The books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles span approximately 600 years from 1000 BC to 400 BC. First and Second Samuel used to be one book. Septuagint translators divided them in 3 B.C. It is surmised that due to the length of the scrolls at the time and size of the book of Samuel, that it was divided. The same for First and Second Kings.
Chronologically I & II Samuel follows Judges and I & II Kings follows Samuel. The six books: I & II Samuel, I & II Kings and I & II Chronicles exhibit a special design. To the lay reader Chronicles is a short repetition of the history set forth in Samuel and Kings as well as a genealogy from Adam to eight generations after Saul. We must raise our level of perception, for Samuel and Kings records these 600 years from a human point of view and God tells us of the events in Chronicles from a spiritual point of view. While Samuel and Kings records history Chronicles shows us the moral implications and divine ramifications. In the Companion Bible-a compilation of E.W. Bullinger's work-there is a table outlining the corresponding scripture between Samuel and Kings and Chronicles (Appendix 56, pg 79). Where there are correlations I will teach them.
Knowing this about these six books gives us a spiritual edge when learning about the Old Testament Believers and events. The Old Testament is for our learning, not just in a natural sense where we see consequences of actions but on a spiritual sense where we see underlying factors involved. What is seen by the five senses is not always the whole truth for there is a spiritual side to everything.
The first Believer we are going to look at in I Samuel is Hannah. Hannah is married to Elkanah an Ephrathite. Elkanah had two wives Peninnah (her name means pearl) and Hannah (her name means grace). Peninnah was able to bear children and gloated in the fact to Hannah. She became an adversary to Hannah provoking her and making her fret (I Sam 1:6).
Remember that the men of Israel were instructed to come to the ark once a year to offer sacrifices and worship? It is still observed here by Elkanah and the ark is in Shiloh which is not too far away from the town on Mt. Ephraim where they live (north east of the Dead Sea about 20 miles (32 km), possibly a journey of a day or so. Hannah would go also. Elkanah loved her more than Peninnah and would give her a double portion to offer. At this time Peninnah would provoke her so much so that Hannah could no longer eat. Elkanah could understand her trouble; it is a BIG deal to be childless. He tried to make it up to her with his loving attention.
What we are going to see here is Hannah's heart toward God. Actions are one thing but what is in a person's heart is what really matters.
I Samuel 1
:9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh,
and after they had drunk.
Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD.
:10 And she was in bitterness of soul,
and prayed unto the LORD,
and wept sore.
:11 And she vowed a vow, and said,
O LORD of hosts,
if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid,
and remember me,
and not forget thine handmaid,
but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child,
then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life,
and there shall no razor come upon his head. [like Samson; a Nazarite]
Hannah was willing to dedicate her child to God. That meant that she would bare him, raise him until he was 12 (estimated age) and then give him to the house of God for service. She would only see him after that once a year when they came to Shiloh for the offerings. Could you do that? I am a mother-that would be very hard emotionally.
Eli, the priest, sees Hannah praying and comes over to her supposing she is drunk when she is actually in extreme sorrow.
:12 And it came to pass,
as she continued praying before the LORD,
that Eli marked her mouth.
:13 Now Hannah,
she spake in her heart;
only her lips moved,
but her voice was not heard:
therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.
:14 And Eli said unto her,
How long wilt thou be drunken?
put away thy wine from thee.
:15 And Hannah answered and said,
No, my lord,
I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit:
I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink,
but have poured out my soul before the LORD.
:16 Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial:
for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief
have I spoken hitherto.
:17 Then Eli answered and said,
Go in peace:
and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.
:18 And she said,
Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight.
So the woman went her way,
and did eat,
and her countenance was no more sad.
God told Eli to let her know that she would have a child. With that knowledge her sorrow lifted-she believed in her heart that what Eli told her would come to pass. Therefore she was not sorrowful any longer.
:19 And they rose up in the morning early,
and worshipped before the LORD,
and came to their house to Ramah:
and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife;
and the LORD remembered her.
:20 Wherefore it came to pass,
when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived,
that she bare a son,
and called his name Samuel, saying, [Samuel; asked of God]
Because I have asked him of the LORD.
God saw Hannah's heart and gave her her petition. She followed through on her promise also. Hannah did not go to Shiloh with Elkanah until Samuel was weaned, which is more than a physical weaning from milk. It entails learning and maturity. The year that Samuel was ready to begin his service Hannah returned with Elkanah to Shiloh and offered a bullock and brought the child to Eli. Bear in mind that this is several years after Eli told her she was going to have a child.
:26 And she said,
Oh my lord,
as thy soul liveth, my lord,
I am the woman that stood by thee here,
praying unto the LORD.
:27 For this child I prayed;
and the LORD hath given me my petition
which I asked of him:
:28 Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; [lent: granted]
as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD.
And he [Samuel] worshipped the LORD there.
Chapter 2 it a wonderful example of Hannah's prayer of thanksgiving to God.
I Samuel 2
:1 And Hannah prayed, and said,
My heart rejoiceth in the LORD,
mine horn is exalted in the LORD:
my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies;
because I rejoice in thy salvation.
:2 There is none holy as the LORD:
for there is none beside thee:
neither is there any rock like our God.
:3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly;
let not arrogancy come out of your mouth:
for the LORD is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
:4 The bows of the mighty men are broken,
and they that stumbled are girded with strength.
:5 They that were full have hired out themselves for bread;
and they that were hungry ceased:
so that the barren hath born seven;
and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.
:6 TheLORD killeth,
and maketh alive:
he bringeth down to the grave,
and bringeth up.
:7 TheLORD maketh poor,
and maketh rich:
he bringeth low,
and lifteth up. [see The Idiom of Permission]
:8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust,
and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill,
to set them among princes,
and to make them inherit the throne of glory:
for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S,
and he hath set the world upon them.
:9 He will keep the feet of his saints, [guard your path]
and the wicked shall be silent in darkness;
for by strength shall no man prevail.
:10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces;
out of heaven shall he thunder upon them:
the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth;
and he shall give strength unto his king,
and exalt the horn of his anointed.
What a beautiful prayer; full of thanks giving and praise exalting God. God continues to bless Hannah for her great heart toward Him.
:18 But Samuel ministered before the LORD,
being a child, girded with a linen ephod. [a simple priests robe]
:19 Moreover his mother made him a little coat,
and brought it to him from year to year,
when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.
:20 And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said,
The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD.
And they went unto their own home.
:21 And the LORD visited Hannah,
so that she conceived,
and bare three sons and two daughters.
And the child Samuel grew before the LORD.
God is well deserving of our prayer and praise for all that he has done for us. For Hannah--God gave her a child and more. For us--we have Christ in us the hope of glory, righteousness, redemption, sanctification, justification and the ministry of reconciliation, the power of God and much more. Let us praise God with the same enthusiasm.