THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL
Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's
transcription is provided with written permission by http://www.theseason.org
It is important that the two books of Samuel be recognized as one book; because, in the Hebrew Canon (as given in the MSS [manuscripts], as well as the early printed editions of the Hebrew text) these two books are, and always have been printed and understood to be one book.
In the first seven chapters of I Samuel the Israelites are living under the Rule of the Judges, for this book is written about the first Prophet, Samuel. Samuel was born during the end of the time of the Judges. All of the Judges but two that had ruled Israel were dead and gone, and Eli the priest was the leader of the tribes of Israel at this time. The time of this happening started about the year 1064 to 1061 B.C., for we must remember that Samuel was an old man when he anointed David [God's anointed] as a very young lad.
"Samuel" in the Hebrew tongue "Shemuel" means, "asked of God", or "God heard". We will see that this name is derived from the special request by Samuel's mother, Hannah to the Lord, and God heard and gave Hannah her request. It will be in these two books of Samuel that the Israelites will go from a theocracy to a monarchy. The last two Judges were then were Eli the priest, and Samuel the Prophet. Though David was anointed to be a king by Samuel, it would be Saul that would be the first to serve as king over the tribes of Israel.
We must also remember that as we read of these thing that are happening in these books of Samuel, that Paul instructed us in I Corinthians 10:11, 12; "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."  "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
God is the same today as He was yesterday, and He shall be tomorrow. These things and events happened as an "ensample", which means an "example" to us living in this final generation. These writings are examples to let us know what is going to happen again, and it is God's way of really clarifying things. There will even be some prophecy within these books of Samuel.
The books of Samuel and Kings and their events are viewed from the human and exoteric standpoint, while in Chronicles the same events are viewed from the Divine and esoteric standpoint. If you are studying in the Vulgate or Latin bible text, First and Second Samuel are recorded as "Kings One and Two: with the First and Second Kings becoming the books of "Kings Three and four". This would help our dear Catholic friend to study right along with us, in using their Vulgate Bible Translations.
I Samuel 1:1 "Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim, of Mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite."
The place "Ramathaim-zophim" are "the two (or double) heights of the watchers". The "watcher" is a prophet or an angel that is to stand guard for the protection of the community, to watch for the approaching of the enemy. We will see some prophecy here, for Ephraim is the largest of the tribes, and the tribe that was to have the double portion, as was committed by Jacob [Israel] when he passed the blessings of the the Abrahamic covenant on to Ephraim, as recorded in Genesis 48:17-20.
Genesis 48:17 "And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head."
Genesis 48:18 "And Joseph said unto his father, "Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head."
Genesis 48:19 "And his father refused, and said, "I know it, my son, I know it; he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and shall become a multitude of nations."
Genesis 48:20 "and he [Israel] blessed them that day, saying, "In thee shall Israel bless, saying, `God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh:' " and he set Ephraim before Manasseh."
The blessed thing that was passed on was the right of the Abrahamic Covenant, the promises of leadership not only amongst the rest of the tribes, but amongst the entire world. Many blessings came upon Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the rest of the things that go along with greatness. So we see that the prophet Samuel was of the lineage of Ephraim, the son of Joseph.
Samuel's father was Elkanah, which means "Acquired by God". The name "Hannah" means "grace" in the Hebrew tongue. We know that the Word "Tohu" in the Hebrew text in Genesis 1:2 means "void", however when it is used as a name it means "lonely". An "Ephrathite" was someone that lived in the land near Bethlehem-Judah. This was near the birthplace of both Benjamin, and also of Jesus. This should open our eyes to let us know that there is going to be a "type of Christ", in the role of a savior.
I Samuel 1:2 "And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hanna, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children."
It is important that we remember that Hannah's name means grace. Hannah was a barren woman, and we know from Luke 23:29 what Christ said when he saw the women of Jerusalem weeping over him; "For behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, `Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.' "
Being barren in these latter days is saying that you are the bride of Christ, and that you have not taken another husband before Christ's return at the seventh trumpet. Many today are being groomed to be taken by the false messiah, into a wedding that will result in great shame.
Luke 23:30 "Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, `Fall on us;' and to the hills, `Cover us'."
Luke 23:31 "For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?"
God is using this Hannah, the mother of Samuel, as a teaching tool, to show us that grace is involved in this Scripture.
I Samuel 1:3 "And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priest of the Lord, were there."
The word "Shiloh" means "rest" in the Hebrew tongue, and it was where the tabernacle of the Lord was built, and where the ark of the Covenant was kept. Eli was the head priest at Shiloh, the center of worship for all the tribes at this time, and he had two sons.
I Samuel 1:4 "And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:"
When the animals were sacrificed by Elkanah before the altar of God, portions of the animal and sacrifice were given to each member of the family.
I Samuel 1:5 "But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: (but the Lord had shut up her womb."
When it came time for Hannah to receive her portion, Elkanah gave Hannah a double portion over what all the rest of the family had received. Even though Peninnah had given Elkanah many children, Hannah was barren and had no children. It is important to notice that it was God that shut up her womb, for God is about to give us a lesson here. It wasn't bad health, or for something that she had done in the past that she was barren, but the Lord shut up her womb for a purpose. Once we see what that purpose was, we will see what we are to gain from Hannah's problem.
I Samuel 1:6 "And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb."
"Adversary" is one of Satan's names. However, "adversary" as it is used here is to effect Hannah's person. Satan is trying to make her fret, because God had shut up her womb. Stop and think for a moment just who this person was that considered Hannah her adversary. It is easy to put the blame on the other wife, for Peninnah that was blessed with many children, for she was the person that was causing Hannah to feel down on herself. Hanna could see Peninnah's children continually around her.
I Samuel 1:7 "And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat."
Going to Shiloh to make sacrifices was an annual thing. However, God command that it be done and these sacrifices rendered for each person's sins of that year. It was every person's duty to God. We know exactly who this adversary was, the "she" that "provoked her" was Peninnah, for she knew that Hannah was the favorite, the one receiving the double portion. However, it doesn't state that fact by name.
I Samuel 1:8 "Then said Elkanah her husband to her, "Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?"
We see that Elkanah really loved Hannah his wife. The grace or things that I gave you was far better than you could have ever received even with ten sons. I gave you a double portion, and this made it very obvious that Elkanah loved Hannah.
I Samuel 1:9 "So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by the post of the temple of the Lord."
"Shiloh" and "Sabbath" are both words for "rest", just as we can find "rest" in Christ also. What this is stating is that after all the others had eaten the sacrifice meal and drunk the wine, Hannah had forgone the eating and the drinking to go directly to Eli the priest to pray to God.
I Samuel 1:10 "And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore."
Hannah is closing out and separating herself from the entire world around her, and opening her heart and mind to the Lord.
I Samuel 1:11 "And she vowed a vow, and said, "O Lord of hosts, if Thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head."
We know from Numbers 6:5 that this is the vow of "Separation", which is the vow of the "Nazarite". This is the same vow that "John the Baptist" took, and it was at Nazareth that Christ would come forth for His ministry. So we can see the elements of the lesson that God is pointing to, and leading us.
God has shut up Hannah's womb, and now Hannah is making the request directly to God that she may be given a son, and the outcome of that request will be someone that has a great deal to do with the plan of God.
I Samuel 1:12 "And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth."
Eli was looking at Hannah praying and Eli noticed that Hannah's mouth was moving. She was praying directly to God. Remember that Christ had not come to earth yet to become our sacrifice, and to pray directly to God was to go against the form which was set down for the people by God through Moses. The Levitical priest were to be the go-between to speak and petition for the people, and here Hannah was seeking God's help without petitioning through Eli the priest.
I Samuel 1:13 "Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken."
Though Hannah was not speaking out loud, her lips were still moving, and Eli thought that she was drunk. We see that old Eli, being the head priest can make a mistake. He thought Hannah to be something that she was not.
I Samuel 1:14 "And Eli said unto her, "How long wilt thou be drunken: put away thy wine from thee."
I Samuel 1:15 "And Hannah answered and said, "No my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord."
I'm sure that old Eli was taken back a great deal, when he had falsely accused this woman in sorrow of being drunk. Priests and ministers don't like to admit when they are wrong.
I Samuel 1:16 "Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto."
"Belial" in the Hebrew means "worthless and reckless". Hannah is now going to tell Eli exactly what it was that she was praying about.
I Samuel 1:17 "Then Eli answered and said, "Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of Him."
After Eli heard what had been bothering Hannah, I'm sure that it make him feel very bad for his prior comments. We know that Eli would petition God also for the granting of Hannah's request for a son. Note how simple this book of Samuel reads, for we see that Eli states positively that God would grant the petition.
I Samuel 1:18 "And she said, "Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight." So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad."
"Hannah" means "grace" and here she is asking that God would grant her grace. "Grace is the receiving of something that you don't deserve, but it comes at someone else's expense. Our Grace that we have with the Father comes at the expense of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who paid the price that we could not.
I Samuel 1:19 "And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her."
When grace is given, and you rely on it being given just because of the words that were stated, is what is called "FAITH". Eli made the statement in verse 17; "...God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of Him."; Hannah heard and believe that God would, and relied and acted upon it as knowing that it would come true. Her faith had made her whole in mind and spirits, and changed her entire countenance. Once she was told that that prayer was heard and answered, she believed it to be true, and had the faith that it was true. She trusted God, just as you and I have the same opportunity to trust Him also.
I Samuel 1:20 "Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had concieved, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, "Because I have asked him of the Lord."
The name "Samuel" means, "Asked or Acquired of the Lord [El]". Remember that in prophecy, the barren wife is to remain barren and be virgins until the time of Jesus Christ's return to this earth to end this earth age of the flesh. In a spiritual sense we are to be "without child, and giving to suck" when our Lord returns. The words of the prophet Isaiah, in Mark 13, and in Luke 23 during Christ's walk up the hill to his crucifixion each stressed this of us in this final generation. So both spiritually as well as physically, in Hannah's case, until God opened Hannah's womb she remained barren. However when God spoke through Eli to her, she had the faith to believe the prophet's words in prayer to God.
I Samuel 1:21 "And the man Elkanah, and all his house went up to offer unto the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and his vow."
I Samuel 1:22 "But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, "I will bring him, that the may appear before the Lord, and there abide for ever."
Hannah made a vow to God that if God would give her a son, she would give that son right back to Him. Hannah will keep that vow, however she wants to hang on to Samuel as long as she possible can, and thus she is waiting until Samuel is weaned and can think on his own. To be weaned means that the child Samuel would be approximately twelve years old. The child would be able to live separate from his mother, and be on his own. The other reason was that from this age, Samuel would also be useful to those at the temple, and not just an abandon child to be cared for. At twelve it was considered that he would be a responsible person and could care for himself.
I Samuel 1:23 "And Elkanah her husband said unto her, "Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the Lord establish His word." So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him."
Within this verse we can see the mother's [Hannah's] love for her son, as well has her commitment to keep her vow to the Lord God. It is just as important in our lives as it was in hers that we keep the vows that we make to the Lord. It is far better not to ever make a vow, then to make it and break it. For when you break a vow to God, and then see the sin in it, repent for that sin. Then get back into obedience to our Heavenly Father.
I Samuel 1:24 "And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: (and the child was young)."
Her actions in this verse are in accordance to Deuteronomy 12:5-7 and the keeping of vows. Samuel was at this time about twelve or thirteen years old, and from the day Hannah brought him to Eli, he would become a servant to the Lord the rest of Samuel's life. .
I Samuel 1:25 "And they slew the bullock, and brought the child to Eli."
I Samuel 1:26 "And she said, "Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord."
Hannah is telling Eli that she was the woman that prayed for child many years ago, and this is the child that she had prayed for.
I Samuel 1:27 "For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him:"
Though Eli probably could not remember Hannah nor such a request from her for many years had passed, but remember Hannah had not made the annual trips to Shiloh with her husband. Eli had no problem accepting the words of Hannah as being fact.
I Samuel 1:28 "Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord, " And He worshipped the Lord there."
Hannah kept her vow and brought up Samuel under the oath of the Nazarite, and prepared Samuel for the duties that he would serve the rest of his life. Samuel accepted the oath of his mother Hannah, and stayed and worshipped the Lord there in Shiloh.
This fact is not brought to the attention by many teachers, but Hannah was a prophetess, and we know from the book of Judges that Deborah was a Judge that ruled over Israel, and even led the army of Israel against the Philistines. Deborah took charge when all the men of Israel did not have the courage to do that. God was interested in Hannah, and knew that she, like Deborah would respond to the call when the time was necessary, which she did. God accomplished his plan through her, and she prepared the child for the duties that God would expect of Samuel. God brought forth Samuel for the duties of Judge, priest, and prophet. In chapter two we will see the role that Hannah played a a prophet.
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