Good evening everyone and welcome to our ongoing study in 1st Samuel. Tonight will be study number 12 in 1st Samuel and we are still in chapter 1. Let us begin reading in 1 Samuel 1:19-24:
And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before JEHOVAH, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and JEHOVAH remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of JEHOVAH. And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto JEHOVAH the yearly sacrifice, and his vow. But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before JEHOVAH, and there abide for ever. And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only JEHOVAH establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him. 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 JEHOVAH in Shiloh: and the child was young.
Last time we were looking at verses 19 and 20 and we saw how God remembered Hannah. He “remembered her.”. We were looking at how that really relates to God remembering His mercy because Hannah’s name means “mercy”. And so, as God remembered Hannah’s prayer (her request for a child), well, spiritually, He is remembering His mercy and this is because Hannah’s child: Samuel (this boy), is a type and a figure of the Lord Jesus Christ, especially, here at his birth, as he will typify the Lord Jesus.
Christ, as He entered into the human race, was the fulfilment of all of God’s promises and of all the glorious statements of hope that we find in the Bible where God indicated that He would send “the Messiah” that would come and “make manifest” (“shew”), the mercy that God had worked out from “before the foundation of the world”, on behalf of His chosen people, the Elect.
So, God “remembered” Hannah; He “remembered” His “mercy”. Then it says in 1 Samuel 1:20:
Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, …
We also mentioned that the name Samuel means “heard of God”. It is really an excellent name. The Israelites (Hebrews) had a good practice of naming their children names, such as this, that had significance and meaning. Every time Hannah would call her child and say, “Samuel”, she was reminding herself that God is a God that answers prayer—that God had heard her prayer and God had given her the desire of her heart, in this manner, in giving her this boy. It says at the end of 1 Samuel 1:20 and into 1 Samuel 1:21:
…, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of JEHOVAH. And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto JEHOVAH the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.
So now, time has passed, once again and it is that time of the year to return to Shiloh, just as the book of 1st Samuel opened up with Elkanah travelling with his family to Shiloh in order to offer their yearly sacrifices. This is something that they did every year. Elkanah, being a Levite and an Israelite and being a faithful man of God (as from what we can tell), consistently wanted to follow the dictates of the Bible. God indicated that His people were to worship Him and they were to offer sacrifices.
This was the time before the cross and these were the days prior to the Messiah’s coming into the world. All of the sacrifices that God had commanded, that should be offered to Him typified, illustrated and pointed to the coming of Christ and the atoning work of Jesus.
And so these sacrifices were very important and Elkanah regularly and consistently went in obedience to God’s command, to offer up the sacrifices at a particular feast and he brought his family, as long as they were willing to go and they were. He took his wives, Peninnah and Hannah, and he took his children (Peninnah’s children) and he now was getting ready to go and yet, Hannah decides not to go as usual. It says in 1 Samuel 1:22-23:
But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before JEHOVAH, and there abide for ever. And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only JEHOVAH establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.
So Elkanah listened to his wife. He understood her situation. He agreed with her and he decided to go without Hannah and without Samuel, so he just went with Peninnah and her children to the feast to offer his “yearly sacrifice, and his vow” because vows were a part of the worship of God. They were Biblical.
He was content to leave Hannah at home. He thought that she had a very good reason for deciding to stay and she did. She wanted to first wean her child Samuel before taking him there. She had said that she would give that baby (if God heard her request) to the LORD and as it says here in the end of 1 Samuel 1:22:
…, that he may appear before JEHOVAH, and there abide for ever.
So, Hannah had determined in her mind that this is what she was going to do to. She was going to fulfil the vow which she had made (her vow), with the child; and so, there would be plenty of time for Samuel to spend in Shiloh and plenty of time for him to be at the tabernacle. She intended to take him where he would be put into fulltime service of the ministry of the LORD and until then, she wanted to spend all the time she could with him and wean him.
It says at the end of 1 Samuel 1:23:
…. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.
We can understand that this idea is that Samuel was a very young baby (a newborn) and he was being breastfed and needed his mother’s milk. She was feeding him and giving him the milk that he needed. The word “weaned” we find in Genesis 21, and here it is talking about Sarah, in Genesis 21:6-8:
And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age. And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.
So, Sarah too, was a barren woman. Of course, she was much older than Hannah and it really was nothing but a miracle that God opened Sarah’s womb and blessed her with a son in her old age. Women her age just do not have children, but God worked it out so that Sarah could give birth. She was even able to give her son “suck”, just like Hannah was doing. So, we can understand that this is part of the process of weaning. Notice in Genesis 21:8:
And the child grew, and was weaned: and (then) Abraham (after “the child” “was weaned”) made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.
This would in all likelihood, point that, now baby Isaac was moving away from breast milk and was now able to eat some stronger meat. He would begin to grow and develop with table food and other kinds of food and he was becoming an older boy. This is what Hannah wanted to do.
She wanted to make sure that Samuel could eat regular food. It would make no sense to take him to Shiloh when he still needed breast milk.
Her plan was to leave him there and not to stay with him; and so, it would take a few years before he was old enough at least, to eat regular food and also old enough to stay pretty much on his own because we do not read of a nurse maid given to Samuel at the temple (or at the house of God).
As a child, he just seemed to live there and begin to minister there and it seems that he only had interaction with Eli. I am sure that he had interaction with other people, but we do not find that he had a nurse or a female watching over him. His mother would leave him there and then only when she came up to the feast yearly, as we read that Elkanah continues to do that in 1st Samuel 2 and Hannah would bring “a little coat” she made and would take it to Samuel every year. Then she would bring it back to enlarge it because he was growing.
Now what does this weaning mean spiritually? There is an interesting verse in Psalm 131. It is a short Psalm which has just three verses and we will read the whole thing. In Psalm 131:1-3, we read:
A Song of degrees of David. JEHOVAH, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in JEHOVAH from henceforth and for ever.
From this language of Psalm 131:2, we can see that this is pointing to and indicating someone who is maturing in soul and in behaviour:
… I have behaved and quieted myself, …
This word “quieted” is the same as in Psalm 4:4 where it speaks of communing “with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.”. “be still” is the word “quieted”.
Or in Psalm 37:7, it is translated as the word “rest”, where it says:
Rest in JEHOVAH, …
So it is pointing to a spiritual event that takes place here, in the life of a child of God. It is a Psalm of David and he was a true believer and he was given a new heart and a new spirit.
Yet, we are “born again” (when we become saved). So, we are like “infants”, we are like babies, we are “young children” and God raises us that way, spiritually. He treats us that way. The Bible is full of language about that.
Before we get to that, let us take a look at Judges 4 and I want to look at a couple of verses related to “Deborah”, who was a judge and “a prophetess”. It says in Judges 4:8-10:
And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for JEHOVAH shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh. And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him.
“Barak” is a picture of Christ and he goes up to this battle with “ten thousand men”, just as Jesus comes “with ten thousands of his saints”. But, is it not interesting that “Barak” “will not go” and he makes a point of stressing that he “will not go” unless “Deborah” the judge goes with him. We wonder how he can be a picture of Christ and still insist that a woman must go with him? Why would God make this kind of connection?
Once we understand that the name “Deborah” is the feminine form of dâbâr (daw-bawr’) and dâbâr (daw-bawr’) is the Hebrew word for “word”, where we read of the “word of God”: “… Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Note: the speaker made a mistake by quoting the words from Psalm 119:11 because the “word” in Psalm 119:11 is H565 and not H1697. Instead, the words from Psalm 119:105 were used in the transcript. The “word” in Psalm 119:105 is H1697.) That word is dâbâr (daw-bawr’) and in many, many, many other places in the Old Testament when we see that English word, that is the Hebrew dâbâr (daw-bawr’).
“Deborah” is the feminine form of dâbâr (daw-bawr’), so we can see, of course, that Christ is intimately involved with the “word of God”. Actually, He is “the Word” “made flesh” and Barak’s insistence of not going to the battle without “Deborah” (without the “word”) is perfectly understandable spiritually, that of course, Christ would do nothing apart from the Word of God being with Him.
Deborah says of herself, as God moves her to say this, in Judges 5:7:
The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.
Now we have this picture where “Deborah” the judge was watching out over Israel, which was an unusual task for a woman to have. It is a rarity in the Bible. Normally, when God uses individuals, they are men and especially in authority and in leadership all throughout the Bible, consistently, it is men. But, on occasion God gives an example like “Deborah”.
Of course, the church today, which is hand-in-hand with the world and the world has the mentality that everything must be equal and women must have equal authority and power as men. That is fine out in the work place or in other situations, but the Bible does specify that “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”.
The modern world does not understand that. That is something that they would feel is biased and anti-feminist and yet, God is, of course, wiser than the world and wiser than man and it is His plan and He has established authority as to how the Gospel is to go into the world. Actually, Men are to teach the Gospel.
But here, with this rare exception, “Deborah” is a judge and she says “…, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.”. So, we can see how “Deborah” who is representing (typifying) the “word of God.” is acting as “a mother in Israel.”. What does a mother do? A mother gives “suck” and a mother weans her children.
If we go to the New Testament, in 1 Peter 2:1-3, God carries that idea into this Epistle:
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
The Bible is what brings life. The “word of God” quickens. It is “alive” itself and the way in which God saved was to send forth His word into the world and to “quicken” individuals through it, so that they would become “born again” and receive a new spirit and at that moment of salvation (which, in all probability, an individual is not aware of and may not be aware of it for quite some time), yet, that person becomes like a newborn infant (spiritually) and what is the best thing for a newborn child? To drink his mother’s milk and to feed upon the milk of his mother.
The Word of God is likened to a mother. And so, those that are newly in Christ are to read the Bible and learn from God. They are to listen to the Bible and God will feed His people and begin to nurture them and nourish them and they will begin to grow.
Now, of course, we have to remember the day that we are living in. This is why when we read in Matthew 24, these words, that it is so tragic today. It says in Matthew 24:19:
And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
This is referring to the time of the “great tribulation” and those in the churches and the congregations had the Bible and as the Bible was taught and shared to the “newborn” (to the young), it is like milk.
But, God speaks of a “famine” in the land. He speaks of a time of just a horrible period when there is no nourishment, when there is no “milk of the word,” because you can have “the word,”, but without the blessing of God behind it, it is as though it is nothing. And so, children are not nourished. This is also why we read in Lamentations 4:3-4:
Even the sea monsters draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones: the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness. The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the young children ask bread, and no man breaketh it unto them.
It is an ugly picture of women that have no milk. They are dry and have nothing to give their children; and so, “And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!”. We have lived through it and we have seen what God is talking about.
We have really, a vivid image in our minds whenever we hear the gospels of today and we hear how far astray they have gone from the truth of the Word of God. When we know that God has left the churches and given them up, it is a tragedy that this is the case.
Now, the idea is that the newborn feeds upon his mother, so the child of God feeds upon the Word of God. They drink “the sincere milk of the word”. But then, there should be a moving on, a maturing and a growing up, spiritually and Hebrews 5:12-14 talks about this:
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
So God indicates that, yes, milk is good and of course, feeding upon the Word of God, learning the basics of the Word of God and learning these things of “the first principles of the oracles of God” are necessary. Who would say that a mother’s milk is not good and necessary?
However, it is also necessary to grow, to mature and to develop. Just think of someone in the physical world, if he continued to drink mother’s milk at a later and later age. After years and years and years, it would get to the point of ridiculousness. It would be a foolish thing. You have to grow up. It is so obvious. You need to eat meat. You need to eat solid food—“strong meat” and not “milk”.
And yet, the case with the vast majority of the Christian world today is a Christian world that is continuing with the “milk” and they do not want any part of “strong meat”.
We will have to continue this the next time we get together.