Hannah longs to have children but is childless. Adding to her misery, she’s harassed by everyone around her. Though, she is her husband’s (Elkanah) favorite wife he dismisses her infertility and fails to protect her from verbal assaults from his other wife, Peninnah, who endlessly torments her. Then, when she prays in earnest, Eli, the priest, accuses her of being drunk. Hannah’s life is in constant turmoil.
At her breaking point, Hannah cries out to God. She begs him for a son. In return, she promises to give him to God for a lifetime of service.
Unlike everyone else, God understands Hannah. He answers her plea, giving her a son, Samuel, just as she requested. She responds by singing to God: celebrating his power, the elevation of the oppressed, and the abasement of those overly confident. A few lines of her ode may be digs at Peninnah, her chief tormentor.
After Samuel is weaned, Hannah presents him to Eli for a lifetime of service to God, just as she promised. Each year when Hannah and her family make their pilgrimage to the temple, she sees young Samuel and gives him a new robe.
God then blesses Hannah with five more children.
[Read about Hannah in 1 Samuel 1-2.]
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