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1 Samuel Series, Part 3, Verses 1:2-5

  • | Chris McCann
  • Audio: Length: 30:01 Size: 5.2 MB
  • A look at 1 Samuel 1:2-5.

Good evening everyone and welcome to eBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of 1st Samuel. Tonight, we will have our third Bible study in 1st Samuel. We read in 1 Samuel 1:2-8:

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. And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions: But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but JEHOVAH had shut up her womb. And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because JEHOVAH had shut up her womb. And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of JEHOVAH, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. 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?

I will stop reading there.

Now we saw in our last study that Elkanah had two wives (we cannot really say that that was common in the Bible, but it is actually not that uncommon either—because we do find several instances of people who had multiple wives—even true believers). But, God is setting up a spiritual picture here with Elkanah. Elkanah is a figure and a type of Christ Himself or of God Himself, who has two wives.

God, through His word (the law of God) is married to mankind and mankind is very adulterous in that relationship and it will be the law of God, as the angry husband, that rises up to condemn the adulterous wife (all of the unsaved people that have broken the law of God, that have transgressed the commandments of the Bible).

But, God is “married to another” (Romans 7 tells us), or Christ is “married to another”. We, by God’s grace become “dead to the law,” through the “body of Christ,” that is, those that God has elected to salvation and we enter into a marriage relationship with Christ that is based on the mercy and the grace of God.

That is why Hannah’s name means “gracious” and “merciful” and “favour”, where Peninnah’s name would most closely relate to “rubies”, and we saw in the Proverbs that a virtuous woman’s “price is far above rubies”, and Hannah, is the “virtuous woman”. She is representing the elect.

Peninnah is also legitimately Elkanah’s wife. Elkanah has feelings for her. He has respect for her. He gives her and her children “portions”, but he loves Hannah. And so, even though God has respect for those created in His image, still there is a different relationship between God and those that He has redeemed, those that He has saved and purchased, and the rest of mankind.

Well also we see that, “Hannah had no children”, but “Peninnah had children”, and we will have a chance to talk more about that later, as Hannah will give birth to “a son,” a little later on. So, let us move on here to 1 Samuel 1:3:

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.

The English word “yearly”, if we look at the literal Hebrew, it is actually literally “days to days”. He goes up at a regular time and it is yearly actually. Later on in the same chapter the word for “year by year” or something that is done annually, is used. So this is accurate in the sense that it is correct that there was a “sacrifice” that was held “in Shiloh” “yearly”.

Now, we are not sure exactly which of the feasts this is, because God commanded in the Pentateuch (in the five books that the LORD had used Moses to write), that the males of Israel were to gather three times in the year for the Feast of the Passover, for firstfruits or Pentecost and for the feast of ingathering or tabernacles and God stresses that this would be done in a place that He would choose. Now, we are very familiar with Jerusalem and later on, that will be the “holy city” and the central place of worship for Israel.

But, when Israel entered into the land of Canaan—coming out of their 40 year wilderness sojourn—they did not worship in Jerusalem. For 40 years, or for much of that time, “the ark of the covenant” was in a tent, as God instructed Moses to build a tabernacle and that tabernacle was set up and then, broken down to be moved constantly, throughout the 40 year sojourn and then they entered into the land of Canaan, finally, they crossed over Jordan and we find in Joshua 18:1, it says:

And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them.

So here God is showing us that after they did overcome the land when the conquest of Canaan was complete, they picked a city, and it was Shiloh, to establish the tabernacle of the LORD. This is where the people would come—the place that God would choose—in order for them to worship. This is what the LORD had said in Deuteronomy 12:10-14:

But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which JEHOVAH your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; Then there shall be a place which JEHOVAH your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto JEHOVAH: And ye shall rejoice before JEHOVAH your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you. Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest: But in the place which JEHOVAH shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.

So, in the year 1407 B.C., following 40 years in the wilderness, Israel crossed Jordan and entered into the promised land of Canaan and then, did battle for some time and when the battle was complete, they set up the tabernacle in Shiloh.

Now, Shiloh, as far as I can tell, was in or near the tribe of Ephraim and that is why Elkanah, when he comes from “mount Ephraim,” probably did not have very far to travel, in order to reach Shiloh and God also tells us, as we read in The Book of Judges—he tells us in Judges 21, that there was “a feast” “in Shiloh”. It says in Judges 21:12:

And they found among the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.

Now the occasion here in Judges 21 is that the tribe of Benjamin has almost been wiped out except for I think, 600 men of Benjamin. And so, after recognizing that the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead did not go to fight Benjamin, they determined to get wives for the men that remained, in order that the tribe of Benjamin not be wiped out. They found 400 wives for these Benjamites and they brought them to Shiloh. Then it says in Judges 21:13:

And the whole congregation sent some to speak to the children of Benjamin that were in the rock Rimmon, and to call peaceably unto them.

Now, down in Judges 21:19, we read:

Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of JEHOVAH in Shiloh yearly (and again, literally, that is the same construction as in 1st Samuel 1. Literally, it would be “days to days”) in a place which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.

So, that helps us place where Shiloh was located. In Judges 21:20-21, we read:

Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards; And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.

They needed 200 more wives so they captured 200 virgins of the daughters of Shiloh for the men of Benjamin. But, we see here that, there was a feast yearly and this would have been one of the three major feasts. We can be sure of that, that the LORD would have required the males to attend and I am just not sure, which of the three feasts is in view with Elkanah.

There is one other thing we should look at about Shiloh. In Judges 18:30-31, we read:

… the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land. And they set them up Micah’s graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.

So, as we read of the terrible wickedness in The Book of Judges and the falling away, God makes a point of letting us know that “every man did that which was right in his own eyes”, all the time that “the ark of the covenant”, the tabernacle or house of God, was in Shiloh and yet, there were high places in other places in Israel. There were graven images. There were idolatrous practices taking place and this is eventually why we will see in 1st Samuel that God gives up the city of Shiloh to awful judgment, and the LORD tells us why He will bring this judgment on Shiloh in Psalm 78, where it says in Psalm 78:56-61:

Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies: But turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow. For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images (just like we read of that “graven image,” that was “set” “up” “all the time”, “the house of God was in Shiloh.”). When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel: So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men; And delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy’s hand.

Now again, we will have plenty of time later, to discuss that and to see the spiritual meaning behind all that. But for now, we just need to recognize that 1st Samuel is a book that is really bringing the period of the Judges to a close and during the period of the Judges (these hundreds of years), from the entering into the land of Canaan to the time when Samuel will begin to judge or the time when Shiloh comes under the judgment of God and Eli ends his judgeship in the year 1067 B.C., there were several hundred years where men were not being faithful and again and again, God would raise up enemies and they would bring judgment on Israel, due to their unfaithfulness and Shiloh was a very significant place during these days of the judges.

So, 1st Samuel will bring this period of the judges to a close and will open up the period of the kings of Israel. We will see Saul become the first king, LORD willing, if we are able to get that far in this study.

In 1 Samuel 1:3, we read:

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.

So again, there are more names. We will find, again and again, that there are all sorts of names in 1st Samuel. Of course, there are throughout the Bible. But these names have meaning.

“Eli” possibly means “upper” or “lofty”, and I am not exactly sure what God has in mind. Maybe it is related to pride. It could be. Hophni’s name means “handful” or “both hands full”. In one case the name Hophni means “fists”, like someone has clenched their fists. I think a good way of understanding Hophni’s name can be found in Ecclesiastes 4:6. There it says:

Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.

That is a good description of Hophni. He was not content. He was not satisfied with the LORD’S way and him and his brother were very wicked men and they tried to grab as much as they could during their period of ministry as priests in “the house of the LORD”. And so, Hophni had his hands full, but not in a good way.

Phinehas’ name means “mouth of the serpent”. Sometimes the name Phinehas can be for a true believer. We find instances of that. But in this case, it very accurately describes this son of Eli, who really was unrestrained by his father and ended up involved in all sorts of evil dealings in spiritual matters.

So, these were the spiritual leaders of Israel in Shiloh—Eli and his two sons. In this case, the number two is pointing to the caretakers of the gospel, literally, because these men had the charge of “the ark of the covenant”. They were the ones who had to safeguard the ark. They were the ones (Hophni and Phinehas) that bring the ark from Shiloh, to the battle with the Philistines, at the time when the ark was taken by the Philistines and that most awful period of time, as a result of Hophni and Phinehas (“the two sons of Eli”), who should have been faithfully safeguarding the word of God, or the ark. Yet they were careless and it really illustrates their unfaithfulness in spiritual matters.

In 1 Samuel 1:4-5, it says:

And when the day was that Elkanah offered (“the time” literally is “the day”. The Hebrew word is “the day”), he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions: But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but JEHOVAH had shut up her womb.

Now “portions” seems to be related to a “portion” of a sacrifice that can be consumed, for instance, it says in Nehemiah 8:10:

Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of JEHOVAH is your strength.

It says in Nehemiah 8:12:

And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words …

It is also the same word that is in Esther 9:19:

Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another.

So the “portions” were somehow related to the offering and at this time of year when they went to Shiloh, it was part of the tradition, part of how they observed this feast that Elkanah gave to his one wife Peninnah “portion” and her children and she had sons and daughters. So, more than one son and more than one daughter and they all got their “portion”. Every one of them received their “portion”.

In 1 Samuel 1:5, it says:

But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; …

Now, it is interesting that the translators translated the word here as “worthy” because, as far as I can tell, nowhere else is it translated as “worthy”. It is actually a word that is translated often as “anger” or “wrath” and it is just not a word that is translated as “worthy”.

Now in Jay Green’s Interlinear, he translates it as a “double portion”. This word is also translated as “face” or “nostrils”, as when someone wants to get angry—their nostrils flare. But it is never translated “double”. So Jay Green translates it as a word, that it is never translated as, anywhere in the King James and I do not think we are permitted to do that. I think he took that a step too far.

I think we can understand what the idea here is, when we look at one other place where the word “portion” is found. In Psalm 16:5, it says:

JEHOVAH is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

So “JEHOVAH is the portion” and here Hannah is given “a worthy portion”, or a “portion” that somehow relates to the wrath of God.

Then it says, in 1 Samuel 1:5:

…; for he loved Hannah: …

And I think that this would be related to the sacrifice, as this partaking of these portions is related to the sacrifice and the sacrifices point, spiritually to the sacrifice of Christ that he made for His people.

And so that sacrifice, of which Hannah receives “a worthy portion” because it indicates that the LORD sacrificed on her behalf or as she typifies the true believers, it is pointing to His sacrifice for His people. I think that is what is in view.

It goes on to say, in 1 Samuel 1:5-6:

…: but JEHOVAH had shut up her womb. And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because JEHOVAH had shut up her womb.

Now, nowhere else do we read that “the LORD shut up” someone’s “womb.” We do find in a couple of places that the LORD opened a woman’s womb. That kind of language is used to describe Leah when she gives birth or when she conceived, the LORD “opened her womb” and it is used to describe Rachel (Jacob’s wife), when she finally was able to conceive after a period of barrenness. The LORD “opened her womb”, and since, the LORD “opened” their wombs, that means that they had been shut up. And it just means that “Hannah had no children.” She was barren and why was she barren? Well, because it was God’s will. God is the one who gives the blessing of children and no one can force God. We wait on Him for all things and including children.

We have come to the end of our time tonight.