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1 Samuel Series, Part 1, Verses 1:1

  • | Chris McCann
  • Audio: Length: 28:00 Size: 4.8 MB
  • A look at 1 Samuel 1:1.

Good evening everyone. Welcome to eBible Fellowship’s Bible study in 1st Samuel. Tonight, we will begin a study of the book of 1st Samuel. We will begin reading 1 Samuel 1:1.

The reason why I think this would be a good book for us to look at is because it is a book that has not really been addressed. Family Radio, as far as I know, has never done a study in 1st Samuel or 2nd Samuel. I think that as we go through it, it will help us, in the very least, in gaining background information to many other things in the Bible.

We will find, as we read just the first verse and as we go through the book of 1st Samuel, that there are many place names and people names and we will see that God has certain things in view by this and at times we will not be able to understand what He has in view. But, we will also begin to develop a solid historical understanding for the background of much of the history of Israel and much of the history of the Bible.

1st Samuel, 2nd Samuel, Chronicles, Kings, the Psalms and other parts of scripture are interconnected and of course, the New Testament builds upon much of this.

Now, I am just going to read the first three verses of 1 Samuel chapter 1, as we begin the study tonight. 1st Samuel 1:1-3 says:

Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, 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: And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto JEHOVAH of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of JEHOVAH were there.

Now, let me just say before we continue that, LORD willing, we will try to go verse by verse. We will read every verse.

I guess what I mean by “try” is that, we will try to understand each verse, one by one, as we go through the book, but we may come up upon verses that I just do not understand and so, we will have an option at that point that, we can continue on or, what I think we will at least try is to switch the study to 1st Peter as we will be continuing another Bible study in 1st Peter every Sunday and so, we will have these 2 ongoing Bible studies - one in the New Testament, in 1st Peter and this study of 1st Samuel in the Old Testament and if we run into a problem in 1st Samuel, we can for maybe a few studies, switch to 1st Peter, to give time, to see if God might open up that particular verse and so, I think we will try that and it could get to the point where we would just have to say, “we do not understand it.” and move on.

1st Samuel is a very big book. There are 31 chapters in that book. There is a lot of information here and we will just try to do the best that we can.

In 1 Samuel 1:1, we read:

Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, 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:

Immediately we are faced with all sorts of names. There are place names: “Ramathaimzophim”, “mount Ephraim”, “an Ephrathite”. There are people names: “Elkanah”, “Jeroham”, “Elihu”, “Tohu”, “Zuph”. This one verse really presents all sorts of problems in trying to understand the spiritual meaning and what spiritual meaning can we find when we encounter so many names?

We do know that everything in the Bible has a deeper spiritual meaning and that God does not give a number or a name for no reason. Everything in the Bible has meaning and purpose and so, what we could do is look up the name and try to discover what the name means and so, I would like to do that. I would like to go through and just look at the names where we can learn the meaning of the name.

One other thing we can notice is that “Elkanah” is the fifth generation listed here. There are four earlier generations, but he is the fifth and so, we do have the number five which would identify with the Gospel of Grace, the Atonement or Judgment. These things are in view, with that number and so, when we come to Elkanah, we see that he is the fifth generation but of course, there are earlier ancestors or there are more. His lineage goes further and we will take a look at that, in just a little bit. But for some reason, God just wanted to give us the last few generations in order to highlight that Elkanah was the fifth.

With regards to the names, starting with Ramanthaimzophim: “Ramathaim” is from ra^ma^h and ra^ma^h means “high place” or “heights” and “zophim” is a word that means “watchman”. So we could see that Elkanah was a watchman of the high place or the heights.

He came from Mount Ephraim and “Ephraim” means “fruitful” or “fruit”. We know this absolutely because in Genesis 41:51-52, Joseph named his children. It says in Genesis 41:51-52:

And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.

So, “Ephraim” means to be fruitful and Elkanah comes from Mount Ephraim. His name “Elkanah” means “purchased of God” or “bought of God”. He is the son of Jeroham. Jeroham was a rather hard name, so I am not going to try and give a definition to that. There is a couple of possibilities, but it is not too clear.

“Elihu” means “God of him,” or, we would say, “his God”. That is the same name that we find in the later chapters of the book of Job.

Then we have the name “Tohu”, and “Tohu” is unknown. I could not find exactly what that name means. The next name, “Zuph”, is a word that is related to the “honeycomb”.

And so, we have all these definitions and what does it mean? Well, it give us background and it gives us some understanding towards each one of them, as we will see with the name “Elkanah”. It is significant that his name means to be “bought of God” or “purchased of God” and hopefully, if we have time, we will look at, “why?”, in a little bit.

But, let us first go to 1st Chronicles 6 where we will find a genealogy that identifies with what we are reading here in 1st Samuel 1. In 1st Chronicles 6:33-35, it says:

And these are they that waited with their children. Of the sons of the Kohathites: Heman a singer, the son of Joel, the son of Shemuel, The son of Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Eliel, the son of Toah, The son of Zuph, the son of Elkanah, …

And then it continues on.

But, we find that these five generations match with 1st Samuel 1:1 and this will help us in understanding Elkanah and who he is, and also, in understanding Samuel, who will be born to Elkanah and Hannah.

Notice that some of the names are slightly different in 1st Chronicles chapter 6:34. In 1st Chronicles 6:34, we read:

The son of Elkanah, the son of Jeroham (those two names are the same), the son of Eliel (rather than “Elihu”), the son of Toah (rather than “Tohu”),

But they are deifinitely speaking of the same person. Occasionally, we will read of someone having a slightly different name in the Bible. In 1st Chronicles 6:35, we read:

The son of Zuph, …

“Zuph” is the same. Now, how can we be sure that this is the same Elkanah? After all, after “Zuph” in 1st Chronicles 6:35, it says, “…, the son of Elkanah, …” again and in 1st Chronicles 6:36, it says, “The son of Elkanah, …”. That name “Elkanah” was fairly common and was given to other Israelites. How can we be sure that this “Elkanah” and those names are the same that we find in 1st Samuel?

We can be sure because in 1st Chronicles 6:33, where it says, “…: Heman a singer, the son of Joel, the son of Shemuel,”. “Shemuel” is “Samuel”. That is the exact same Hebrew word, that we will find, I think, 137 times in the book of Samuel. It is spelled differently, but it is the identical Hebrew word to “Samuel”.

So here, we have the father of Samuel, who is “Elkanah” and then we have the same lineage that we find in 1st Samuel and more than that, notice that Samuel’s son or Shemuel’s son is “Joel” in 1st Chronicles 6:33.

Now let us go to 1st Samuel 8. In 1st Samuel 8:1-2, we read:

And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba.

I will just read a couple of other verses because this is interesting. In 1st Samuel 8:3-5, we read:

And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment. Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

Samuel had a son Joel, but he was not a faithful man and he walked not in the ways of his father Samuel and here, in the genealogy in 1st Chronicles 6, we have Elkanah whose son is Samuel and Samuel whose son is Joel and this Joel had a son who was Heman.

Let us just carry it one generation further in 1st Chronicles 15:16-17:

And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy. So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; and of his brethren, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and of the sons of Merari their brethren, Ethan the son of Kushaiah;

David appoints Heman, who is the son of Joel and Joel is the son of Samuel, so Heman is Samuel’s grandson and David appoints him to be a singer. We read more of David’s relationship with Heman (Samuel’s grandson) in 1st Chronicles 25.

We read in 1st Chronicles 25:1:

Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals: and the number of the workmen according to their service was:

And then it goes on. We will skip down to verse 4. In 1st Chronicles 25:4, we read:

Of Heman: the sons of Heman; Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel, and Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, and Romamtiezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth: All these were the sons of Heman the king’s seer in the words of God, to lift up the horn. And God gave to Heman fourteen sons and three daughters.

So we get a little bit of background, and I do not know about you, but I find it interesting going along and I normally jot down these kinds of things because we are always reading about certain individuals and sometimes, it just seems that they appear and we do not know anything about them.

But, we can know that Heman was someone very well known to David because David was anointed to be king by Samuel and Samuel had a close relationship with David. But then, Samuel died, but he had children and his children were not faithful, but some of his grandchildren were faithful and Heman is one of them and he basically walks in the steps of his grandfather because he was David’s seer and that word “seer” in 1st Chronicles 25:5 is translated, elsewhere, on occasion as “prophet”. So Heman was a prophet like his grandfather Samuel.

Notice that God gave to Heman 14 sons and three daughters and that is a very accurate way of putting it. When we have children, God is the one who gives them to us and here Heman was given 17 children and they were 14 boys and three girls and that is 17 in total which points to the number of heaven. So, there is just something interesting for us that Heman who was a singer, appointed by David and was also his seer (a prophet), was actually the grandson of Samuel.

We also learn some things about Elkanah and about Samuel through the genealogy in 1st Chronicles 6 and some other information. We learn, that Elkanah was a Levite of the tribe of Levi, of the sons of Kohath. He was a Kohathite. He was a desendant of Kohath. We know this for sure, when we go to Joshua 21. In Joshua 21:20-21, we read:

And the families of the children of Kohath, the Levites which remained of the children of Kohath, even they had the cities of their lot out of the tribe of Ephraim. For they gave them Shechem with her suburbs in mount Ephraim, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Gezer with her suburbs,

You might have been wondering why Elkanah was from Mount Ephraim, if he was a Levite. We have to keep in mind that, the Levites had no inheritance like the other tribes of Israel. They were not given one portion of land, like Judah or Dan or other tribes, where it could be said that these were their boundaries.

But the Levites were divided amongst the tribes of Israel and God was said to be their inheritance really and yet, they lived scattered amongst all the tribes. Every tribe, had their Levites and Ephraim had its Levites and one location they were found was in Mount Ephraim, exactly where Elkanah was from.

So we can understand, when we are reading the book of 1st Samuel, that Elkanah was a Levite who lived in Ephraim and we also understand that Samuel of course, would have been himself, a Levite. But notice the language that we will see later with Hannah, as she prays for a son and then offers him to the LORD. Let us go to 1st Samuel 1. In 1st Samuel 1:28, we read:

Therefore also I have lent him to JEHOVAH; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to JEHOVAH. And he worshipped JEHOVAH there.

Now that really is not that unusual, considering that Samuel was a Levite because what did God say about the tribe of Levi? Let us go to Numbers 8.

It says in Numbers 8:13-18:

And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto JEHOVAH. Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine. And after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an offering. For they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel; instead of such as open every womb, even instead of the firstborn of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto me. For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself. And I have taken the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel.

It continues on. But here, we can see the special relationship that God made with the tribe of Levi. No other tribe is spoken of in this way, where God says that they belong to him and they are His. Now that brings us back to the name “Elkanah” which means “purchased of God” or “bought of God”.

Were the Levites bought of God? Were they purchased by Him? Yes. When God delivered the Israel from Egypt and He brought about the death of the firstborn, He identifies that as the time when He has taken the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel. Of course, spiritually, this ties into Christ who is the firstborn Son of God, the firstborn from the dead and the first begotten Son of the Father. And so, there is definite spiritual meaning here as we could understand that the Levites, on one hand, can point to Christ, especially when we see that God speaks of them (the whole tribe) as being “offering” because they are in place of the firstborn. Actually, Jesus is typified by Levi in Malachi. In Malachi 2:4-8, it says:

And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith JEHOVAH of hosts. My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of JEHOVAH of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith JEHOVAH of hosts.

So here, this “covenant of Levi,” and the language that follows identifies with Christ and again, we should not be surprised because God uses many individuals in the Bible to typify Christ and Levi, on occasion, is one of them and who were the sons of Levi? Well, Aaron, the priest, came of Levi. The high priest came of Levi.

We will have to get into this, a little bit more in our next study and then we will continue looking into 1st Samuel chapter 1 and we will move into verse 2 and we will think about why God tells us that Elkanah, “… had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: …” and then He tells us that, “…: … Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.” and we will see that this does relate, again to other information in the Bible that connects to the Gospel.