We’re going to take a look at the books of 1 & 2 Samuel. Think of them as one continuous story. Essentially, they are the story of David, the shepherd who becomes king. It’s the story of the country of Israel from it’s earliest days, unorganized and prone to idolatry and foreign oppression in the times of the Judges, through the life of David, the first monarch to rally the 12 tribes together into a single, united kingdom.
It’s important to remember in reading this, that the characters written within the stories are written as moral examples for us the readers. There are clear cut good guys and bad guys, or perhaps better, good models to follow and bad models to avoid. This is a story about leadership, and some of the leaders presented in the narrative, like Samuel and David, we are encouraged to imitate, while others, like Eli and Saul and Absalom, we are encouraged to do the opposite.
The ancient Jews artful storytellers, and so this is where the story begins—a man, his barren wife, and an aloof priest. The first two paragraphs set the stage and introduce us to Elkanah. He has two wives, one with children and one without. Remember the book of Genesis and desperation of women unable to have children. It’s a shameful experience in this culture.
Then verse 9 states, “Hannah rose,” and this now becomes Hannah’s story. This is Hannah’s story. Hannah’s barrenness. Hannah’s grief. Hannah’s heart poured out before God.
And that’s the crucial detail. When we feel pain, we have lots of options of where to take it. Family. Friends. The internet. But Hannah’s story takes a radical turn when she turns to God.
It is the faith of the barren woman that sets the stage for this story of kings. Not the faith of the husband. Not the faith of the priest. Not the most important people whom we might expect. But from the corner of the story we would least expect.
What about you? What do you see?