Book of 1 Samuel · Sunday Morning Book Club

Double the Offering

Read 1 Samuel 1:1-8

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What we have here is a family who loves and fears the Lord.  This is the family of Elkanah who is from Ramathaim which is located in the hill country of Ephraim which is north of Jerusalem.  Elkanah’s ancestors are originally from the city or mountain area of Ephraim.  

Ephrathite is another description given and it is a Canaan city name; Bethlehem is the Hebrew name.  So going forward anytime you see Ephrathites written, those people are associated with the city of Bethlehem.  This tidbit could open up all sorts of golden nuggets, or hidden mickey’s as I like to say.

Elkanah had two wives, we are in the OT people.  One named Hannah, whose name means grace and who was barren and one named Peninnah, whose name means ruby colored and who had children.  As I said this family loves and fears the Lord, they were obedient to the laws and were careful to observe the feasts.  Year after year Elkanah and his wives and his children would travel to Shiloh where they would worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty.  

They lived in Ramathaim and every year they traveled to Shiloh.  Which brings me to my first question, what is Shiloh anyway?   Could be used to describe a person who would bring the promise of peace and tranquility-Our Lord, our Savior for example.  In this context Shiloh is a place.  In the hills of Ephraim is the place where the Israelites built a tabernacle in which they placed the Arc of the Covenant.  The arc was housed in this temple for three centuries and was the place of worship and sacrifice to the Lord of Hosts or Jehovah Sabaoth.  God’s arc was in Shiloh and so God’s presence was there.  

Now, this is the first time the Bible designates God as Jehovah Sabaoth.  This is important because, as I said, there is a huge transition about to take place in the history of Israel.  Israel will soon be under authority of a monarchy, they will soon be ruled by kings.  God takes on the name of Lord of Hosts, which is what Sabaoth means “armies” or hosts is the Hebrew.  So God is now establishing himself as the sovereignty over all powers in the universe.  That God is the God of armies both earthly and heavenly. Basically setting the tone for His position in regards to what is about to come.    

I want to give props to Elkanah before moving on.  He was a man who honored God in his worship but also in the way he led his family spiritually.  You see men are the head of the house.  They have a huge responsibility given to them from God to make sure their families honor, love and serve the Lord.  The wife and children are positioned under his “umbrella”, they are under his covering and so it’s extremely important that men remain righteous before God.

The feast celebration in this particular scenario is most likely the Festival of Tabernacles.  This is significant because this particular festival celebrated God’s care for his people during the wilderness journey and it typically falls around Sept.-Oct.  So, at the end of their growth season they would take their offering to the temple and give it to the Lord.  The more they gave the more God would bless them the next growing season.  

Other areas of significance with this particular festival is that it is a “fellowship offering” or “peace offering” and it is done by freewill.  Meaning, the worshipper gave this offering as a way of saying “thank you” to the Lord for his generosity.  The other reason for giving this offering was to accompany a fulfilled vow.  For example, if you made a vow to God in exchange for his meeting a need you have, this offering is you holding up your end of that agreement.  Lastly, this offering is done as a way of thanking God for delivering you in your time of dire need. 

With the name “fellowship offering” you would expect fellowship and you would be correct.  Worshippers could not eat or take from any other offering, this is the one offering where the priests only took a portion of the meat or grain, the rest was given back to the worshipper so they could eat.  The worshippers family would then eat/feast on what God has provided back to them.  It’s beautiful because it shows us that God is not interested in taking from us, he gives and he wants to fellowship with us.     

Whenever Elkanah planned out his sacrifices he would make sure his wives had their portion as well.  He made sure everyone in his family had everything they needed to take to the Lord.  He was a very blessed man and he made sure he gave generously to the Lord.  To his wife Peninah he gave her and each of their sons and daughters a portion.

But to Hannah he gave a double portion. Because he loved her, and the Lord closed her womb.  Elkanah made sure that Hannah had a double portion.  If your Peninah you might be a little jealous over this.  Vs. 5 says he gave Hannah a double portion because he loved her.  But, did you catch the last part of this verse?  He loved her AND the Lord had closed her womb.  

Remember what this festival represents, it is a time to offer up a sacrifice to God for his generosity, for meeting a vow, and for deliverance in a time of need.  This is the time to appeal to a God who is generous, who keeps his promises and delivers His children.  Hannah has too much at stake and she cannot afford to be skimpy with her offerings.  She is giving to the Lord out of her need.  I ask you, when you have a need, no matter what it is, do you give a double offering to the Lord?  Or do you give the same ole skimpy offering you’ve always given?

The Lord closed Hannah’s womb; Elkanah loved his wife and so he gave her a double amount to present to the Lord.  The Lord closed the womb and the Lord was the only one who could open it.  

Year after year salt would be added to Hannah’s wound.  Vs. 6 says “her adversary” or “her rival” kept provoking her.  She was harassed and irritated.  Constantly reminded of her childless life, it became so terrible that Hannah would just weep.  Hannah would cry and sob, agonizing over this pain she felt as her heart would break over and over again.  It was so bad she would not even eat from the provision given back to her at the festival. 

It’s likely that Peninah was the rival that this verse speaks of, however, the word adversary means anguish and distress and it means satan.  Satan must have had a sense of what God wanted to do in Hannah’s life and in the lives of her offspring because he tried to get Hannah to stop worshipping God, he did not want Hannah to have fellowship with God because it is during that time of intimate prayer that you get your breakthrough.  

Satan used Peninah as the main person to go along with his plan, which was to remind Hannah every year of her anguish and to put her in distress. Isn’t it interesting how the enemy works, how he will harass you when you are on the path God wants you on.  Somehow he knows when God is about to present a breakthrough, when God is about to move and he will stop at nothing to try to get you to turn away and change course.  We need to do what Hannah did and we will find out what that is next week.

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