Elkanah had two wives; Hannah was one of them, and they resided on the Ephraimite hills. Because the Lord did not grant Hannah any children, Elkanah’s other wife, who had sons and girls, would irritate Hannah year after year.
Hannah’s husband was perplexed as to why she was depressed, sobbing nonstop, and refusing to eat. He thought she would value him more than ten sons.
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The Story Of Hannah In The Bible
Males frequently had multiple wives in the Old Testament. Hannah was one of two wives that a man by the name of Elkanah had. The Bible is ambiguous as to which of his wives he married first, however, Peninnah had a large family whereas Hannah bore him only a few children.
Hannah’s infertility didn’t concern Elkanah at all, despite the fact that having children was a significant aspect of those days. The Bible makes it quite obvious how much he loved her and the suffering the other wife caused her.
1 Samuel 1:3-8 “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. Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s 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 till she wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah 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?”.
Hannah’s Response To Her Situation
The Bible tells us that Hannah isn’t the only woman to experience infertility. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, came first, followed by Rebekah, Isaac’s wife, and Rachel, Jacob’s wife.
Hannah’s response, however, was very dissimilar from theirs. Hannah didn’t lash out at Peninnah or Elkanah despite her grief. She turned to the only person who could make her pain go away: the Lord, her God.
1 Samuel 1:10-11 “In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head”.
Hannah encounters additional hostility despite her sincere request. She is accused of being intoxicated by the temple’s priest, who asks her, How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
Again, Hannah responds to Eli honourably without becoming hostile. She receives an encouraging response.
1 Samuel 1:15-17 “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.” Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him”.
Hannah believed Eli’s words with faith.
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Hannah’s Prayer Is Answered
Just after she had returned from Shiloh, her prayer was answered;
“Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him” (1 Samuel 1:19-20)
The birth of Samuel is only a small portion of Hannah’s remarkable story. Hannah was determined to keep her promise. Hannah adored Samuel from the moment her son was born until the day he was weaned, preparing her heart for the moment.
1 Samuel 1:24-28 “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. When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, 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.