When people feel deeply sad, they do not always behave in the same way. Some people become bitter and angry against God; they blame him for their troubles. However, in other peopleís lives, their troubles cause them to desire God more and to ask for his help.
That is what Hannah did. She desired a son so much that she made an extraordinary promise to God. If God gave her a son, she would not keep that boy for herself. She would give him to God, and he would be a Nazirite for his whole life.
The Nazirites were the people who obeyed the special rules in Numbers chapter 6. They did not cut their hair. They did not eat the fruit called grapes; and they did not drink grape juice or any alcohol. They could not go near to a dead body, so they could not attend a funeral, even for a close relative.
Usually people only became Nazirites for a certain period of time, perhaps a few months. They did it because they wanted to make a special promise to God. However, an angel (special servant of God) had told Samsonís parents that Samson should be a Nazirite for his whole life (Judges 13:2-5). Perhaps Hannah had heard about that; it happened during the same period of Israelís history.
Hannahís prayer was desperate, but her promise was sincere. Her attitudes had changed. She no longer wanted a son in order to please herself and her husband. Instead, she now wanted a son who would serve God. Now she only desired to please God. All that she hoped for, she had handed over to him.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.