Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3587

Jump Start # 3587

1 Samuel 1:8 “Then Elkanah her husband  said to her, ‘Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”

  The book of 1 Samuel opens with the birth of Samuel, the one who would grow up and anoint the early kings of Israel. Samuel’s father, Elkanah, had two wives. That’s a problem. It created a problem. Peninnah and Hannah were the two women in his life. Peninnah had children. Hannah didn’t. Peninnah would irritate and trouble Hannah because she had no children. Elkanah loved Hannah.

  From our verse today, Elkanah asks a series of questions to Hannah. Why are you crying? Why are you not eating? Why are you sad? He seems to know that it is because she has no sons, but little is said about the rivalry and trouble that the other wife was creating. And, it seems that Elkanah did nothing to stop this trouble between the wives.

  Here are some things for us to consider:

  First, these Bible stories give us little glimpses into what all is going on. These pages from the past are not part of a novel or detailed story of these lives. They are bits and pieces that play a role in God’s eternal story. So, it is hard for us to fully understand things.

  Second, Elkanah seems to be oblivious to the trouble between his wives. And, years of bitterness, jealousy and putting on a good face, often explodes in anger and trouble. We see that with the older brother of the prodigal. He was so angry when the prodigal came home and the celebration that the father had thrown for him, that he refused to join them and he refused to acknowledge that the prodigal was his brother. Did all of that happen instantly when he learned the prodigal was back or was it years of resentment that finally surfaced?

  Thankfully, our laws do not allow a man to be married to two women at the same time. That will likely change some day with the culture that ignores God. But, blended families are very common. She had a first marriage and children. He had a first marriage and children. And, now they are married to each other and often have a child between them. Her kids. His kids. Our kids. Stir that around a bit and you have all the ingredients for favoritism, jealousy, and ill feelings. Some families work through it well and everyone loves everyone beautifully. Other families don’t do so well.

  Third, as Hannah prays silently and makes a vow to the Lord, the priest Eli watches her mouth moving but no words were being spoken. Hannah was praying in her heart. Eli assumed she was drunk. He scolded her. Had she been drunk, she had no business being at the temple. Eli assumed. Eli accused. Eli was wrong.

  And, how often do we see things and without all the facts make a conclusion about someone that is wrong? Eli thought the worst. His first thought wasn’t that she was praying. He thought she was drunk. Wouldn’t it be natural to find a person at the temple praying. But thinking the worst, rather than the best, seems to be the common direction of human nature. Eli scolded an innocent believer in God. She was feeling bad and now he only made her feel worse. Guilt is something that is always in supply. Laying it very thick, a person can feel so beat up and destroyed the terrible things others say about them.

 Hannah was kind in her reply to Eli. She defended herself and stated what she was doing. She didn’t counter attack Eli. She didn’t accuse him of falsely accusing her. The response of Hannah illustrates what we ought to do when someone has wrongly accused us. Be kind. Declare what you were doing. Leave it at that.

  Our Lord was accused many times. His response was very much like Hannah’s. And, that’s a great reminder for us. It is so easy to counter attack when we have been attacked. Hannah was doing no wrong and she knew that and that’s all that mattered.

  It is easy to think that people years gone by never had the stresses, troubles and hardships like we do, but they did. In many ways, their lives were harder than ours. Walk through any old cemetery and notice the number of graves of little babies who died just a few days or months after they were born. Many mothers died in childbirth. Cooking, cleaning, daily activities were a lot harder in years gone by.  These lessons remind us that family troubles are nothing new.

  Hannah promised the Lord that given a son, she would give him to the service of God. She kept her word.