1 Samuel 2:21-22
PASSAGE: And the Lord took note of Hannah; she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord. Now Eli was very old. He heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
COMMENT: There are two Books of Samuel in Hebrew Scripture: 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel. Your question didn’t indicate which book you were questioning.
Hannah—like the mothers of other significant men, from Sarah through Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist—was unable to bear children until she was past the childbearing age. This was a great shame in the society of the time, and she prayed fervently that she be allowed to bear a son. She promised that she would leave her firstborn son at the Temple in Jerusalem, to be raised in service to the High Priest. With this promise “her womb was opened” and she gave birth to Samuel.
Because she kept her promise and delivered Samuel to the Temple, Hannah was rewarded with five other children: three sons and two daughters. So here’s one important lesson from this passage: the infinite Love of God will respond generously, with more good than we have even requested, as long as we keep our priorities straight and remember to honor our spiritual Source.
Eli the High Priest is aging. According to tradition, his role would have passed to one of his sons (or been divided among several of his sons). But his sons were not fit for spiritual service; they were more interested in human pleasures and distractions. And so another lesson from this passage is that the Lord (the Presence of God within us) cannot be limited by human rules and traditions. Samuel, Eli and Eli’s sons are about to be caught up in an energy of tremendous change, shaking the collective consciousness free of old beliefs and limitations. When such times of change occur—in our individual lives or in the world as a whole—it is useless to resist. The spiritual energy of our Oneness with God cannot be denied.