Samuel I Ii
By the time we met Eli in the early chapters of the book of Samuel, he was already in the twilight of his tempestuous career as the penultimate Judge of Isreal. The nation was not in a particularly great shape, both spiritually and politically. Not that anything was intrisically wrong with Isreal only that there was a gaping vacuum in the leadership of the nation. As a leader, Eli had not been a roaring success. Perhaps because of his age, he was now over seventy years of age, he had become less active. This paved the way for his sons who had more or less taken over even though the old man was still the titular head of the nation.
Sadly, probably because their father had failed to groom them properly from the day they were born for the moment which had now arrived, Hophni and Phinehas were constituting themselves into a huge albatross on the people. They had become a law unto themselves. They got carried away, forgetting that leading and serving God's people demanded a deep sense of responsibility. They saw leadership as an opportunity to feather their own nests. They saw their positions as a license to gratify their fleshly desires. For instance, it was not unusual for them, purely by virtue of their positions, to help themselves to the most luscious among the women. They were thus abusing their offices. The Lord, seeing that the nation's problem was basically that of leadership, specifically sent people to Eli concerning the conduct of his sons. Surprisingly, the old man did not deem it necessary to take any strong action. He failed to rein in his sons. It was as if he was daring God.
It appears that it was at this point that the Lord began to look for a successor to Eli. However, it would appear that the Lord combed the whole country but could not find any. It was also probably at this point that the Lord decided to send one. First and foremost, however, a woman needed to be found who would be the mother of the next Judge of Isreal.
It must be realised that Hannah could not have been the only barren woman in Isreal at the time. However, the book of Samuel indicated that Hannah was a devout woman who presented herself before the Lord at all appropriate times. This was despite being married to a polygamist whose other wife made Hannah's life a hell. As it were and from all indications, heaven seemed to have zeroed in on her. This seemed to have prompted the Almighty to firmly shut her womb. This may have looked absurd but it seems this is the way God works. Only the Almighty would want to solve a problem by creating a fresh problem. There was a problem of leadership in Isreal but it seemed God was creating another problem by shutting Hannah's womb.
It seemed the plan was that Hannah would only be considered to be ready for the child when she got to the point of requesting passionately for a baby and vowing to give the child back to God. It appeared that God's intention was to plant the child in Eli's household so that he could be groomed by Eli. As God would not gatecrash into people's lives, He had to wait until Hannah was ready and willing to vow to give the child He would give her back to Him.
So when, one year at Shiloh, Hannah 'was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord and wept sore. And she vowed to........', heaven was agog with celebration because it was now certain that the woman was ready to receive her baby. Therefore, when Eli subjected her to a humiliating diatribe, accusing her of having a drink problem, as she prayed, little did he know that the woman kneeling before him would shortly give birth to his successor. How unfathomable the ways of God.
In the Eli household, Samuel, the child learnt fast. He was being prepared for his appointment with destiny. As an infant prophet, the Lord even had cause to send him to Eli who still failed to act. Therefore , when the old man and his sons fell, Samuel was able to slot into the vacuum with effortless ease.
Samuel's time as Judge was remarkabrelative stability. He was a consistent leader, well liked and respected. He was always counselling and correcting the people. He asked the people to put away their strange gods and prepare to serve the only true God. Militarily, Isreal achieved considerable successes as the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.
- Samuel I Ii
- Samuel I
- Samuel I Ii
- Ii Samuel 11 From The Holy Bible