8Elkanah and Hannah:Easy Reading EditionAugust 18–24DateBeing True to a PromiseSABBATH—AUGUSTSABBATH—DATE 18READ FOR THIS WEEK’S STUDY: 1 Samuel 1:1–2:26.MEMORY VERSE: “There isn’t [is not] anyone holy like the Lord. There isn’t[is not] anyone except him. There isn’t [is not] any Rock like our God”(1 Samuel 2:2, NIrV).USUALLY CHILDREN ARE KNOWN BY WHO THEIR PARENTS ARE. But,sometimes, parents are known by their children. Such is the case with Elkanahand Hannah. This couple did nothing unusual except have Samuel as their son.Elkanah and Hannah were not the first ones nor the last ones to have a childafter a long, long period of worry and prayer. If it had not been for Samuel, thesefaithful1 parents would have gone into history without being known, except byGod and the angels. But their wonderful child Samuel caused the memory ofElkanah and Hannah to be written down in the Holy Bible. So this couple, thoughdead, still speaks to us today.Most of the couples for study this quarter involve husbands who were leaders,prophets,2 or rulers. Most of us are not leaders, prophets, or rulers. But we canall be like Elkanah and Hannah. We may not have a famous child. But we canshow the same trust in God they did to bring the unusual out of the usual.THIS WEEK’S STUDY UP CLOSE: Elkanah and Hannah were a faithful couple. The Lord did a wonderful work in their lives. What can we learn fromtheir example?1. faithful—being true and loyal; being someone that others can trust and count on.2. prophets—men and women sent by God to warn us about what will happen in the future.53

Lesson 81Elkanah and Hannah: Being True toLessona PromiseTitleSUNDAY—AUGUST 19ELKANAH (1 Samuel 1:1–8)What can we learn about thekind of person Elkanah is from1 Samuel 1:1–8?“The father of Samuel was Elkanah,a Levite.3 Elkanah lived at Ramah, in[the hill country of] Mount Ephraim. Hewas a person of wealth and influence.4He was a kind husband. He was alsoa man who feared [obeyed] and honored God.”—Adapted from Ellen G.White, Signs of the Times (Oct. 27,1881), vol. 7, no. 40.Not much is said about Elkanah.He is somewhat in the background ofthis story. But a few points about himdo come forth. Elkanah truly seemedto love Hannah. He did what he couldto comfort her in her grief. He alsoseemed to be a faithful5 person whotried to obey the Lord.“Elkanah was not needed to servein the house of the Lord. But likemany other Levites during the time ofthe judges6 (Judges 17:8, 9), Elkanahwent up to the house of the Lord as acommon Israelite. He brought his owngifts to offer the Lord. He did this toencourage his neighbors and setthem a good example. Elkanah livedin the middle of an evil place. ButElkanah’s faith was very strong. Hewas not like Hophni and Phinehas,who were evil priests. Instead,Elkanah was faithful in his worship.He was faithful in giving gifts to theLord.”—Adapted from The SDA BibleCommentary, vol. 2, p. 455.But the way Elkanah acted towardHannah’s vow tells us just howunselfish he was. After all, that wasElkanah’s own son Hannah vowed togive to the Lord. Giving up his soncertainly would not have been aneasy thing for Elkanah to do.How did Elkanah answer Hannahin 1 Samuel 1:23 when she toldhim her vow to the Lord? DidElkanah have the right to refuse tolet her keep her vow? Numbers30:1–15.Ask yourself, which parts ofElkanah’s life can I copy in my ownlife? How can I show those traits7in the way I deal with others? Howcan I show those traits in my walkwith the Lord?MONDAY—AUGUST 20THE MARRIAGE (1 Samuel 1:4–8)As we saw yesterday, Elkanah wasclearly a faithful (true) follower of theLord. But his faith did not stopElkanah from marrying more than3. Levite—a Hebrew from the tribe of Levi.4. influence—the power to affect or change persons or things.5. faithful—being true and loyal; being someone that others can trust and count on.6. time of the judges—the period of time that began at Joshua’s death and ended when Saul became thefirst king of Israel.7. traits—qualities or features that make you who you are, such as being honest and faithful.54

LessonLesson18Elkanah and Hannah: Being True toLessona PromiseTitleone wife. Just because people practiced polygamy8 did not make itright—or good. God has given us thebest plan for marriage: one man andone wife. He knows what is best forus. When we fail to follow His plan, weopen the door for trouble to come intoour lives.(Pix #29)God’s plan for marriage is for a man to haveonly one wife. When we fail to follow God’splan, we open the door to trouble.Ellen G. White says that Hannahwas Elkanah’s first wife. WhenHannah did not have children,Elkanah took another wife. “ButElkanah took this step . . . because hedid not have enough faith in God. Andthe peace of the family was broken.Peninnah, the new wife, was jealousand narrow-minded.9 Peninnah carried herself with pride and rudeness.To Hannah, hope seemed crushed.To her life was a weary burden.”—Adapted from Ellen G. White,Daughters of God, p. 39.What other examples can youfind in the Bible of people who didnot have enough faith and goodjudgment? How did they fail toshow enough faith and good judgment? What were the results?As we all should know, we have“forgiveness of sins in Jesus”(Colossians 1:14; read also Exodus34:7; Psalm 130:4; Ephesians 1:7).Even our worst deeds have been forgiven. But the worse the deed is, theworse the results are. We mayreceive the promise of forgiveness forour sins. But the Bible does not promise freedom from the results of thosesins. And even if we do somethingthat is not against the law, we can stillsuffer from bitter results. Elkanah’scase is proof that this is true. So, wemust not fool ourselves into thinkingour own faith is enough to save usfrom our mistakes. We need to letGod guide us in all we do. Even thebest among us will show poor judgment without His wisdom.Think of a few examples in yourown life in which you did not showenough faith or good judgment.How did this cause bad results?What lessons did you learn thatcould help you not make the samemistakes again?8. polygamy—the practice of having more than one wife or husband at the same time.9. narrow-minded—not keeping an open mind about the beliefs, ways of life, and so forth, of others; prejudiced; not liberal.55

Lesson 81Elkanah and Hannah: Being True toLessona PromiseTitleTUESDAY—AUGUST 21HANNAH’S VOW (PROMISE)(1 Samuel 1:1, 6)What were the two problems thatHannah faced in 1 Samuel 1:1, 6?(Pix #30)Hannah means something like“Someone who is graceful.”10 Peninnahmeans almost the same as “the fertile11one.” How true sometimes names turnout to be! The Bible does not say thatElkanah loved Hannah more. But itdoes seem that way. But it is Peninnahwho gave Elkanah children. Hannah’sproblem is both the fact that she has nosons and that Peninnah has several.Elkanah and his family traveledto the place of worship every year(1 Samuel 1:3). What festivals12 inExodus 23:14–19 must all Israelitemales go to?The most joyous of these was theFeast of Tabernacles.13 It is probably tothe Feast of Tabernacles that Elkanahwent. He took his family with him. Buteven if they went on this trip for personal reasons, the time should havebeen a happy one. But Hannahbecame very sad. Maybe this isbecause Peninnah enjoyed teasingHannah about not having any children(1 Samuel 1:7).Hannah was very sad during the feast andprayed to God for a son.What was the nature of Hannah’svow in 1 Samuel 1:10, 11? Whatgave her hope that the Lord heardher prayer?The Bible makes it clear that Godanswered Hannah’s prayer (1 Samuel1:19). Hannah then had a son.Hannah’s story shows us the powerful effect that feelings can have on thebody. After Eli spoke with Hannah(1 Samuel 1:17), she changed howshe felt and acted. Before, she wouldnot eat, but now she ate. Before, shewas looking sad, but now her facewas full of joy. First Samuel 1:19shows that Hannah and her husbandrose early and worshiped the Lord. Thenext thing we are told, Hannah has ababy. Not just a child but a son, just likeshe asked the Lord to give her!10. graceful—having beauty of form or movement; having a pleasing manner; having a sense of what is rightor being kind to others.11. fertile—able to have a lot of children.12. festivals—days or times of feasting or celebrating.13. Feast of Tabernacles—a time of joy that celebrated the harvest or gathering in of the grain, olives, andgrapes at the end of the year. The word tabernacles refers to living during the feast in booths made of branches.This was a way of always remembering how the children of Israel once wandered in the wilderness before theyhad homes to live in.56

LessonLesson18Elkanah and Hannah: Being True toLessona PromiseTitle(Pix #31)God heard Hannah’s prayer and gave hera son.We might not always have such aclear answer to our prayers asHannah did. But what Bible promises can you depend on that helpyou trust in the Lord’s goodnessand care? What promises in theBible give you the kind of peaceHannah knew and felt in 1 Samuel1:18?Lord until she could keep her vow(promise) and leave her son there. So,she waited until she had weaned14him. Without modern refrigerators tokeep milk fresh, this was perhaps aslong as three years.“From Samuel’s earliest days,Hannah had taught her son to loveand honor God. She taught him toknow that he belonged to the Lord. . . .Hannah did not ask God to give worldygreatness to her son. But she prayedwith her whole heart that Samuelmight reach that greatness whichheaven values. She prayed that hemight honor God and bless his fellowmen.”—Adapted from Ellen G. White,Patriarchs and Prophets,15 p. 572.WEDNESDAY—AUGUST 22HANNAH, MOTHER IN ISRAEL(1 Samuel 1:20)(Pix #32)Hannah named her son Samuel.His name sounds like the Hebrewword for “God heard.” But the meaning of the name Samuel is related to“asked of God.” Hannah explains thename: “ ‘Because I asked the Lord forhim’ ” (1 Samuel 1:20, NIV). Hannahdid not want to go to the house of theHannah kept her promise to God. She tookher son, Samuel, to the house of the Lordto serve God.14. weaned—to get a baby or young animal, little by little, to stop drinking its mother’s breast milk.15. patriarchs and prophets—patriarchs were early Bible leaders, such as Abraham and Isaac, or other leaders of Israel, such as Moses; prophets are men and women sent by God to warn us about what will happen inthe future.57

Lesson 81Elkanah and Hannah: Being True toLessona PromiseTitleAfter the child Samuel was bornand weaned, Hannah kept her vow tothe Lord and brought her son to Eli.Hannah expected Eli to remember theevent that had taken place. At thattime Eli had told her, without knowingwhy she prayed, “ ‘May the God ofIsrael grant [give] you what you haveasked’ ” (1 Samuel 1:17, NIV). NowHannah reminds Eli, “ ‘I prayed for thischild, and the Lord has granted [given]me what I asked of him’ ” (1 Samuel1:27, NIV). How easy it might havebeen for Hannah to forget the vow shemade to God. She could have mademany excuses for not keeping thevow. After all, this was her only child!What reasons could Hannahhave used to make an excuse fornot keeping the vow?Read Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel2:1–11. What does it tell us aboutthe goodness of God? What important parts of the prayer mean themost to you right now in facingcertain personal situations?16THURSDAY—AUGUST 23THE FAMILY LEGACY (GIFT)(1 Samuel 2:20, 21)Hannah prayed for God to give hera son. Then Hannah made a vow(promise) to give her son to the Lord.And as we saw earlier, none of thiscould have happened if Elkanah hadnot agreed. Clearly, Hannah toldElkanah what she vowed (promised).Elkanah, too, saw the miracle17 of thebirth of their son. And as a man ofGod, Elkanah agreed to go along.What he did was proof of his faith too.Elkanah’s words in 1 Samuel1:23 have three important parts.Which words show his concern forthe happiness of his wife? Whichwords show his concern for hisson? Which words show his desirethat he and his wife be faithful18 tothe Lord?Giving up the child would havebeen hard no matter what. But something else made it even harder to giveup their son.What kind of people does1 Samuel 12:12–26 say that the boySamuel would be serving under?What were these men like? Howcould Elkanah and Hannah haveused this as another excuse not tofulfill the vow?No matter what Elkanah andHannah feared might happen, theykept their vow to God. Clearly theyhad to trust in the Lord. It might havebeen hard for them, but they did itanyway. The Lord rewarded their faith(1 Samuel 2:20). After leavingSamuel at the house of the Lord,Hannah gave birth to five more children (1 Samuel 2:21). The couple16. situations—the way things are as a result of things that have happened.17. miracle—an event or action that takes place only because God causes it to happen.18. faithful—being true and loyal; being someone that others can trust and count on.58

LessonLesson18Elkanah and Hannah: Being True toLessona PromiseTitlethemselves no longer appear in theBible. Their part in the story is over.But, of course, Samuel’s story is justbeginning. Through the faith of hisparents, a great leader in Israel(Samuel) arose. Truly, Elkanah andHannah are an example of the principle19 found in words written long afterthey were gone: “ ‘Blessed are thedead who die in the Lord’ ” for “ ‘theirdeeds [actions] will follow them’ ”(Revelation 14:13, NIV).Were you to “die in the Lord”today, what deeds would followyou? What does your answer tellyou about how you are living yourlife? What changes might you thinkabout making?FRIDAY—AUGUST 24ADDITIONAL STUDY: Read Ellen G.White, “Heaven’s Estimate [Value] ofChildren,” p. 279, in The AdventistHome.“What a reward was Hannah’s! Andwhat hope her example gives us to befaithful [true]! There are opportunities20 of great worth given to everymother. . . . If the mother fails in herduty to instruct, guide, and help herchildren do what is right, her childrenwill accept the evil and turn away fromthe good. Let every mother go often toher Saviour with the prayer, ‘Teach us,how shall we order [train] the child,and what shall we do unto him?’ ”—Adapted from Ellen G. White,Patriarchs and Prophets,21 pp. 572,573.DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: 1Elkanah and Hannah’s story is awonderful example of a faithful22 couple being rewarded for their trust inGod. What about examples that showfaithful people who do not seem to berewarded now in any positive (good)way? Why do you think this is so? Asa class, talk about such examples.What answers do you have? 2So many people have been so terribly damaged (hurt) by the way theirparents raised them. What promisesand hope can you offer to someonewho struggles to overcome the damage done to him or her in childhood? We all know stories of faithful parents who do their best to raise theirchildren right but suffer terribly whenthose children leave the faith. Talk honestly about this situation.23 What hopecan you share with one another?319. principle—a basic rule or standard of good behavior.20. opportunities—times or occasions that are right for doing things.21. patriarchs and prophets—patriarchs were early Bible leaders, such as Abraham and Isaac, or other leaders of Israel, such as Moses; prophets are men and women sent by God to warn us about what will happen inthe future.22. faithful—being true and loyal; being someone that others can trust and count on.23. situation—the way things are as a result of things that have happened.59

Lord."—Adapted from The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 2, p. 455. But the way Elkanah acted toward Hannah's vow tells us just how unselfish he was. After all, that was Elkanah's own son Hannah vowed to give to the Lord. Giving up his son certainly would not have been an easy thing for Elkanah to do. How did Elkanah ans wer Hannah