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Sunday, July 3 2011
Hannah was one of the two wives of Elkanah, a Levite (see also Are Levites 'Jews'?). The English rendering of "Hannah" is from the Hebrew name, pronounced khawn-naw, which means favored. When we first read of Hannah however, she was not feeling at all favored - even though she most certainly was highly favored by the LORD (see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'). As was the case with a few other women of Bible History (Sarah, the mother of Isaac; Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist), Hannah was not able to have the children that she wanted until such time that a birth for a greater purpose would be achieved.
"1:1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite: 1:2 And 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.
It is obvious why Hannah, not Peninnah, was favored by the LORD. Peninnah was cruel and selfish, while Hannah was a faithful woman of God.
"1:7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. 1:8 Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?
Hannah's prayer was answered. She named her child "Samuel," the Hebrew name shawm-oo-ale, meaning heard by God. Interestingly, as was the case with John the Baptist, Samuel too was born under a Nazirite vow (see Nazirites).
"1:17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.
"I have lent him to the LORD"
When Samuel was born, he remained with Hannah only until he was weaned.
"1:21 And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow. 1:22 But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, 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. 1:23 And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him." (1 Samuel 1:21-23 KJV)
Hannah then took her child to Eli the High Priest, where "I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD."
"1:24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young. 1:25 And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli. 1:26 And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. 1:27 For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: 1:28 Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there." (1 Samuel 1:24-28 KJV)
While it could not have been at all easy for Hannah to leave her child (she did thereafter regularly still see him however, see below), moreover Hannah understood that physical life always brings a parting, while the eternal life that is coming is forever. Hannah understood that reality as well as, or better than, any "Christian" today i.e. her statements "I rejoice in thy salvation" and the "LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up."
"2:1 And Hannah prayed, and said,
For the rest of her life, Hannah regularly saw Samuel after that time. Moreover however, after the birth of Samuel, the LORD blessed her with all of the children that she wanted - "three sons and two daughters."
"2:18 But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod. 2:19 Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.
Fact Finder: Hannah's dedicated son Samuel ruled Israel as both judge and prophet of the LORD (see The Prophets: Samuel). When the time of Samuel's service was over, did the people of Israel demand a king for themselves to succeed Samuel? What was the result?
This Day In History, July 3
324: The Battle of Adrianople. Constantine I defeated Licinius.
987: Hugh Capet was crowned King of France, beginning the Capetian dynasty that would rule France until the French Revolution in 1792.
1608: Samuel de Champlain established a settlement at Quebec City, the first in "New France." A few days later, Champlain learned of and thwarted a plot within his own people to end the French fur trading monopoly - to shoot Champlain and hand Quebec to the Basques or Spain.
1754: During the Seven Year War (a European and North American conflict; in North America it is commonly known as the French and Indian War), British forces under George Washington (then a Major in the British Army in Virginia) surrendered Fort Necessity to the French.
1814: During the War of 1812 (1812-14), Fort Erie, Ontario was briefly captured by a U.S. invasion force. It was the last time that foreign troops occupied Canadian territory.
1844: The last known pair of Great Auks were killed.
1886: Karl Benz of Germany introduced the Benz Patent Motorwagen, the first automobile.
1928: In London, John Logie Baird transmitted the world's first color television transmission.
1940: British forces attacked and severely damaged the French fleet at its moorings at Mers-El-Kebir after the French admirals refused to sail it out of Petain's Vichy government control (which was collaborating with their Nazi conquerors). Over 1,300 French sailors were killed in the action.
1962: President Charles de Gaulle of France declared Algeria independent, ending the Algerian War of Independence against France.
1976: Israeli commandos, using 4 Hercules transports and a Boeing 707 command plane, conducted the "Raid on Entebbe" in Idi Amin's Uganda to rescue the hostages (83 of whom were Israelis threatened with death if the Israeli government did not release the 53 Palestinian terrorists it held) aboard an Air France airliner that had been hijacked shortly after takeoff from Athens airport on June 27. The terrorists and a number of Ugandan soldiers were killed; of the 104 captives rescued, 4 were killed. An Israeli officer, Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu (brother of then future Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) was the only Israeli military casualty.
1979: The U.S. began supplying insurgent forces in Afghanistan with military equipment to fight the Russian invasion of Afghanistan.
1987: In France, Klaus Barbie, the Nazi "butcher of Lyon," was jailed for life for wartime crimes against humanity.
1988: The U.S. missile cruiser Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655 over the Persian Gulf just off the coast of Iran, killing all 290 civilian passengers and crew aboard. The captain of the warship reported that he mistook the airliner for a hostile military aircraft.
1996: British Prime Minister John Major announced that The Stone of Scone ("The Stone of Destiny" beneath the seat of the Coronation Chair) would be returned to Scotland. The announcement came on the 700th anniversary of the 400 pound slab of reddish-grey sandstone (of a variety not found in Britain, but which is quite common in the land of Israel) being taken from the Scottish by Edward I in 1296 during the Wars of Independence.
2006: An asteroid passed within 432,308 kilometers / 268,624 miles of Earth (about the distance between the Earth and moon).