we learn from her?

* She supported her son's spiritual growth as well as taking care of his needs. She had a following up spirit.

* Hannah had a personal relationship with God which reflected in her daily life.

* Hannah became a great influence to her entire nation and in God's history is one of the influential women of faith.

III. Samuel's First Mission (3:2-3:21)

>10. How did the Lord call Samuel? (3:2-4)

* "One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out; and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, 'Here I am.'" (3:2-4)

* "boy Samuel" -In verse one Samuel is described as no longer being a little child. Thus he must have reached the age of responsibility, twelve years old and may have been older.

* 1 Samuel 3:1b states, "In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions." 2 Chronicles 15:1-6 might be referring to this period for it says, "The Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded. He went out to meet Asa and said to him, "Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. But in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them. In those days it was not safe to travel about, for all the inhabitants of the lands were in great turmoil. One nation was being crushed by another and one city by another, because God was troubling them with every kind of distress."

* "the word of the Lord was rare" -During the entire time of judges the book only records a prophet in 2:27-36, 4:4, 6:8, and the man of God sent to Eli. Five revelations are given: 1 Samuel 2:1-3; 6:11-23; 7:2-11; 10:11-14; 13:3-21. Deborah's song in chapter five could also be called a prophecy.

* "the lamp of God had not yet gone out" -The lamp stand stood outside the temple. (Ex. 25:31-40, 35:14, 37:17-24, 40:1-4) Leviticus 24:1-4 states, "The Lord said to Moses, 'Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning continually. Outside the curtain of the Testimony in the Tent of Meeting, Aaron is to tend the lamps before the Lord from evening till morning, continually. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. The lamps on the pure gold lamp stand before the Lord must be tended continually.'" Exodus 27:20-21 states the lamp was only to burn at night, "Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning. In the Tent of Meeting, outside the curtain that is in front of the Testimony, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the Lord from evening till morning. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come." It is possible that the lamp's care had been assigned to Samuel.

>Why didn't he recognize God's call at first? (3:5-10)

* 1 Samuel 3:5-10 "And he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." But Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down." So he went and lay down. gain the Lord called, "Samuel!" And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." "My son," Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down." ow Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. he Lord called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. o Eli told Samuel, "Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, 'Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."

* "he ran to Eli... I did not call you" -The Lord Jesus has called many people to this very day. Many have received the call and wondered if it was of they Lord. Like Samuel and at first Eli when a person had not heard to call of the Lord before they don't know if it is from the Lord or something or someone else. On the other hand many have said they had the call of God and had not or even worse been fooled by Satan who appeared as an angel of light.

* "did not yet know the Lord" -Samuel had not yet had a direct experience of him. The Lord had not yet given him a personal revelation.

* "the Lord came and stood there" -This is a pre-incarnate bodily visit of the Lord such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses had experienced.

>What hard test did the Lord give Samuel? (3:11-14)

* 1 Samuel 3:11-14 "And the Lord said to Samuel: "See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family--from beginning to end. For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them. Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, 'The guilt of Eli's house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.'"

* The message that Samuel was to deliver was one that Eli had already been given by another man of God. Clearly this was a test for Samuel more than a message from the Lord to Eli. Also, Eli would know for sure that Samuel had received a message from the Lord, and perhaps had realized that Samuel would be the one who would replace him.

* "I am about to do something in Israel" -A reference to the capture of the ark, the defeat of Israel, and Eli and his son's death. The Bible does not explicitly refer to the destruction of the temple at Shiloh, but it can be understood as happening because when the ark came back it was not sent to Shiloh, but to another place and was placed back in the tabernacle rather than a solid temple. As mentioned above, modern excavations confirmed the area of Shiloh was burned down at this time.

* "make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle" -A term also used to describe the temple in Jerusalem at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. (2 Kings 21:12; Jer. 19:3)

* God wanted to see if Samuel would deliver the hard message to Eli, his mentor and spiritual leader. Delivering God's judgement to Eli and his family could have been dangerous to the boy.

* God wanted to see if Samuel loved him more than men and the influence they had.

* God wanted to see if Samuel would deliver the message as it was given, a message of judgement.

* God was setting the pattern for Samuel's ministry. Samuel would have to deliver similar messages, even to King Saul.

>What was Samuel's attitude toward God's word?

* 1 Samuel 3:15-18 "Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, 16 but Eli called him and said, "Samuel, my son." Samuel answered, "Here I am." 17 "What was it he said to you?" Eli asked. "Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you." 18 So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, "He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes."

* "opened the doors of the house of the Lord" -This implies that a permanent structure was used in place of the tabernacle or the structure was built around the tabernacle. The first is more likely. See notes above.

* "he was afraid" -The message would make any young man afraid for the message was against his mentor and a man of great authority and power. Samuel must have witnessed the aggressive and wicked practices of Eli's sons. The message would have the potential of bringing their wrath on the young man.

* "So Samuel told him everything" -Samuel did not compromise after his elder told him to tell him. The Lord never told Samuel to tell Eli. However, when asked about it, Samuel did not hold back.

>What had he learned?

* Samuel trusted God and feared God.

>How did God use him to serve his times?

* 1 Samuel 3:19-21 "The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word."

* "none of his words fall to the ground" -Samuel was faithful and absolute. He did not compromise the word of God. He did not water it down.

* "The Lord was with Samuel" -The Lord blessed his service and life.

* "Dan to Beersheba" -The full extent of Israel, from north to south.

* "recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord" -This means that the word of the Lord that Samuel spoke was indeed from the Lord because it always happened. It does not mean that everyone from Israel came to him to receive the word of the Lord as the next event will show.

* "continued to appear" -The Lord came physically to Samuel.

* "through his word" -Samuel studied the word of the Lord, and the Lord revealed the meaning to the passage. In the same way the Lord has given us his Holy Spirit.

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