By Luke Johnson | October 3, 2017
Take some time to see how everyone is doing, and to pray for each other.
READ: 1 Samuel 2:1-10
What kinds of opposites or reversals do you notice in Hannah’s prayer?
What sorts of things happen to the:
poor/wealthy, weak/strong, hungry/full, barren/fruitful
What is God’s role in all of this? (What kinds of things does Hannah say about God?)
Think about the end of verse 10: “He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.” -- In your knowledge of Israel’s history, does this strike you as odd in any way?
Israel has no king! For hundreds of years after escaping Egypt, Israel was on repeat:
disobey God → get punished → repent → disobey God → get punished → repent . . .
Each time they repented, a “judge” (a military superhero) would pop up to save them from their enemies. But after the problem was solved, the judge would disappear, and Israel would go back to their bad habits. E.g., Judges 17:6, “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.”
If Israel had no king, why would Hannah refer to God giving strength to his king?
What difference do you think a king would make? (How is a king better than a judge?)
(Kings stick around! And they make laws to bring order to their people’s lives.)
What “king” do you think Hannah is referring to in verse 10?
READ 1 Samuel 1:1-20
What stood out to you? Anything weird / surprising / cool / encouraging / hard to hear?
How would you describe Hannah at the start of the story? What is her life like? (1:1-8)
Do you notice any connections to Hannah’s prayer? (Any reversals?)
(miserable, humiliated, barren → joyful, exalted, son born)
Hannah and Eli the Priest (1:9-18)
1 Samuel really wants us to understand that Hannah’s wish for a son is not some passing whim. Did you notice the emphasis on Hannah’s pain when she shows up at Shiloh?
Look at: 1:10, 1:11, 1:13, 1:15, 1:16
When Hannah is praying, what does Eli the priest think of her? (1:12-14)
What do you think of the vow Hannah makes? (1:11)
Try to imagine what is going on for Hannah: She is a barren woman in a culture where a woman’s worth is determined by how many children (especially sons) she can produce. Her husband has another wife, and that wife is the opposite of barren. Tons of kids!
Have you ever experienced something like that? Been too overwhelmed to speak?
Or have you ever sat with someone who is in the middle of a really awful experience?
What about Eli: Do you find it strange that a priest can’t recognize heart-felt prayer?
How is Eli portrayed in the story so far? (What are we supposed to think of him?)
Despite Eli’s failure, how does the story turn around? (1:17-18)
Hannah is a nobody, a random woman from some far-off town. Eli is a somebody, the spiritual leader of the nation. But this story turns them upside down. Hannah is the one with faith, and the priest is faithless. When Eli finally understands, he is able to speak God’s words to her. Hannah’s example of faith helps him to act like a proper priest.
Barren No More (1:19-20)
Very quickly Hannah’s life has changed. She literally called her son “God Heard Me.”
אֵל = שְמוּאֵל (“God”) + שָמַה (“hears”)
Think about Hannah’s prayer in 2:1-10: Is she just talking about her own situation?
Is there anything in her prayer that sounds bigger than her situation?
God is on the move in 1 Samuel! Some of the most important stuff in the Bible starts here -- things that eventually lead to the coming of Jesus.