Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 1

Elkanah and his family

1 Samuel 1:3-8

Even during the worst periods of Israelís history, it seems that a few people remained loyal to God. God used those few people to rescue the nation and to carry out his purposes. Those few people mattered more in Godís plans than all the people who were not loyal to him.

Such a man was Elkanah. He lived at a time when even leaders of the priests, Hophni and Phinehas, were behaving in a wicked manner. However, Elkanah still continued to serve God in a loyal manner.

Each year, Elkanah took an animal to Godís house in Shiloh. At this time, Godís house was the sacred tent that Moses had built (Exodus chapter 40). Elkanahís gift to God was the kind that Leviticus chapter 3 describes. The priests burned some parts of the animal as a gift to God, and they kept some parts for themselves. Elkanah received back the rest of the animal for himself and his family to eat.

It was not wrong for Elkanah to have two wives. Godís law permitted him to do that. However, the practice often caused the kind of troubles that Hannah suffered. Often, one wife was cruel to the other wife. Also, the children of different wives often argued and fought against each other. It is better for a man to have only one wife (1 Timothy 3:2).

Although Peninnah was cruel to Hannah, Elkanah himself was kind to Hannah. He realised how difficult it was for Hannah to be without children in such a situation. So he showed her how much he loved her. Even if Hannah never had any children, Elkanah would still love her. But still, Hannah felt deeply sad. She strongly desired to have a son.

Next part: Hannahís reaction to her sad feelings (1 Samuel 1:9-11)

 

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© 2014, Keith Simons.