Joy vs. Sorrow
Lesson 3 | Sabbath, 21 January 2023
“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4.
“If Jesus had not died our sacrifice and risen again, we should never have known peace, never have felt joy, but only experienced the horrors of darkness and the miseries of despair. Then let only praise and gratitude be the language of our hearts. All our lives we have been partakers of His heavenly benefits, recipients of the blessings of His priceless atonement. Therefore it is impossible for us to conceive the low and helpless state … from which Christ has raised us.” –In Heavenly Places, p. 36.
- Who was Hannah? What situation existed in her family?
1 Samuel 1:1-3 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite: 2And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. 3And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there.
“Elkanah, a Levite of Mount Ephraim, was a man of wealth and influence, and one who loved and feared the Lord. His wife, Hannah, was a woman of fervent piety. Gentle and unassuming, her character was marked with deep earnestness and a lofty faith.
“The blessing so earnestly sought by every Hebrew was denied this godly pair; their home was not gladdened by the voice of childhood; and the desire to perpetuate his name led the husband–as it had led many others–to contract a second marriage. But this step, prompted by a lack of faith in God, did not bring happiness. Sons and daughters were added to the household; but the joy and beauty of God’s sacred institution had been marred and the peace of the family was broken. Peninnah, the new wife, was jealous and narrow-minded, and she bore herself with pride and insolence. To Hannah, hope seemed crushed and life a weary burden; yet she met the trial with uncomplaining meekness.
“Elkanah faithfully observed the ordinances of God. The worship at Shiloh was still maintained, but on account of irregularities in the ministration his services were not required at the sanctuary, to which, being a Levite, he was to give attendance. Yet he went up with his family to worship and sacrifice at the appointed gatherings.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 569.
- What did Elkanah do to keep his beloved wife happy? What was the attitude of his second wife, Peninnah?
1 Samuel 1:4-8 And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions: 5But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb. 6And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb. 7And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. 8Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?
“Even amid the sacred festivities connected with the service of God the evil spirit that had cursed his home intruded. After presenting the thank offerings, all the family, according to the established custom, united in a solemn yet joyous feast. Upon these occasions Elkanah gave the mother of his children a portion for herself and for each of her sons and daughters; and in token of regard for Hannah, he gave her a double portion, signifying that his affection for her was the same as if she had had a son. Then the second wife, fired with jealousy, claimed the precedence as one highly favored of God, and taunted Hannah with her childless state as evidence of the Lord’s displeasure. This was repeated from year to year, until Hannah could endure it no longer. Unable to hide her grief, she wept without restraint, and withdrew from the feast. Her husband vainly sought to comfort her. ‘Why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved?’ he said; ‘am I not better to thee than ten sons?’” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 569.
- Where did Hannah go to pray? What did she solemnly vow to the Lord?
1 Samuel 1:9-11 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord. 10And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. 11And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.
“Hannah uttered no reproach. The burden which she could share with no earthly friend she cast upon God. Earnestly she pleaded that He would take away her reproach and grant her the precious gift of a son to nurture and train for Him. And she made a solemn vow that if her request were granted, she would dedicate her child to God, even from its birth. Hannah had drawn near to the entrance of the tabernacle, and in the anguish of her spirit she ‘prayed,… and wept sore.’” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 570.
- How did the priest misjudge the woman who was pouring out her soul to the Lord? What did Hannah reply to the priest’s rebuke?
1 Samuel 1:12-16 And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth. 13Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. 14And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. 15And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.
“Yet she communed with God in silence, uttering no sound. In those evil times such scenes of worship were rarely witnessed. Irreverent feasting and even drunkenness were not uncommon, even at the religious festivals; and Eli the high priest, observing Hannah, supposed that she was overcome with wine. Thinking to administer a deserved rebuke, he said sternly, ‘How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.’
“Pained and startled, Hannah answered gently, ‘No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.’” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 570.
- What shows that the priest changed his view of this godly woman? What was the meaning of the name that Hannah gave to her child?
1 Samuel 1:17-21 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him. 18And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad. 19And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her. 20Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying , Because I have asked him of the Lord. 21And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.
“The high priest was deeply moved, for he was a man of God; and in place of rebuke he uttered a blessing: ‘Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of Him.’
“Hannah’s prayer was granted; she received the gift for which she had so earnestly entreated. As she looked upon the child, she called him Samuel–‘asked of God.’ As soon as the little one was old enough to be separated from his mother, she fulfilled her vow. She loved her child with all the devotion of a mother’s heart; day by day, as she watched his expanding powers and listened to his childish prattle, her affections entwined about him more closely. He was her only son, the special gift of Heaven; but she had received him as a treasure consecrated to God, and she would not withhold from the Giver His own.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 570.
- What decision did she make regarding her child? How are promises made to the Lord to be carried out?
1 Samuel 1:22-28 But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide for ever. 23And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the Lord establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him. 24And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: and the child was young. 25And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli. And she said, 26Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord. 27For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: 28Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there.
Ecclesiastes 5:5, 6 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. 6Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?
“Once more Hannah journeyed with her husband to Shiloh and presented to the priest, in the name of God, her precious gift, saying, ‘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.’ Eli was deeply impressed by the faith and devotion of this woman of Israel. Himself an overindulgent father, he was awed and humbled as he beheld this mother’s great sacrifice in parting with her only child, that she might devote him to the service of God.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 571.
- What was the theme of Hannah’s prayer? How far did her praises extend?
1 Samuel 2:1-10 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. 2There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God. 3Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. 4The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength. 5They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble. 6The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. 7The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. 8He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them. 9He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. 10The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.
“Hannah’s words were prophetic, both of David, who should reign as king of Israel, and of the Messiah, the Lord’s Anointed. Referring first to the boasting of an insolent and contentious woman, the song points to the destruction of the enemies of God and the final triumph of His redeemed people.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 572.
For additional study
“Once more Hannah journeyed with her husband to Shiloh and presented to the priest, in the name of God, her precious gift, saying, ‘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.’ Eli was deeply impressed by the faith and devotion of this woman of Israel. Himself an overindulgent father, he was awed and humbled as he beheld this mother’s great sacrifice in parting with her only child, that she might devote him to the service of God. He felt reproved for his own selfish love, and in humiliation and reverence he bowed before the Lord and worshiped. The mother’s heart was filled with joy and praise, and she longed to pour forth her gratitude to God.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 571.