March 24 - Nº 83 1 Samuel 1:1-19
Peninnah and Hannah were both married . . . to the same man! His name was Elkanah. Peninnah had several sons and daughters with Elkanah, but Hannah couldn’t become pregnant. However, Elkanah loved Hannah very much. As a matter of fact, he loved her so much that it became very noticeable that she was his favorite wife. Elkanah’s favoritism created a lot of friction in this marriage three-some. Peninnah took out her frustrations by teasing Hannah and purposely trying to upset her. She boasted about the fact that she was able to have children and ridiculed Hannah because she could not . . . Hannah would end up in tears . . . so, Elkanah would give her extra food and gifts to make her feel loved . . . this would irritate Peninnah . . . who would then torment Hannah even more . . . and the cycle continued. Every year, the family would go on a spiritual retreat to make sacrifices to God at a place called Shiloh. This is where the Tabernacle of the Lord had been set up. Many Israelite families came to camp out, enjoy fellowship with each other, and worship God. But whenever Elkanah and his family made this long journey, Peninnah’s bullying seemed to grow worse. Hannah would become so distressed that she could not even eat. Elkanah tried to encourage her by saying things like, “Hannah, why are weeping? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” But nothing he said seemed to help. One year, after arriving in Shiloh, Hannah was so distraught that she jumped up, left the meal, and ran to the Tabernacle. As she sobbed bitterly, she began to pray, “God, I know that You are sovereign. And You know how miserable I am. Please help me. Give me a son!” Then she made God a promise, “If you do, I will dedicate him to You for his whole life, and I will confirm this vow by never cutting his hair” (this was a part of a Nazirite vow—see Numbers 6:5). Although her sobs were loud, Hannah’s prayers were silent. Her lips moved, but the words stayed inside her heart. Eli, the high priest, observed all this from a chair near the door of the Tabernacle. He concluded that Hannah must have been drinking. “How long are you going to stay drunk?” he asked bluntly. “Put away your wine.” Hannah explained that she was not drunk; she was deeply distressed and was pouring out her soul to God in prayer. Eli realized he was wrong. “Go in peace,” he replied, “and may the God of Israel grant you what you have requested.” With the high priest’s blessing, Hannah left the Tabernacle. She was no longer upset. She dried her tears and went back to the campsite and ate her meal. Not long after they got home, Hannah became pregnant. She gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel. She knew that this was no accident or coincidence—God had answered her tearful prayers!
Is there someone in your life who enjoys making fun of you—maybe even bullying you? Have you taken the time to pray about it? Giving it to God will bring you strength and peace. Even before she knew she was pregnant, Hannah felt relief. She was able to face life knowing God was taking care of her.