Hannah now had the son that she had so much desired. However, she had promised God that she would give her son to him (1:11).
She explained her intentions to her husband. The boy would remain at home with her while he still needed his motherís milk.
In ancient Israel, the time when a child no longer needed his motherís milk was an opportunity for a special party (Genesis 21:8). However, for young Samuelís parents, this was a very serious occasion. This was the day when they had promised to hand over their son as a gift to God.
On this day, they took Samuel to Godís house, the sacred tent at Shiloh. With him, they took some valuable gifts to offer to God. When they had offered their gifts, they handed their son over to Eli, the chief priest. Then they left Samuel there. Now he belonged to God.
Leviticus 27:1-8 refers to the gift of people to God; Judges 11:34-39 may refer to the same thing. Those passages are difficult to understand; 1 Samuel chapter 3 explains the nature of Samuelís work more clearly. Eli looked after the boy; Samuel had to carry out duties as Eliís servant. Samuel could not become a priest because he did not belong to the families of the priests (1 Chronicles 6:16-28). So, Samuelís duties were physical tasks, for example to act as a guard, to look after lamps, to carry water or wood.
Such was the work that Samuelís parents probably expected him to do for the rest of his life. However, they did not yet know about Godís plans for their son. When they gave their boy to God, God accepted their gift. God had prepared a great work for Samuel to do as his (Godís) servant.
Next part: Hannahís prayer (1 Samuel 2:1)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.