175 – June 24 – Following the narrative stories now jumps to 1 Samuel, the rise of the Kings
1 Samuel 1:1-20
Now there was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the highlands of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah. He was from the tribe of Ephraim, and he was the son of Jeroham son of Elihu son of Tohu son of Zuph. 2 Elkanah had two wives, one named Hannah and the other named Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah didn’t.
3 Every year this man would leave his town to worship and sacrifice to the LORD of heavenly forces in Shiloh, where Eli’s two sons Hophni and Phinehas were the LORD’s priests. 4 Whenever he sacrificed, Elkanah would give parts of the sacrifice to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But he would give only one part of it to Hannah, though he loved her, because the LORD had kept her from conceiving. 6 And because the LORD had kept Hannah from conceiving, her rival would make fun of her mercilessly, just to bother her. 7 So that is what took place year after year. Whenever Hannah went to the Lord’s house, Peninnah would make fun of her. Then she would cry and wouldn’t eat anything.
8 “Hannah, why are you crying?” her husband Elkanah would say to her. “Why won’t you eat? Why are you so sad? Aren’t I worth more to you than ten sons?”
9 One time, after eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah got up and presented herself before the LORD. (Now Eli the priest was sitting in the chair by the doorpost of the LORD’s temple.) 10 Hannah was very upset and couldn’t stop crying as she prayed to the LORD. 11 Then she made this promise: “LORD of heavenly forces, just look at your servant’s pain and remember me! Don’t forget your servant! Give her a boy! Then I’ll give him to the LORD for his entire life. No razor will ever touch his head.”
12 As she kept praying before the LORD, Eli watched her mouth. 13 Now Hannah was praying in her heart; her lips were moving, but her voice was silent, so Eli thought she was drunk.
14 “How long will you act like a drunk? Sober up!” Eli told her.
15 “No sir!” Hannah replied. “I’m just a very sad woman. I haven’t had any wine or beer but have been pouring out my heart to the LORD. 16 Don’t think your servant is some good-for-nothing woman. This whole time I’ve been praying out of my great worry and trouble!”
17 Eli responded, “Then go in peace. And may the God of Israel give you what you’ve asked from him.”
18 “Please think well of me, your servant,” Hannah said. Then the woman went on her way, ate some food, and wasn’t sad any longer.
19 They got up early the next morning and worshipped the LORD. Then they went back home to Ramah. Elkanah had sex with his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her. 20 So in the course of time, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, which means “I asked the LORD for him.”
Comment: thank you faithful Hannah – you model prayer, persistence, and praise.
18 On the next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James. All of the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, he gave them a detailed report of what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 Those who heard this praised God. Then they said to him, “Brother, you see how many thousands of Jews have become believers, and all of them keep the Law passionately. 21 They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to reject Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to live according to our customs. 22 What about this? Without a doubt, they will hear that you have arrived. 23 You must therefore do what we tell you. Four men among us have made a solemn promise. 24 Take them with you, go through the purification ritual with them, and pay the cost of having their heads shaved. Everyone will know there is nothing to those reports about you but that you too live a life in keeping with the Law. 25 As for the Gentile believers, we wrote a letter about what we decided, that they avoid food offered to idols, blood, the meat from strangled animals, and sexual immorality.” 26 The following day Paul took the men with him and went through the purification ritual with them. He entered the temple and publicly announced the completion of the days of purification, when the offering would be presented for each one of them.
Paul seized by the people
27 When the seven days of purification were almost over, the Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the temple. Grabbing him, they threw the whole crowd into confusion by shouting, 28 “Fellow Israelites! Help! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people, the Law, and this place. Not only that, he has even brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place.” (29 They said this because they had seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him earlier, and they assumed Paul had brought him into the temple.) 30 The entire city was stirred up. The people came rushing, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple. Immediately the gates were closed. 31 While they were trying to kill him, a report reached the commander of a company of soldiers that all Jerusalem was in a state of confusion. 32 Without a moment’s hesitation, he took some soldiers and officers and ran down to the mob. When the mob saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 When the commander arrived, he arrested Paul and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Only then did he begin to ask who Paul was and what he had done.
34 Some in the crowd shouted one thing, others shouted something else. Because of the commotion, he couldn’t learn the truth, so he ordered that Paul be taken to the military headquarters. 35 When Paul reached the steps, he had to be carried by the soldiers in order to protect him from the violence of the crowd. 36 The mob that followed kept screaming, “Away with him!” 37 As Paul was about to be taken into the military headquarters, he asked the commander, “May I speak with you?”
He answered, “Do you know Greek? 38 Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists into the desert some time ago?” 39 Paul replied, “I’m a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of an important city. Please, let me speak to the people.” 40 With the commander’s permission, Paul stood on the steps and gestured to the people. When they were quiet, he addressed them in Aramaic.
Comment: Paul lives out the sustaining presence of our Lord who said: I will be with you always.
9-11 I’m striding in the presence of GOD,
alive in the land of the living!
I stayed faithful, though bedeviled,
and despite a ton of bad luck,
Despite giving up on the human race,
saying, “They’re all liars and cheats.”
12-19 What can I give back to GOD
for the blessings he’s poured out on me?
I’ll lift high the cup of salvation—a toast to GOD!
I’ll pray in the name of GOD;
I’ll complete what I promised GOD I’d do,
and I’ll do it together with his people.
When they arrive at the gates of death,
GOD welcomes those who love him.
Oh, GOD, here I am, your servant,
your faithful servant: set me free for your service!
I’m ready to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice
and pray in the name of GOD.
I’ll complete what I promised GOD I’d do,
and I’ll do it in company with his people,
In the place of worship, in GOD’s house,
in Jerusalem, GOD’s city.
Comment: contrast the words of Paul in his farewell, to the words of the Psalmist.
Prayer: bless, O Lord, each and every day our going out into the ministry of our lives, and our return to you. Amen.