I tried reading one of those "Read the Bible in a Year", but I found that level of commitment a little daunting, not to mention monotonous. Instead I am going to be typing up my readings on here. Every time I read through the Bible, and I have access to the computer, I will be typing the Bible word for word on here. In my college studies, I've found that if I type my notes, I learn the material better. If it works for college, why not try it with my Bible reading? I really do want to know my Bible better, and I pray that this method will really jumpstart my Bible reading. I was praying in the car about where I should start, and the book of 1 Samuel jumped into my mind, randomly, so I am going to take it as a sign that I should begin my reading/typing there. It would be an added blessing to me if these writings would touch another life while it's blessing mine.
P.s. I will be using the English Standard Version to begin with, although no telling when I might change it. Also, if I have any comments, they will be written in gray font.
1 Samuel 1
(1)There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
(3)Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the LORD. On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the LORD had closed her womb. And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because she LORD had closed her womb. So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat.
(8)And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, "Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?"
(9)After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the LORD. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if you will indeedd look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head."
(12)As she continued praying before the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman.
(14)And Eli said to her, "How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you." But Hannah answered, "No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation." Then Eli answered, "Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him." And she said, "Let your servant find favor in your eyes." Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
(19)They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, "I have asked for him from the LORD."
My prayer for this text:
Dear God, this story has touched me like never before. The anguish the Hannah felt must have been tremendous. She not only had no children, but she was also mocked by her husband's other wife. And yet, through all of that, Hannah knew that she had to turn to You. And she prayed her heart out, despite how it looked to others. Something that jumped out at me this time was Eli's reaction to Hannah's praying. He assumed she was drunk, and was quick to judge. God, I feel like you're warning me about my self-righteousness through this story. I do not have enough compassion for people, so I need Yours. Please help me not judge other people, because they might turn away from You because I have not shown them enough love. Also God, as You remember us in your master plan, just like you did in Hannah's case, please help us to remember You when good things happen. Hannah had a child, because You allowed it, and when he was born, she did not forget to thank You for him and give credit where it was due. Thank you so much for making this passage come to life to me, and let me never forget it. Amen.
1 Samuel 1 cont.
(21)The man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice to pay his vow. But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, "As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the LORD and dwell forever." Elkanah her husband said to her, "Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him; only, may the LORD establish his word." So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him.
(24)And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh. And the child was young. Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli.
(26)And she said, "Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the LORD. For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD." And he worshiped the LORD there.
Wow. The thing that jumps out to me here is what a godly husband Hannah was blessed with. In the beginning of the chapter, we see that he loves her, despite her barrenness. Fertility was a big deal in those days, but he loved Hannah anyway. And here, at the end of the chapter, we see that her husband, Elkanah allows her to follow her pact with God in her own way. He realizes it is her responsibility and does not attempt to tell her what to do. He does encourage her to keep her word, whatever she decides. That is exactly the kind of godly husband I would love to have. I pray that God send me someone like that. We also see that Elkanah himself has made a vow to God, and is very diligent in fulfilling it every year. That shows that he is setting a good example for his family, without being preachy.
Another thing to note is that Samuel was young. Technically, Hannah could probably have waited to wean her child a little longer, and would be able to hold her son with her a little longer. But she realized how important and serious her vow to the LORD was, and if she tried to cheat God out of his servant, she would know in her heart that it was wrong. I pray for that kind of spiritual and moral backbone, that would give me the strength to do what is right by the Spirit, and not by the technicalities of the law.