After Samuel was born, I rather fancy Hannah regretted the promise to share him. She named him, dutifully, after his origins in her prayer, her petition; but for years afterward she hid him in her bosom, as though God would never find him there. Back and forth Hannah walked in her mind, pacing the floor in the night when he cried with colic, hiding in the halls by day as though God were hiding in the sunlight, waiting to surprise her with her promise: “Hannah! You said he was mine!”
When her husband, Elkanah, went up to Shiloh to offer his annual sacrifice and all his household with him, Hannah hung back, pretending sleep, faking the flu, hugging the child to her breast like a shield. She said, “I will go when I have weaned him.”
—Rosalind C. Hughes, A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing (Upper Room Books, 2020)
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[Hannah] made this vow: “O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant but will 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,and no razor shall touch his head.”
—1 Samuel 1:11 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
God of infinite love, thank you for loving us even before we were born. Help us to realize that your family has room for each of us. Guide us to accept ourselves and others as we seek to grow closer to you. Amen.
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(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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