1. BARREN AND BETRAYED
a. What brought sadness to Hannah, the wife of Elkanah? 1 Samuel 1:1, 2.
“Elkanah’s love for his chosen companion was deep and unchanging; yet a cloud shadowed their domestic happiness. The home was not made joyful by the voice of childhood. At length the strong desire to perpetuate his name led the husband, as it had led many others, to adopt a course which God did not sanction—that of introducing into a family a second wife, to be subordinate to the first. This act was prompted by a lack of faith in God, and was attended with evil results. The peace of the hitherto united and harmonious family was broken. Upon Hannah the blow fell with crushing weight. All happiness seemed forever swept away from her life. She bore her trials uncomplainingly, yet her grief was none the less keen and bitter.
“Penninah, the new wife, was a woman of inferior mind, and of envious and jealous disposition. As the years passed on, and sons and daughters were added to the household, she became proud and self-
important, and treated her rival with contempt and insolence.”—The Signs of the Times, October 27, 1881.
2. MISJUDGED AND MISUNDERSTOOD
a. Explain the typical scene with Elkanah’s family at the time of the feasts in Shiloh. 1 Samuel 1:3–5.
“Even amid the sacred festivities connected with the worship of God, the evil spirit that had cursed [Elkanah’s] home intruded. After the other sacrifices had been made, it was customary for the peace-
offering to be presented. A specified portion of this was given to the priest, and then the offerer, after distributing to each member of his family a share of the remainder, united with them in a solemn yet joyous feast. Upon these occasions, Elkanah gave the mother of his children a portion for herself and for each of her sons and daughters, and then as a token of regard for Hannah, his first and best-loved wife, he gave her a double portion. This excited the envy and jealousy of the second wife, and she boldly asserted her claims to superiority as one highly favored of God; and she tauntingly pointed to the fact that Hannah had no children, as proof of the Lord’s displeasure toward her.”—The Signs of the Times, October 27, 1881.
b. Describe the bitter extent of Hannah’s suffering. 1 Samuel 1:6, 7.
“This scene was enacted again and again, not only at the yearly gatherings, but whenever circumstances furnished an opportunity for Peninnah to exalt herself at the expense of her rival. The course of this woman seemed to Hannah, a trial almost beyond endurance. Satan employed her as his agent to harass, and if possible exasperate and destroy one of God’s faithful children. At last, as her enemy’s taunts were repeated at one of the yearly feasts, Hannah’s courage and fortitude gave way. Unable longer to conceal her feelings, she wept without restraint. The expressions of joy on every hand seemed mockery to her. She could not partake of the feast.”—Ibid.
c. How did Elkanah try to comfort his dear wife, but in vain? 1 Samuel 1:8.
“It was impossible for Elkanah fully to understand [Hannah’s] feelings or to appreciate the cause.”—Ibid.
3. FAITHFUL AND GRACIOUS
a. What should we learn from Hannah’s character and the solution she sought for her difficulty? 1 Samuel 1:9–11; Psalm 50:15.
“Humility, conscientiousness, and a firm reliance upon God, were ruling traits in [Hannah’s] character.”—The Signs of the Times, October 27, 1881.
“Hannah brought no reproach against her husband for his unwise marriage. The grief which she could share with no earthly friend, she carried to her Heavenly Father, and sought consolation from Him alone. . . . There is a mighty power in prayer. Our great adversary is constantly seeking to keep the troubled soul away from God. An appeal to Heaven by the humblest saint is more to be dreaded by Satan than the decrees of cabinets or the mandates of kings.
“Hannah’s prayer was unheard by mortal ear, but entered the ear of the Lord of hosts.”—Ibid.
b. After being misjudged through the malice of her rival, how was Hannah now misjudged by the high priest in the house of God? 1 Samuel 1:12–14.
“Feasting revelry had well-nigh supplanted true godliness among the people of Israel. Instances of intemperance, even among women, were of frequent occurrence, and now Eli determined to administer what he considered a deserved rebuke.”—Ibid.
c. How does Hannah’s noble response reveal the abundant grace of a Christlike character? 1 Samuel 1:15, 16.
“Hannah had been communing with God. She believed that her prayer had been heard, and the peace of Christ filled her heart. Hers was a gentle, sensitive nature, yet she yielded neither to grief nor to indignation at the unjust charge of drunkenness in the house of God. With due reverence for the anointed of the Lord, she calmly repelled the accusation and stated the cause of her emotion.”—Ibid.
4. SAMUEL’S FIRST THREE YEARS
a. What miracle did the Lord grant in answer to Hannah’s prayer? 1 Samuel 1:17–20.
b. What should we learn from the thoroughness of Hannah’s instruction of young Samuel? Proverbs 22:6.
“During the first three years of the life of Samuel the prophet, his mother carefully taught him to distinguish between good and evil. By every familiar object surrounding him she sought to lead his thoughts up to the Creator.”—Child Guidance, p. 197.
“The first three years is the time in which to bend the tiny twig. Mothers should understand the importance attaching to this period. It is then that the foundation is laid.”—Ibid., p. 194.
“It was Hannah, the woman of prayer and self-sacrifice and heavenly inspiration, who gave birth to Samuel, the heaven-instructed child, the incorruptible judge, the founder of Israel’s sacred schools.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 372.
c. What should we learn from Hannah about the seriousness of vows made to God? 1 Samuel 1:11, 21–28; Ecclesiastes 5:4, 5.
“As soon as the little one was old enough to be separated from his mother, she fulfilled her vow. She loved her child with all the devotion of a mother’s heart; day by day, as she watched his expanding powers and listened to his childish prattle, her affections entwined about him more closely. He was her only son, the special gift of Heaven; but she had received him as a treasure consecrated to God, and she would not withhold from the Giver His own.
“Once more Hannah journeyed with her husband to Shiloh and presented to the priest, in the name of God, her precious gift.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 570, 571.
5. A SONG OF PRAISE AND PROPHECY
a. What was Hannah led to publicly declare with power? 1 Samuel 2:1.
“[Hannah] felt that she could do no less in token of her gratitude than to make a public acknowledgment of the divine mercy and loving-kindness. The spirit of inspiration came upon her, and although a retiring and timid woman, her voice was now heard in the assembly of the people, sounding forth the praise of God. . . .
“The horn is in some animals the weapon of attack and defense; by the use of this figure, Hannah would acknowledge that her deliverance had come from God. In her exultation, there is no vain triumph of self. She rejoices not in Samuel, not in her own prosperity, but in the Lord.”—The Signs of the Times, October 27, 1881.
b. How do Hannah’s words bring us comfort and wisdom? 1 Samuel 2:2–10.
“[1 Samuel 2:3 quoted.] While here referring to Peninnah’s boastful and insolent conduct, Hannah seems also to speak to all the enemies of true godliness, who glory in themselves, and insult and despise the children of faith. Pride and boasting cannot deceive God. He is acquainted with the hearts and the lives of all. By Him actions are weighed. He distinguishes men’s characters, and weighs their motives in the balance. When He sees that it will be for the good of man and for His own glory, He will interpose in behalf of His people. In due time He will reward the righteous and punish the wicked.”—Ibid.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How do many too often repeat the same type of mistake as Elkanah did?
2. What should we do about the “Penninah’s” in our life?
3. In what ways might I be guilty of misjudging someone I know?
4. Explain the work of parents during the first three years of a child’s life.
5. What prompted Hannah to make the public declaration that she did?