« PreviousContinue »
tion of Thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget Thine handmaid, but wilt give unto Thine handmaid a man child, then will I give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.”
Now Eli the priest sat in the temple, and at first when he saw Hannah so much moved, and her lips moving, though her voice was not heard, he thought she was drunken, and rebuked her. Hannah was not angry at being so mistaken; she answered gently and humbly, and said, “ No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD. out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto."
Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of Him." Hannah was very much cheered by this blessing, and she answered, “Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight," and went away joyfully, and her countenance was no more sad.
Hannah and her husband went home to Ramah, and after awhile Hannah's prayer was granted, and she and Elkanah had a son. They
called him Samuel, which means in the Hebrew, “ Asked of God,” saying, “Because I have asked him of the LORD.' That time Hannah did not go up to Shiloh with Elkanah, for she said to him, “I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide for ever." Her husband agreed, saying, “Do what seemeth thee good, tarry till thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish His Word.”
In due course of time they took the little Samuel up to the House of the LORD at Shiloh, with offerings of flour and wine and bullocks, and offered a sacrifice—and then they brought the child to Eli the priest. And Hannah said, “O my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him; therefore also I have lent him to the LORD, as long as he liveth he shall be lent unto the LORD." Then they left Samuel with Eli to be trained up in the worship and fear of the LORD.
Meanwhile Hannah burst forth in prayer very different from the sorrowful complaint she had
once poured out in that holy temple. Now her whole soul was filled with gladness and gratitude, and she prayed and said, "My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD; my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies, because I rejoice in Thy salvation. There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside Thee: neither is there any rock like our God. Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men are broken : and they that stumbled are girded with strength. They that were full have hired out themselves for bread, and they that were hungry ceased : so that the barren hath borne seven, and she that hath many children is waxed feeble. The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: He bringeth down to the grave and bringeth up. The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich : He bringeth low and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory : for the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and He hath set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of His saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness : for by strength shall no man prevail. The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces, out of Heaven shall He thunder upon them : the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth ; and He shall give strength unto His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed."
Then Samuel remained at Shiloh, under Eli's care, and he ministered before the Lord in such things as a child could do, wearing a linen ephod, as our little choristers now wear linen surplices. And every year when Hannah came up to Shiloh to worship with Elkanah, she brought a little coat for her son.
Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and prayed God to reward them for their piety in devoting Samuel to the Lord's service, by giving them other children. And God answered his prayer, and gave them three more sons, and two daughters.
GOD CALLING SAMUEL.
SAMUEL continued to grow in the fear of God, and doubtless he must have been an earnest holy boy, for God was pleased to make
him His special messenger to Eli, while he was yet but a little child.
a One night Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim; Samuel too was laid down to sleep. The lamp of God was yet burning in the temple of the LORD, and all was still. Then in the solemn hush of the night, the LORD called Samuel. But he thought the voice was Eli's, and he ran to the aged priest, and said, “Here am I, for thou didst call me.” But Eli said, “I called not, , lie down again.” So Samuel went and lay down again, but soon he was roused once more by a voice that said, “Samuel.” And once
. more the child rose up and hastened to Eli, saying, “Here am I, for thou didst call me.” But he met with the same answer from Eli, “I called not, my son, lie down again.”
Samuel did not yet know the wonder-working power of the LORD, Who had not yet revealed Himself unto him ; and, therefore, when a third time the Voice was heard, calling him by name, he still thought it could be no other voice than Eli's. So again he arose, and went to hear his master's bidding. But now Eli perceived that it was the LORD Who had called the child; so he bade him return and lie down,