The prayer of Hannah (1 Sam 1:9-1:18)

“After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of Yahweh. Hannah was deeply distressed and prayed to Yahweh. She wept bitterly. She made this vow. ‘O Yahweh of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant and remember me. Do not forget your servant, but give to your servant a male child. Then I will set him before you as a Nazirite, until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants. No razor shall touch his head.”

After eating and drinking, Hannah went to the temple, where Eli the priest was sitting on his chair seat. Hannah wept and prayed for a son. If she had a son, she would dedicate him to Yahweh. He would be a Nazirite, never drinking or shaving his head, like Samson.

“As she continued praying before Yahweh, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying silently. Only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought that she was drunk. So Eli said to her. ‘How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine.’ But Hannah answered. ‘No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before Yahweh. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.’ Then Eli answered. ‘Go in peace. The God of Israel grant your petition which you have made to him.’ She said. ‘Let your servant find favor in your eyes.’ Then the woman went to her quarters. Her countenance was no longer sad.”

Eli thought that Hannah was a drunken lady because she moved her lips but no sound came out. However, Eli and Hannah had a conversation. Hannah explained that she was troubled not drunk. Then Eli told her that her petition has been granted. Eli acted like an oracle here. She then went away happy.

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