Day 96 – Hannah’s Prayer

Thoughts and Reflection

Today we start the book of Samuel. Hannah and her husband worship the Lord in Shiloh and Hannah desires to have a child. Eli sees Hannah as she is praying at the Tabernacle and he encourages her. The Lord gives her a son, Samuel. Before he is even conceived, she promises that she will dedicate his life to the Lord.

We all have longings in our hearts that we desire. It is easy to fall victim to cling onto them rather then following the Lord. We need to see them as gifts that we must give back to him.

Eli is introduced and his actions are not always perfect. For example, his sons, Hophni and Phinehas, take sacrifices from the lord and have sexual relations with women who serve the lord before the Tabernacle. Eli does not discipline his son for these transgressions.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

1 Samuel 1

1 There was a man of Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the highlands of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.

2 He had two wives, one called Hannah, the other Peninnah; Peninnah had children but Hannah had none.

3 Every year this man used to go up from his town to worship, and to sacrifice to Yahweh Sabaoth at Shiloh. (The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there as priests of Yahweh.)

4 One day Elkanah offered a sacrifice. Now he used to give portions to Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters;

5 to Hannah, however, he would give only one portion: for, although he loved Hannah more, Yahweh had made her barren.

6 Furthermore, her rival would taunt and provoke her, because Yahweh had made her womb barren.

7 And this went on year after year; every time they went up to the temple of Yahweh she used to taunt her. On that day she wept and would not eat anything;

8 so her husband Elkanah said, ‘Hannah, why are you crying? Why are you not eating anything? Why are you so sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?’

9 When they had finished eating in the room, Hannah got up and stood before Yahweh. Eli the priest was sitting on his seat by the doorpost of the temple of Yahweh.

10 In the bitterness of her soul she prayed to Yahweh with many tears,

11 and she made this vow, ‘Yahweh Sabaoth! Should you condescend to notice the humiliation of your servant and keep her in mindinstead of disregarding your servant, and give her a boy, I will give him to Yahweh for the whole of his life and no razor shall ever touch his head.’

12 While she went on praying to Yahweh, Eli was watching her mouth,

13 for Hannah was speaking under her breath; her lips were moving but her voice could not be heard, and Eli thought that she was drunk.

14 Eli said, ‘How much longer are you going to stay drunk? Get rid of your wine.’

15 ‘No, my lord,’ Hannah replied, ‘I am a woman in great trouble; I have not been drinking wine or strong drink — I am pouring out my soul before Yahweh.

16 Do not take your servant for a worthless woman; all this time I have been speaking from the depth of my grief and my resentment.’

17 Eli then replied, ‘Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant what you have asked of him.’

18 To which she said, ‘May your servant find favour in your sight.’ With that, the woman went away; she began eating and was dejected no longer.

19 They got up early in the morning and, after worshipping Yahweh, set out and went home to Ramah. Elkanah lay with his wife Hannah, and Yahweh remembered her.

20 Hannah conceived and, in due course, gave birth to a son, whom she named Samuel, ‘since’, she said, ‘I asked Yahweh for him.’

21 Elkanah, the husband, went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to Yahweh and to fulfil his vow.

22 However, Hannah did not go up, having said to her husband, ‘Not before the child has been weaned. Then I shall bring him and present him before Yahweh and he will stay there for ever.’

23 Elkanah her husband then said to her, ‘Do what you think fit; wait until you have weaned him. May Yahweh bring about what he has said.’ So the woman stayed behind and nursed her child until she weaned him.

24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, as well as a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and took him into the temple of Yahweh at Shiloh; the child was very young.

25 They sacrificed the bull and led the child to Eli.

26 She said, ‘If you please, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood beside you here, praying to Yahweh.

27 This is the child for which I was praying, and Yahweh has granted me what I asked of him.

28 Now I make him over to Yahweh for the whole of his life. He is made over to Yahweh.’ They then worshipped Yahweh there.

1 Samuel 2

1 Hannah then prayed as follows: My heart exults in Yahweh, in my God is my strength lifted up, my mouth derides my foes, for I rejoice in your deliverance.

2 There is no Holy One like Yahweh, (indeed, there is none but you) no Rock like our God.

3 Do not keep talking so proudly, let no arrogance come from your mouth, for Yahweh is a wise God, his to weigh up deeds.

4 The bow of the mighty has been broken but those who were tottering are now braced with strength.

5 The full fed are hiring themselves out for bread but the hungry need labour no more; the barren woman bears sevenfold but the mother of many is left desolate.

6 Yahweh gives death and life, brings down to Sheol and draws up;

7 Yahweh makes poor and rich, he humbles and also exalts.

8 He raises the poor from the dust, he lifts the needy from the dunghill to give them a place with princes, to assign them a seat of honour; for to Yahweh belong the pillars of the earth, on these he has poised the world.

9 He safeguards the steps of his faithful but the wicked vanish in darkness (for human strength can win no victories).

10 Yahweh, his enemies are shattered, the Most High thunders in the heavens. Yahweh judges the ends of the earth, he endows his king with power, he raises up the strength of his Anointed.

11 Elkanah then went home to Ramah, but the child stayed in Yahweh’s service, in the presence of Eli the priest.

12 Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels; they cared nothing for Yahweh

13 nor for what was due to the priests from the people. Whenever anyone offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand while the meat was being cooked;

14 he would thrust this into cauldron or pan, or dish or pot, and the priest claimed for his own whatever the fork brought up. That was how they behaved with all the Israelites who came there to Shiloh.

15 The priest’s servant would even come up before the fat had been burnt and say to the person who was making the sacrifice, ‘Give the priest some meat for him to roast. He will not accept boiled meat from you, only raw.’

16 Then, if the person replied, ‘Let the fat be burnt first, and then take for yourself whatever you choose,’ he would retort, ‘No! You must give it to me now or I shall take it by force.’

17 The young men’s sin was very great in Yahweh’s eyes, because they treated with contempt the offering made to Yahweh.

18 Samuel was in Yahweh’s service, a child wearing a linen loincloth.

19 His mother used to make him a little coat which she brought him each year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, ‘May Yahweh grant you an heir by this woman in exchange for the one which she has made over to Yahweh,’ and they would go home.

21 Yahweh visited Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the child Samuel grew up in Yahweh’s presence.

22 Although very old, Eli heard about everything that his sons were doing to all Israel,

23 and said, ‘Why are you behaving as all the people say you are?

24 No, my sons, what I hear reported by the people of Yahweh is not good.

25 If one person sins against another, God will be the arbiter, but if he sins against Yahweh, who will intercede for him?’ But they did not listen to their father’s words, for Yahweh was bent on killing them.

26 Meanwhile, the child Samuel went on growing in stature and in favour both with Yahweh and with people.

27 A man of God came to Eli and said to him, ‘This is what Yahweh says, “Did I not reveal myself to your father’s family when they were in Egypt as slaves in Pharaoh’s household?

28 Did I not single him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn the offering, to carry the ephod in my presence; and did I not grant all the burnt offerings made by the Israelites to your father’s family?

29 Why do you trample on the offering and on the sacrifice which I have ordered for my Dwelling, and honour your sons more than me, by growing fat on the best of the offerings of Israel, my people?

30 Whereas — this is what Yahweh, God of Israel, declares — I had promised that your family and your father’s family would walk in my presence for ever, now, however — this is what Yahweh declares — nothing of the sort! Those who honour me I honour in my turn, and those who despise me will be an object of contempt.

31 Be sure, the days are coming when I shall cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s family, so that no one in your familywill live to old age.

32 Beside the Dwelling, you will see all the benefits that I shall confer on Israel, but no one in your family will ever live to old age.

33 I shall keep one of you at my altar for his eyes to go blind and his soul to wither, but the bulk of your family will die by the sword.

34 ‘ “What happens to your two sons Hophni and Phinehas will be a sign for you: on the same day both will die.

35 I shall raise myself a faithful priest, who will do as I intend and as I desire. I shall build him an enduring House and he will walk in the presence of my Anointed for ever.

36 The members of your House who survive will come and beg him on their knees for a silver coin and a loaf of bread and say: Please give me some priestly work, so that I can have a scrap of bread to eat.” ‘

Psalm 149

1 Alleluia! Sing a new song to Yahweh: his praise in the assembly of the faithful!

2 Israel shall rejoice in its Maker, the children of Zion delight in their king;

3 they shall dance in praise of his name, play to him on tambourines and harp!

4 For Yahweh loves his people, he will crown the humble with salvation.

5 The faithful exult in glory, shout for joy as they worship him,

6 praising God to the heights with their voices, a two-edged sword in their hands,

7 to wreak vengeance on the nations, punishment on the peoples,

8 to load their kings with chains and their nobles with iron fetters,

9 to execute on them the judgement passed — to the honour of all his faithful.

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