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  • Lit., made him a request to Jehovah. At the time of Eli, God was poor as far as the priesthood was concerned, so Hannah lent Samuel to the Lord. When the situation is abnormal, the Lord becomes poor with respect to His administration, and there is the need for someone to voluntarily lend himself to the Lord.

  • Meaning heard of God, or asked for of God.

  • Hannah’s prayer indicates that God’s move with His answer to Hannah’s prayer (vv. 19-20) was to produce a Nazarite who was absolute for the fulfilling of God’s desire. A Nazarite is one who is consecrated to God absolutely, one who takes God as the Head, considering God his Husband, and one who has no interest in the enjoyment of worldly pleasures (Num. 6:1-5 and notes). Even before he was born, Samuel was consecrated by his mother to be such a person.

  • On the human side, Samuel’s origin was his God-worshipping parents, especially his God-seeking mother with her prayer (cf. note 1 Sam. 1:51). In the midst of the chaos of degraded Israel, Elkanah and Hannah remained in the line of life ordained by God for His eternal purpose (see note Gen. 2:93b, par. 2). The line of life is a line that brings forth Christ for the enjoyment of God’s people (see note Ruth 4:181), that on earth God may have His kingdom, which is the church as the Body of Christ (Matt. 16:18-19; Rom. 14:17; Eph. 1:22-23), the very organism of the Triune God. Because of God’s moving in her, Hannah could not have peace until she prayed for a son. Hannah’s prayer was an echo, a speaking out, of the heart’s desire of God. It was a human cooperation with the divine move for the carrying out of God’s eternal economy. God could motivate Hannah as a person who was one with Him in the line of life. As long as God can gain such a person, He has a way on earth.

  • Some MSS read, house.

  • Lit., she.

  • Under Eli the old Aaronic priesthood had become stale and waning (1 Sam. 2:12-29), and God desired to have a new beginning for the accomplishing of His economy. For Samuel’s birth God initiated things behind the scenes. On the one hand, He shut up Hannah’s womb; on the other hand, He prepared Peninnah to provoke Hannah (vv. 5-7). This forced Hannah to pray that the Lord would give her a male child. Hannah’s prayer, in which she made a vow to God (vv. 10-11), was initiated not by Hannah but by God. God was pleased with Hannah’s prayer and her promise and He opened her womb. Hannah conceived, bore a child, and named him Samuel (v. 20). Hence, actually no human being was the origin of Samuel. God was the real origin, who motivated His people sovereignly and secretly.

  • The content of 1 and 2 Samuel is the history of Samuel, Saul, and David, which continues the history of the judges and which is a crucial part of the central line of Israel’s history. Samuel was a Levite by birth and a Nazarite by consecration, who became a priest, a prophet, and a judge. He initiated the prophethood to replace the waning priesthood in the speaking for God, terminated the judgeship, and brought in the kingship. Saul was a king among Israel in a negative way, and David was a king in a positive way.

    The central thought of 1 and 2 Samuel is that the fulfillment of God’s economy needs man’s cooperation in the principle of incarnation, as illustrated by the history of Samuel’s mother, Hannah, of Samuel, and of David, in the positive sense, and by the history of Eli and of Saul, in the negative sense. Such a cooperation is related to the personal enjoyment of the good land, which typifies the all-inclusive and all-extensive Christ (see note Deut. 8:71). First and 2 Samuel, as a continuation of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth, give the details concerning the enjoyment of the God-given good land. The types in these two books show us how the New Testament believers can and should enjoy Christ as their God-allotted portion (Col. 1:12) for the establishing of God’s kingdom, which is the church (Matt. 16:18-19; Rom. 14:17). These types indicate that our being right with God is a condition for our enjoyment of Christ. In 1 and 2 Samuel the good land enjoyed by those who cooperated with God became the kingdom of God, in which the cooperators reigned as kings. Likewise, in our cooperation with God we need to enjoy Christ to such an extent that our enjoyment of Christ becomes the kingdom of God, in which we reign in life with Christ (Rom. 5:17).

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