1 Samuel 1:3 this man went up out of his city yearly to worship
“’Yearly’—as has been inferred from the use of the same peculiar expression in Exod. 13:10—‘at the Feast of the Passover,’ the one above all others to which families as such were wont to "go up" (Luke 2:41), Elkanah came to Shiloh with his household for the twofold purpose of ‘worshipping’ and of ‘sacrificing’ peace-offerings according to the law (Exod. 23:15; 34:20; Deut. 16:16).” (Alfred Edersheim, Old Testament Bible History, chap. 1)
1 Samuel 1:3 to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in Shiloh
The tabernacle of Moses resided in Shiloh at this time. There were many centuries of time between the settlement of the Israelites in Canaan and the construction of the temple of Solomon. For most of this time, the tabernacle was in Shiloh not Jerusalem.
“Shiloh—a Sacred City of Palestine, 9 ¼ miles north from Bethel and 11 ½ miles south from Shechem, in the tribe of Ephraim (Josh. 18:1; Judg. 18:31). The tabernacle was here during the greater part of the period of the judges, and the place continued to be the religious center of the nation (1 Sam. 1:3) until after the loss of the Ark in the disastrous battle of Ebenezer.” (Bible Dictionary: Shiloh)
“While Samuel was the prophet and until the war with the Philistines, the ark was located at Shiloh (1 Sam. 1:9, 3:3); during the war it was taken to the battlefield called Ebenezer, where it was captured. For seven months the Philistines were plagued and severely smitten because of their unauthorized possession of the ark. This caused them to return the ark to the Israelites, which they did at the village of Kirjath-jearim. (1 Sam. 4–6.) Here it remained some twenty years, ignored by King Saul except for one battle when its presence had been requested. Finally King David brought the ark to Jerusalem, and after some years his son Solomon constructed the long-awaited temple.” (Edward J. Brandt, “Q&A: Questions and Answers,” New Era, May 1973, 50)
1 Samuel 1:6 her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret
Some have interpreted, “her adversary” to mean Peninnah, but her real adversary was Satan. Once he gets under your skin, Satan never rests; he burrows into the most sensitive places, making things worse wherever he can. This story is actually a beautiful illustration of one of Satan’s tactics. Whether making Latter-day mothers feel unworthy or convincing Hannah that she was worthless without children, the adversary is a proficient provoker!
“The most difficult aspect of infertility to overcome was the effect that it had on my feelings of self-worth. During those pain-filled years, I mistakenly felt that because I could not have children, I must be of no worth. The resulting depression and despair only made my feelings of worthlessness worse.
“Through prayer and scripture study, I learned that the source of my depression was Satan and that his influence can be overcome by going to the Lord for help and then acting upon the impressions received. One of the scripture study topics I felt to focus on was that of charity, the pure love of Christ. Learning about charity brought new insight, for I recognized a source of true and lasting self-worth—the love of our Heavenly Father and our Savior for us all. The more I studied about charity, the greater my desire to feel the pure love of Christ in my life, to know that he loves me even with all my imperfections and problems.
“What a glorious day it was when I knelt and asked if I was loved by my Heavenly Father and his Son. The joy that filled my soul as a result was indescribable. I understand now, to a greater degree, why Mormon tells us: ‘Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are the true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ’ (Moro. 7:48).
“What great motivation that divine love has been in my life to bring about change and improvement!” (Janet Nelson Christensen, “I Yearned for a Baby,” Ensign, Aug. 1996, 53, emphasis added)
1 Samuel 1:8 why is thy heart grieved? Am not I better to thee than ten sons?
“Motherhood was also held in high esteem by the ancient Israelites. ‘Give me children, or else I die’ were Rachel’s words to Jacob (Gen. 30:1); Samuel’s mother, Hannah, begged the Lord to remove her ‘affliction’ and give her a child (see 1 Sam. 1:11). As a wife and mother, a Hebrew woman was accorded utmost respect by her husband and children.
“Children were taught to ‘hear the instruction of thy father’ and to ‘forsake not the law of thy mother.’ (Prov. 1:8.) ‘Honor thy father and thy mother’ (Ex. 20:12) was more than a commonplace saying in ancient Israel; it was a command.” (Leland H. Gentry, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Dec. 1981, 60)
1 Samuel 1:10 she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord
No more beautiful prayers were ever uttered than those uttered by our mothers. I recall the prayer of Hannah. You remember Hannah who wanted a child and she went to the sanctuary to pray, but her prayer was not audible. Her lips moved, but she said nothing that could be heard, and Eli thought that she was intoxicated, and he reprimanded her, but then she convinced him that that which she was doing was not because of intoxication, but it was a prayer from her heart to God that she might bear a child. And how earnest she was in that prayer, so earnest, so sincere, that she said, "If God will give me this child, I will lend him to the Lord for this life." (See 1 Sam. 1:11.) How well the mothers know that life is eternal. How well she knew that in lending this child to the Lord for this life, that beyond and down through the ages of eternity, he would be her child, and she would be his mother. The Bible is full of great prayers and the stories of great prayers. (Conference Report, October 1953, Morning Session 107 - 108)
1 Samuel 1:11 I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life
“This was no idle appeal nor selfish bargain, since it meant Hannah would have only a short time to enjoy her child. Her pledge that ‘there shall no razor come upon his head’ (1 Sam. 1:11) apparently was a reference to the Nazarite vow, a promise to consecrate a man for either a temporary period of time or, as in Hannah’s prayer, his entire life. He would then be set apart in a special way to prepare to serve the Lord and fulfill his purposes (see Bible Dictionary, s.v. “Nazarite”).
"Since Hebrew mothers tended to nurse their children for about three years, Hannah would have been with her child only until weaning, when she would have taken him to the high priest at Shiloh. There he would receive his spiritual training, remaining forever in the Lord’s service (see C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, 10 vols. [n.d.], 2:2:26). Hannah’s vow would have required that she yield back to the Lord the one blessing she had earnestly sought—surely one of her greatest tests of commitment.” (Linda M. Campbell, “Hannah: Devoted Handmaid of the Lord,” Ensign, Mar. 1998, 46)
1 Samuel 1:24 when she had weaned him, she took him up with her
“Once Samuel was weaned, Hannah did not delay their separation but took him directly to Shiloh. The simple words ‘and the child was young’ (1 Sam. 1:24) portray the significance of Hannah’s offering to the Lord. How tender those few years with Samuel must have been as she ministered to his needs and nurtured his sweet innocence! What righteous mother could unclasp a hand yet so small and place it in another’s grasp? Only a mother whose every fiber burned with a sure knowledge of the one requiring such a sacrifice.
“The Spirit must have whispered of eternal bonds at the moment of separation, since Hannah declared to Eli, ‘I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord’ (1 Sam. 1:28; emphasis added).
“Even more revealing was Hannah’s song of joy in chapter 2. Instead of reacting with anguish or bitterness, she proclaimed, ‘My heart rejoiceth in the Lord,’ and she praised him for granting her the power to rise above the affliction of barrenness. She taught the key to power over afflictions by exclaiming, ‘because I rejoice in thy salvation’ (1 Sam. 2:1; emphasis added). Her total submission to divine will was honored by the Lord, and in a fulness of joy she bore solemn witness of him.
“Hannah then manifested a further gift of the Spirit when she prophesied of the future Messiah. In mentioning a ‘rock,’ she alluded to the one who would protect Israel against evil (1 Sam. 2:2; see also Matt. 21:42–44). Later, she testified of ‘his anointed,’ a reference to Jesus Christ, whose power would break to pieces all ‘the adversaries of the Lord’ (1 Sam. 2:10; see also Old Testament: Student Manual, Genesis–2 Samuel , 268).
“…As the Lord promises all his children, once a test is fully met, the blessings are then bestowed, whether in this life or the next (see D&C 58:3–4). Hannah was likewise blessed once the commitment to her vow had been fully tested. Not only did Samuel become a great prophet, serving the Lord all his days, but also Hannah’s yearnings for more children were fulfilled. Through Eli the Lord praised Hannah’s commitment to her vow, then blessed her with the promise of more children. Hannah was eventually granted three more sons and two daughters (see 1 Sam. 2:20–21). At last her cup truly overflowed with blessings of great joy.” (Linda M. Campbell, “Hannah: Devoted Handmaid of the Lord,” Ensign, Mar. 1998, 48-49)
“Hannah was blessed with three more sons and two daughters. What a beautiful illustration of the abundance of the Lord’s blessings to the faithful! She freely gave one child to the Lord and in return he gave her five more.
“The Lord had glorious blessings in store for Hannah, as she was to be the mother of a great prophet. But before Hannah could receive that blessing, her desire for a son had to become so intense that she would be willing to give him up to the Lord. Sometimes we are like Hannah; the Lord has to prepare us before he can grant our righteous desires.” (Arta M. Hale, “Lessons in Womanhood,” Ensign, Oct. 1973, 73)
1 Samuel 1:27 For this child I prayed
Ezra Taft Benson
Husbands and wives, as co-creators, should eagerly and prayerfully invite children into their homes. Then, as each child joins their family circle, they can gratefully exclaim, as did Hannah, "For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord: as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord." (1 Sam. 1:27-28.)
Isn't that beautiful? A mother praying to bear a child and then giving him to the Lord.
I have always loved the words of Solomon: "Children are an heritage of the Lord: and . . . happy is the man [and woman] that hath [their] quiver full of them." (Ps. 127:3-5.)
I know the special blessings of a large and happy family, for my dear parents had a quiver full of children. Being the oldest of eleven children, I saw the principles of unselfishness, mutual consideration, loyalty to each other, and a host of other virtues developed in a large and wonderful family with my noble mother as the queen of that home. (Come, Listen to a Prophet's Voice [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990], 27)