1 Samuel 1:21 MEANING

1 Samuel 1:21
(21) And his vow.--Elkanah too had vowed a vow unto the Lord, in case his wife Hannah should have a son. It has been remarked that vows are characteristic of that particular age of the Judges; for instance, we have detailed accounts of Samson and Jephthan's vows, the oath in the Benjamite vow, &c.

Verse 21. - Elkanah... went up. When at the return of the year Elkanah went up as usual to Shiloh, Hannah remained at home, purposing to wait there till her son was old enough to be given to the Lord. This followed soon after his weaning, which in the East is delayed much longer than with us. In 2 Macc. 7:27 we find three years mentioned as the usual period of lactation, but the chief Jewish authorities make the time one year shorter. At three years old a child in the East would cease to be troublesome; but besides this, there was an order of women attached to the sanctuary (see on 1 Samuel 2:22), and probably regulations for the training of children devoted to the temple service. The yearly sacrifice, lit. "sacrifice of days," would include among its duties the carrying to Shiloh of the tithes which were to be consumed before the Lord (Deuteronomy 12:17, 18), and the payment of those portions of the produce which belonged to Jehovah and the priests, and had become due during the year. His vow shows that Elkanah had ratified Hannah's words, by adding thereto a thank-offering from himself. At Shiloh Samuel was to abide forever; his dedication was to be for his whole life. And when Elkanah prays, Only the Lord establish his word, it is evident that he and Hannah expected that a child born under such special circumstances would, like so many children of mothers long barren, be intended for some extraordinary work. The word of Jehovah referred to is that spoken by Eli in ver. 17, which contained not merely the assurance of the birth of a son, but a general confirmation and approval of all that Hannah had prayed for. In ver. 24 the Septuagint reads, "a bullock of three years old," probably on account of the one bullock mentioned in ver. 25; but as three-tenths of an ephah of flour formed the appointed meat offering for one bullock (Numbers 15:8-10), the mention of a whole ephah confirms the reading three bullocks. Probably the one bullock in ver. 25 was the special burnt offering accompanying the solemn dedication of Samuel to Jehovah's service, while the other two were for Elkanah's usual yearly sacrifice, and the thank offering which he had vowed. At the end of the verse the Hebrews reads, "And the child was a child," the word in both places being na'ar, which may mean anything up to fifteen years of age. The child really was about three years old, and the Sept. is probably right in reading, "And the child was with them." Both the Vulgate, however, and the Syriac agree with the Hebrew.

1:19-28 Elkanah and his family had a journey before them, and a family of children to take with them, yet they would not move till they had worshipped God together. Prayer and provender do not hinder a journey. When men are in such haste to set out upon journeys, or to engage in business, that they have not time to worship God, they are likely to proceed without his presence and blessing. Hannah, though she felt a warm regard for the courts of God's house, begged to stay at home. God will have mercy, and not sacrifice. Those who are detained from public ordinances, by the nursing and tending of little children, may take comfort from this instance, and believe, that if they do that duty in a right spirit, God will graciously accept them therein. Hannah presented her child to the Lord with a grateful acknowledgment of his goodness in answer to prayer. Whatever we give to God, it is what we have first asked and received from him. All our gifts to him were first his gifts to us. The child Samuel early showed true piety. Little children should be taught to worship God when very young. Their parents should teach them in it, bring them to it, and put them on doing it as well as they can; God will graciously accept them, and will teach them to do better.And the man Elkanah, and all his house,.... All his family, excepting Hannah, and her son Samuel; or all the men of his house, as the Targum; for only the males were obliged to appear at the three festivals:

went up to Shiloh; to the house of God there:

to offer unto the Lord the yearly sacrifice; either the passover, to which men commonly went up with their families: see Luke 2:41, or rather it may be what was offered at the feast of tabernacles, as Abarbinel thinks, the time of the ingathering the fruits of the earth, when men went up with their families to offer sacrifice, and express their joy on that account, Deuteronomy 16:10.

and his vow: which he had made between feast and feast; for whatever vows men made at home, on any account, they paid them at the yearly festivals; and this vow might be on the account of the birth of his son, by way of thanksgiving for that.

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