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Ruth 4, 1 Samuel 1-2
At the behest of Naomi, Ruth, in effect, proposed marriage to Boaz, who accepted. But according to established law and custom, Boaz had to consult with those who were closer of kin, "in order to restore the name of the dead to his inheritance."
"And Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the next of kin, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by. So Boaz said, "Turn aside, friend; sit down here"; and he turned aside and sat down.
"So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and he went in to her, and The Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son." (Ruth 4:13 RSV)
1 Samuel Chapter 1
Hannah was one of the two wives of Elkanah, a Levite through the line of Kohath, living in Ephraim (Levites lived throughout the other tribal territories). Hannah was unable to have children, a situation that caused her much distress for many years.
"There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children." (1 Samuel 1:1-2 RSV)
Hannah prayed to The Lord for a child, who she would dedicate entirely to The Lord's service i.e. a life-long Nazirite.
"She was deeply distressed and prayed to The Lord, and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, "O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thy maidservant, and remember me, and not forget thy maidservant, but wilt give to thy maidservant a son, then I will give him to The Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head." (1 Samuel 1:10-11 RSV)
Elkanah and Hannah returned home and the prayer was answered favorably.
"They rose early in the morning and worshiped before The Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and The Lord remembered her; and in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, "I have asked him of The Lord." (1 Samuel 1:19-20 RSV)
As promised in her prayer, Hannah delivered her child Samuel to the Tabernacle, then in Shiloh, where he would begin his life of dedicated service.
"And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine; and she brought him to the house of The Lord at Shiloh; and the child was young. Then they slew the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. And she said, "Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to The Lord. For this child I prayed; and The Lord has granted me my petition which I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to The Lord; as long as he lives, he is lent to The Lord." And they worshiped The Lord there." (1 Samuel 1:24-28 RSV)
1 Samuel Chapter 2
Eli was the high priest when Samuel was brought to The Lord's service. Although Eli was apparently honorable, his sons, and awaiting successors, Hophni and Phinehas, were grossly corrupt.
"Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they had no regard for The Lord." (1 Samuel 2:12 RSV)
In the mean time, Samuel lived and grew in The Lord's service. Hannah brought her firstborn son new clothes each year. She had more children over time, but only Samuel was given to the service of the tabernacle.
"Samuel was ministering before The Lord, a boy girded with a linen ephod. And his mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year, when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.
The corrupt behavior of Hophni and Phinehas, and Eli's failure to correct them, eventually brought The Lord's condemnation of that entire line of the priesthood (see the Fact Finder question below).
"Therefore The Lord the God of Israel declares: 'I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me for ever'; but now The Lord declares: 'Far be it from Me; for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed." (1 Samuel 2:30 RSV)
Fact Finder: How did the corruption of Hophni and Phinehas affect the succession of the high priesthood?