Read 1 Sam. 1:20-28
Hannah spent time in the temple praying to God of Heaven. Her prayer was from a position of pain, she was heartbroken and crushed because she wanted to be blessed by God and wanted that blessing to be manifested by birthing a child. God knew Hannah was loyal and trustworthy; he knew she would keep her vow, so God chose Hannah to be the one to birth the priest God was looking for.
Hannah knew she had reached the throne room of God, her spirits immediately lifted and she returned to the feast celebrations with her family. Hannah and Elkanah really celebrated once they returned home because God remembered her and she became pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.
The dads were given the opportunity to name their sons, this was an important task, but in this case Hannah named her son, she named him Samuel. She explains that she named the boy because she is the one who asked for him from the Lord. She endured the pressure, the pain; she was the one who looked like a fool trying to get the breakthrough and she was the one who made the unbreakable covenant with the Lord. The covenant where she would place her son in the protection and care of Eli, the High Priest at the temple, so he would grow and be close to the Lord.
Hanna had a discussion with her husband reminding him of the vow she made with the Lord and how once she made the trek to the temple their son would then stay there. Right now, though, he was way too young, he was still nursing. In those days the typical age for weaning was around age three. So once Samuel was old enough to go to preschool, would be the age where he would be presented to the Lord by his mother to live in the temple for the rest of life.
Elkanah agreed with Hannah, this is what is best for their son, and they were exempt from making this trip. There are certain times in life where we may not be able to participate in certain religious events. God does not hold that against Hannah or Elkanah and he will not hold that against us as long as our intentions are pure and our motives are right.
Before he leaves Elkanah gives Hannah his blessing. One commentary mentioned that he said a prayer. I like that, I like that because there is something extremely powerful and intimate when a man prays for and blesses his wife. “Only let the Lord establish his word.” Samuel was born under special circumstances which is enough for them to know that Samuel was created for extraordinary things. His life would be unique and distinct.
The word of the Lord Elkanah was speaking of refers back to Hannah’s prayer. I believe the Spirit of God placed the vow to give Samuel to God on Hannah’s lips. I believe that she was praying from the Spirit. I believe that is the word Elkanah wanted the Lord to establish, to come to pass and he was affirming this.
Fast forward a few years and Samuel is now weaned and it is time for Hannah to have him dedicated to the house of the Lord. Elkanah has always made sure each of his family members has an appropriate amount of sacraments to offer the Lord, this time is only slightly different as he adds an extra bull, one that is three years old. This three year old bull will be sacrificed on behalf of Samuel. This bull represented Samuel’s consecration to the Lord and was also a burnt-offering representing Samuels lifelong sacrifice of service.
The bull would have been brought into the tabernacle, bound. Hannah and Elkanah would have brought Samuel in, the toddler would have laid his hands on the bull, honoring the sacrifice this animal represented. Once the sacrifice was made, the only thing left was to present Samuel to Eli.
A few years has passed and Hannah reintroduces herself to Eli, reminding him that she is the one who prayed so fervently Eli thought she was drunk. She says, “I am the one who stood right here, beside you praying to the Lord”. Eli thought this was strange because for one 1) he did not hear Hannah make this vow to God. Remember she was praying, but no words could be heard, her lips were moving but Eli could not hear what she was saying to the Lord.
The second 2) reason he thought this was odd is because the typical age for a Levite to be admitted into the priesthood was age 25, Samuel is 23 years too early. The scripture reads as though Hannah had a lot of convincing to do. Eli was not very receptive to taking on this young boy.
Hannah does her best to convince him, saying “As my soul lives, my Lord” we might understand it better wording it a little differently. “I’m telling the truth my Lord, I stood right here, right beside you and prayed this prayer. I prayed for this child”. Hannah is giving back to the Lord what the Lord first gave her.