(A monologue based on 1 Samuel 1:4-20, 2:1-10)
It was in the days before our people had a king. Peninnah and I were both married to Elkanah. Oh yes, that was not uncommon in Israel. My name is Hannah, and I was Elkanah’s favourite wife. It was obvious to everyone, including Peninnah. You would think that would have made me happy, but I was deeply unhappy. Peninnah had given Elkanah several fine children, while I had not given him any. Peninnah regularly reminded me of this and said that God was punishing me for some reason.
The times when she was most rude were when we went to the place of worship at Shiloh to offer our annual sacrifices to God. We would always pray for God’s blessing. You can imagine what I always prayed for! But I remained empty in body and in my heart. Elkanah would try to comfort me, but it didn’t make me feel any different.
This time, I was so desperate about my situation that I couldn’t even eat. So after we had offered our sacrifices and come back to have dinner, I went back to the holy place by myself. Eli the priest was still there, but I didn’t care. I threw myself before the altar and wept and wept. “God why don’t you do something! Give me a son! If you do, I’ll even dedicate him to your service. He can come here and serve you all his life.”
I was so distraught, praying and crying, but I didn’t cry out loud. Eli saw me and thought I was carrying on so much that I must be drunk! Me? He came over and chastised me and told me to go home and sober up.
Well, I didn’t know whether to be embarrassed or angry. I told him that I had been pouring out my spirit to God, NOT pouring spirits down my throat. Eli apologised. He said “Go in peace” and even offered a blessing that God might answer my prayer.
I went home to Elkanah, and I actually felt a sense of peace. Without going into more detail than would be prudent, let me just say that in due time, as they say, I became pregnant and gave birth to Samuel. His name means “an answer to prayer.” I know you’ve heard of Samuel, because he became the priest who God used to choose young David to become the King of Israel.
When I found out I was having a baby, I was so full of joy that I burst into song about God’s goodness and power. They even published my song in that first book about Samuel. Imagine that?
I tell you, when God stirs something wonderful and new within you, you can’t help but sing.
Craig Mitchell, 2018.
May be used and adapted for non-commercial purposes in worship or education with author attribution.