Hannah and Peninnah were two wives of Elkanah who belonged to the levit’s family in the geneology of Kohath, the son of Levi. Elkanah lived in mount Ephraim( I Sam. 1:1, & I Chro. 6: 33-38) Peninniah had children but Hannah was barren. So hannah bore reproaches from Peninnah and relatives and others. She had a heavy heart always. Every year they go to Shiloh where the tabernacle of congregation was established, with their whole family to worship their great God. In those days Eli was the high priest and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas were priests, but Eli’s sons lived like belial.
As Hannah could not bear the reproaches, she decided to surrender to her God with a vow. She prayed to God to give her a son and in turn she will return that son to God in order to serve Him in His tabernacle, to remove the evil reproches upon her. (I Sam. 1: 10,11) God heared her prayer and vow and granted her request and the barren Hannah gave birth to Samuel, and after veaning period, she went to Shiloh with her whole family and fulfilled her vow by handing over the little child to the high priest Eli, and Samuel was growing in the tabernacle under Eli. In later years after Eli, Samuel became the prophet and judge of Israel, as sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas died in the war with the Philistians on the same day. We read in (I Sam. 2: 20, 21) Eli blesses Hannah, saying the Lord will retun the loan which Hannah lent to the Lord. Accordingly Hannah gave birth to three sons and two daughters after Samuel, and the Lord returned Hannah, five times the loan lent to Him.
Now let us understand the stand of Hannah, whether correct or incorrect, in making a vow to surrender her son, Samuel’s life for God? If she did not make a vow, she might be barren and bore the reproaches till her death. By making a vow to God, loving and righteous God accepted her vow and gave her Samuel and she fulfilled her vow by dedicating Samuel to the God of Israel willingly. Her reproaches came to an end and Samuel became a prophet and a judge of Israel, in the later years. His services to God and the people of Israel ware magnificient! By the vow of his mother did Samuel lose any thing? Practically No, but rather he gained much in personal life and in public life! But what was the after effect of Hannah’s vow and fulfilment of it? Hannah too received five times blessings for giving one Samel to God. Here one more thing is revealed that God was in need of a prophet and a judge as Eli’s sons disappointed God, became sinners and received judgment of God upon them and died both of them on the same day. Here Hannah came forward to offer her son to God’s service, if He gives her demand of a boy child, and to remove the reproaches of a barren lady. So God’s requirement was met with a voluntary offer, and a free will offer, of Hannah.
Now Hannah and Samuel give us their testimony as, if any one is barren and bears the reproaches, follow the steps of Hannah in making a vow, and fulfill it willingly and joyfully with out any hesitation. Loving and righteous God will accept your vow and take your son or daughter in God’s service and bless you many times, and at the same time bless your child and use the child in the later years as His Minister of New Testament. Neither you nor your child you gave to loving and righteous God are at loss, but both will be the gainers, in this world and also in the world to come (Heaven). So do not worry for not having a child, or do not go for medical help for artificial fertalisation, or do not go for adapting a child etc. as these are the ways and means of a non believer of a loving and righteous God, as God awaits some one volunerily come forward to give their child for God’s service. Perhaps God made you barren, expecting your willful offering of your child to Him, as in the case of Hannah! Because Jesus said in (Matt. 9: 37, 38) truly the harvest is plenteous but the labourers are few, and pray for more labourers, the Lord of the harvest may sent to harvest. So really God needs more ministers in the service of the Lord in the New Testament and the parents are requested to come forward as Hannah and be blessed, you and your child in this world and also in the world to come. Another important fact is that God does not take service of men by force, and He desires only service with free will and whole hearted. In (Exo. 25: 1,2) we read that God said to Moses to receive free will and whole hearted offerings from His people for making the tabernacle. In (I Chro.29: 17) we read, that king David and his people gave offerings willingly for building the temple of God by Solomon the son of king David. In (John 4: 24) we read that Jesus said that God is a Spirit and He desires that He must be worshipped in spirit and in truth. So God desires, willing and whole hearted offering and service with spirit and in truth, and never believes in compulsion or by force. In other cases, God calls people to come forward to serve Him directly. Moses, many judges, King Saul,King David and his heirs, Old Testament prophets, twelve disciples and seventy other disciples, apostles like Paul Barnabas etc. were called direcly by God for His service. But Samuel, Samson, John the Baptist etc. were not direcly called by God but through their parents, God selected them for His service. All glory to His Holy Name!