1 Samuel 1

** In this book we have an account of Eli, and the wickedness of

his sons; also of Samuel, his character and actions. Then of the

advancement of Saul to be the king of Israel, and his ill

behaviour, until his death made way for David's succession to

the throne, who was an eminent type of Christ. David's patience,

modesty, constancy, persecution by open enemies and feigned

friends, are a pattern and example to the church, and to every

member of it. Many things in this book encourage the faith,

hope, and patience of the suffering believer. It contains also

many useful cautions and awful warnings.

* Elkanah and his family. (1-8) Hannah's prayer. (9-18) Samuel,

Hannah presents him to the Lord. (19-28)

1-8 Elkanah kept up his attendance at God's altar,

notwithstanding the unhappy differences in his family. If the

devotions of a family prevail not to put an end to its

divisions, yet let not the divisions put a stop to the

devotions. To abate our just love to any relation for the sake

of any infirmity which they cannot help, and which is their

affliction, is to make God's providence quarrel with his

precept, and very unkindly to add affliction to the afflicted.

It is evidence of a base disposition, to delight in grieving

those who are of a sorrowful spirit, and in putting those out of

humour who are apt to fret and be uneasy. We ought to bear one

another's burdens, not add to them. Hannah could not bear the

provocation. Those who are of a fretful spirit, and are apt to

lay provocations too much to heart, are enemies to themselves,

and strip themselves of many comforts both of life and

godliness. We ought to notice comforts, to keep us from grieving

for crosses. We should look at that which is for us, as well as

what is against us.
9-18 Hannah mingled tears with her prayers; she considered the

mercy of our God, who knows the troubled soul. God gives us

leave, in prayer, not only to ask good things in general, but to

mention that special good thing we most need and desire. She

spoke softly, none could hear her. Hereby she testified her

belief of God's knowledge of the heart and its desires. Eli was

high priest, and judge in Israel. It ill becomes us to be rash

and hasty in censures of others, and to think people guilty of

bad things while the matter is doubtful and unproved. Hannah did

not retort the charge, and upbraid Eli with the wicked conduct

of his own sons. When we are at any time unjustly censured, we

have need to set a double watch before the door of our lips,

that we do not return censure for censure. Hannah thought it

enough to clear herself, and so must we. Eli was willing to

acknowledge his mistake. Hannah went away with satisfaction of

mind. She had herself by prayer committed her case to God, and

Eli had prayed for her. Prayer is heart's ease to a gracious

soul. Prayer will smooth the countenance; it should do so. None

will long remain miserable, who use aright the privilege of

going to the mercy-seat of a reconciled God in Christ Jesus.
19-28 Elkanah and his family had a journey before them, and a

family of children to take with them, yet they would not move

till they had worshipped God together. Prayer and provender do

not hinder a journey. When men are in such haste to set out upon

journeys, or to engage in business, that they have not time to

worship God, they are likely to proceed without his presence and

blessing. Hannah, though she felt a warm regard for the courts

of God's house, begged to stay at home. God will have mercy, and

not sacrifice. Those who are detained from public ordinances, by

the nursing and tending of little children, may take comfort

from this instance, and believe, that if they do that duty in a

right spirit, God will graciously accept them therein. Hannah

presented her child to the Lord with a grateful acknowledgment

of his goodness in answer to prayer. Whatever we give to God, it

is what we have first asked and received from him. All our gifts

to him were first his gifts to us. The child Samuel early showed

true piety. Little children should be taught to worship God when

very young. Their parents should teach them in it, bring them to

it, and put them on doing it as well as they can; God will

graciously accept them, and will teach them to do better.

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