Hannah bowed herself before him. ‘May thy servant,’ she said, ‘find grace in thy sight.’

Then she went her way, and returned to the house in Shiloh where her husband was lodging. The sadness of her mind seemed to have vanished away like the mist of morning that falls in dew. She sat down to eat, and Elkanah saw that her face was changed, and was no longer wan and overshadowed with care; and he rejoiced, but said nothing. Next morning they rose early and, having worshipped at the Tabernacle, the whole company of them made ready to return home.

Hannah’s prayer was answered. The Lord remembered her, and a son was born to her, whom she called Samuel, which means, ‘Asked of the Lord’. And as she sat gazing into his fair, small, solemn face, or talking softly to him as mothers are wont to do, or lulling him to sleep, it seemed that her life was like a tree that has come to its blossoming, and she was at peace with all the world.

The day came again when Elkanah prepared for his yearly journey to Shiloh to bring his offering to the Tabernacle, and to keep the Feast. But Hannah remained at Ramah. ‘Be not displeased with me or take it amiss,’ she said to her husband, ‘if this year I do not come down with thee to Shiloh but stay here quietly at home. When the child is weaned and has grown a little older, I will myself bring him to the sanctuary and into the presence of the Lord, and he shall remain there for ever. As thou knowest, Elkanah, even before he was born I vowed to give him into his service. How could we ever be grateful enough for this blessing, and how can I ever thank thee for all thy love and kindness.’

Elkanah smiled at her and kissed her. ‘Do whatever seems best to thee,’ he said. ‘Stay with the child then until he is weaned and is of an age when thou thyself canst take him to Shiloh. And may the Lord bring everything about according to thy prayers.’

So with Peninnah and her children he set out on his journey; and Hannah in happiness and peace such as she had never known since she was a child at her own mother’s knee, was left alone with Samuel.

When he had been weaned and was old enough to need her care no longer, she herself made preparations to take him to Shiloh. For her offering she took with her three young calves, three bushels of flour and a bottle of wine. With a servant to protect and attend on her, mother and son set out together on this, their first and their last long journey together. When she was come to Shiloh she presented her sacrifice to the two priests, Hophni and Phinehas. And she herself with her small son was afterwards brought into the presence of Eli. He searched her face in vain; he did not remember her.

‘It is no wonder, my lord,’ she said, ‘that my face is strange to thee. But it may be thou wilt remember how in years gone by a woman came alone to the temple to pray and stood in thy presence. She was in great trouble and affliction of mind. And my lord, when he knew this, was gracious to her and gave her his blessing, and bade her go in peace in the hope that her prayers would be answered. Well, my lord, I am myself that woman, and am now happy beyond words to tell.’

Then Hannah took Samuel by the hand, and gently urging him on, presented him to Eli.

‘See, my lord,’ she said, ‘here is the child himself, my first-born, whom I vowed, if he found grace in thy sight, to give into thy charge and to lend him to the Lord. As long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And may he bless him even as he hath blessed me!’

Tears were in her eyes and her heart welled over with joy and gratitude. And the old man stooped and took the child by the hand, and kissed him and blessed him. And from that day forward Samuel was left in the care of Eli, and was a comfort to him. There he lived and there in a little room alone he slept. And he helped in the services of the Tabernacle, obeying the High Priest in all that he did. Child though he was, he was girded like the priests themselves with a tunic of fine linen and with a girdle of embroidered needlework; and, with Eli, he ministered before the Lord.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.