Good evening everyone and welcome to eBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of 1st Samuel. This evening we are going to have our fourth study in 1st Samuel and I am going to begin by reading 1 Samuel 1:4-10:
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? So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of JEHOVAH. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto JEHOVAH, and wept sore.
I will stop reading there.
So, we have seen that Elkanah and his two wives went up to Shiloh yearly to attend the feast and Elkanah provided “portions” for Penninah and her children and “a worthy portion” to Hannah, and it is emphasized here that, Hannah’s womb has been “shut up.” She is barren. She has no children, no son and the LORD did it. It is, of course, God’s doing. He is the one that blesses a couple with children. He is the one who creates life in the womb and He is also the one who may be pleased not to.
There are some couples that try to have children, but they cannot, and that is the case with Hannah and Elkanah (her husband). They dearly wanted children, especially Hannah; she longed for a child. She was troubled by this situation. Yet it was all under God’s control.
Even though it was under God’s control and Hannah knew this, still she was troubled when “her adversary”, who was Elkanah’s other wife—Peninnah, “provoked her sore.” We can imagine some of the conversations and just how one woman could let the other woman know that she had been blessed by JEHOVAH. Look at her children and certainly, this indicated favour from God towards her and a lack of favour towards Hannah and that is almost ironic because Hannah’s name means “favour,” “gracious.” And yet, God did not shut up Hannah’s womb because of a lack of favour towards her. Actually, it was His intent to greatly favour her and He would shortly bless her with a son and then, more children following. But, God had His own reasons. He had His own purposes, and one of them has to do with the perfect timing of the will of God. God has a timetable. He has a schedule in which all things will be accomplished, in which He will work out all things and no matter how anxious someone may be, for God to fulfil something, or to accomplish something, that even may be God’s purpose, no one can rush the timetable of God. No one can make God do something ahead of schedule if it is not according to His will to do it at a particular time.
For instance, we could not get God to save us. We could not force him. That was something that was in God’s hands, and we cannot make Christ come. We cannot force God to fulfil His overall salvation plan, and actually, none of the believers of old, none of the saints of the Old Testament could arrange that the Messiah come ahead of schedule. No, no matter how they might have longed for his coming. No matter how desperately they might have beseeched the LORD (and certainly some did), “Oh LORD, how long? How long before You come? How long before You walk upon the earth?” Well, everyone had to wait and they waited over 11,000 years—from the creation, all the way until finally, Jesus would enter into the human race, and this was due to God’s timetable.
Now, God’s people desired Christ’s first coming, they longed for Him to come, and there was nothing wrong with that and they looked for Him to come and they searched diligently, the scriptures, to see what they could find out concerning the time, of His coming, and there is nothing wrong with that. There is also nothing wrong for God’s people to search diligently, the scriptures to find out about His second coming, if God is pleased to reveal information.
So here we find that Hannah is in a grievous situation “And her adversary” (this word “adversary” here, is the feminine form of a word that is translated as “adversary” elsewhere).
For instance, it is used in Esther 7:6, in the masculine form to describe “Haman,” when Esther said to the king, “The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman.” And there “Haman” typified Satan. Well, everyone who is contrary to God and His will, who is unsaved in the kingdom of darkness, ultimately is an adversary to the Kingdom of God and to the people of God.
And so, here we have these two women who are in conflict and the “adversary” was able to provoke Hannah, “… for to make her fret, …”, it says in verse 6.
The word “fret” is interesting. It is not translated as “fret” very often. But it is translated as “roar”, as “the roaring of” a “sea”, and it is translated as “thunder,” several times and in both cases, the waves roaring of the sea breaks the quiet calm of still waters and the thunder that shakes the sky, breaks the peaceful still of the skyline or the quiet of the sky, and that is the idea with Hannah.
She was not peaceful, in her heart, peaceful in her mind. This was greatly disturbing her, and why? Well, the “adversary” provoking her, had a lot to do with it but, the end of verse 6 really has the answer to why Hannah was so disturbed “because JEHOVAH had shut up her womb.”
And Hannah must have wondered, “Oh LORD, oh LORD, You have made me and created me and given me such a burning desire to have a child; and yet, You have withheld the child from me. Oh, I love my husband and I want to give him a son; and yet, You have withheld this, Oh LORD and on the other hand, his other wife Peninnah, you have given several children to.” And so, we can see how Hannah would have fretted. She would have been very distraught, because she realized that this is the will of God; and so, she was concerned regarding her relationship with God.
In 1 Samuel 1:7, it goes on to say:
And as he did so year by year (that is referring to Elkanah), when she went up to the house of JEHOVAH, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.
This was an ongoing occurrence, “year by year,” at the time of the feast, especially. This is the time when “portions” were given to children and, even though Hannah received “a worthy portion,” still, she had no children to receive any portions and notice that she did not eat the portion given to her. It got to the point where it affected her appetite and she would not eat. She also wept. Hannah typifies the body of believers, the Elect people of God, and God tells us in a couple places that His people (the children of God) do weep.
We read in, The Gospel of Luke 6:20-21:
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
This is a parallel Gospel account to the Beatitudes, that we read about in Matthew, and this statement, “… Blessed are ye that weep now: …” is a statement that covers, really, the situation of the believers in this world. One day the believers will laugh, that is, they will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven and it will be an occasion of tremendous rejoicing and just laughter. A burden will have been lifted. But, until then, there is weeping and there is sorrow and the believers are full of mourning.
We see this also, in James 4 and it says in James 4:6-10:
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
So the “laughter” “turned to mourning,” and we see “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep.” That is, God is giving us instruction and He is telling us, “do not be deceived and do not fall for the ‘eat, drink and be merry’ and ‘have a good time as possible’ attitude of the world.” It is the world’s mindset to enjoy life and to laugh it up. This is why there is so much drinking going on because it makes for light heartedness and it causes people to forget their troubles.
And so, the focus is on how much enjoyment and pleasure and how much laughter I can get out of each day. This is the focus, for much of the world—to have a good time and to enjoy yourself. But God says, “No, no, do not fall for that, even though it is everywhere around you.” It could be embedded into your family’s way of thinking. It is certainly embedded into your neighbours’ way of thinking. If you turn on the T.V., it is embedded in the shows that you will see. It comes across in just, all sorts of ways that the most important thing, or one of the top things that people strive for is pleasure, is laughter and enjoyment of their time here. And yet, God says, “no, no. Be willing. Be ready.” Actually, the Bible tells us, “It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: …”
Be prepared to be afflicted and troubled, and to experience grief, because if you experience the salvation of God, if you are translated out of the kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of God’s dear son, into the Kingdom of Light, you will experience these things, during your stay on earth, because “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you”, and the things that go on in this world, do not produce laughter in the “new spirit” of the child of God, but they grieve the “spirit” of the child of God. Sin is grievous to God and grievous to the “spirit” that He imparts and places within His people, and it produces a mournful attitude towards an individual’s own sin, towards sin, that he sees around him.
Remember, the Bible tells us of Lot, that he had had “his righteous soul” “vexed” “from day to day with their unlawful deeds.” Perhaps Lot, prior to his salvation, would have had no problem with many of the happenings in Sodom. But after salvation, it was a “righteous soul,” the spirit of Christ within him. And so “his” “soul” was “vexed,” and sin will bring this about, in the life of the child of God, so that there is weeping.
No wonder there is a longing therefore, in the believer, which is typified by Hannah for, as she pictures the believers of old time, who were looking to the first coming of Christ (to the Messiah) and they too, mourned and wept and they were crying out to God for the fulfilment of His promise to bring the Messiah into the human race.
It says in 1 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?
That is quite a statement by Elkanah. He loved her and he was a good husband to her, but he could see how much she wanted children; and yet, he says, “am not I better to thee than ten sons?” That is, if you could have ten sons, is not your marriage to me and I, your husband, better than those ten sons? I think we have to look at this spiritually to see what God is saying here.
Let us turn to Isaiah 56. In Isaiah 56:4-5, it says there:
For thus saith JEHOVAH unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
What is God saying here to “the eunuchs?” Well, first of all, what is a eunuch? A eunuch is someone who is physically incapable of having children, and many times, they were eunuchs, made to be eunuchs by their fellow man. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are examples of that.
They were taken captive and their Babylonian rulers turned them into eunuchs and this would be the case with men that were brought to serve the king and the queen, in the palace. Often, they were made eunuchs and a eunuch was physically incapable of having a son or having a child of any kind. They could not have children.
And so, God is speaking to eunuchs and these eunuchs here in Isaiah are typifying, again, true believers—those that keep His sabbaths, that is, the sabbath rest which would be found in the salvation of Christ for them. They do not trust in their own works at all, but in the work of Christ, that His Faith has saved them and God gives them a promise, “… unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: …”
So “the eunuchs” in this case are similar to Hannah. Hannah wanted children, but Hannah could not have children, at least not up until the point we are reading, and eunuchs also, I am sure, would have desired children, but it was an impossibility for them to have children and God says, “Look, I will do something better, for you, eunuchs who trust in me, you who believe in me. It will be better than sons and better than daughters, better than children.”
Why do people, so much desire children? Why does a man or a woman want a son or want a daughter? Well, a man wants a son, in order to continue his name, so his name can be carried into another generation and for generations to come. This is all part of the desire of wanting sons and daughters, and God is saying, “Look, you eunuchs, you may not be able to have children. But I will do something better. I will give you ‘an everlasting name, that’ will ‘not be cut off.’”
When you die and you do not have children, in this world your name is cut off. You have no one to carry on your name. But, in salvation, God is indicating here, that you will have an eternal name—a name that will be carried on, into eternity future; and so, that is better than “sons and” “daughters”.
That is spiritually what Elkanah is saying to Hannah, to the one who has found favour in his sight, the bride of Christ, “I am better to you than ten sons and the completeness of children. If you could have all the children that you could imagine, I am much better because all the children that you would have, and their children, and their children after them, will finally come to an end. Their name will be cut off in this world, but I am better to you because I will give you an everlasting, eternal name that you will receive in salvation and your name will endure forever.” And so, this is a wonderful truth that God is emphasizing with this statement from Elkanah to the grieving Hannah, that he is better to her than ten sons.
It goes on in 1 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 a post of the temple of JEHOVAH.
So Hannah rises up after the portions have been consumed, after these observance of this feast that they typically did, each year and after the food and the drinking, and she goes to the temple. But there we find Eli, the priest.
And again, Eli’s name possibly, or it appears to point to “lofty” or “that which is above”, and here he is seated at the temple. He “sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of JEHOVAH.” Now, wherever we read “post”, this particular word in the Old Testament, it is related to the door frame or “the post of the gate”. It is part of the door. It is actually translated as “door post” in one other place.
So, Eli is a priest and he is sitting “upon a seat” and the word “seat” here, is translated as “throne” numerous times. Actually, if you look up the word “throne” in your Strong’s Concordance, you will find that, it is only one word used in the Old Testament, in all the places that it is found, speaking of kings and their sitting upon their thrones and it is this particular word, where “Eli the priest sat upon a” throne, or a “seat by a post of the temple of JEHOVAH.” So he was seated on a throne by the door to “the temple of the LORD.”
We will get more into this in our next study. We will take a little bit better look at Eli and also we will find out some of the reasons why Hannah “was in bitterness of soul,” as it says, and God has a very interesting reason for making that statement.