"Great Catch of Fish," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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1 Samuel 1:9-11, 19-20; 2:1-10 Commentary
by Roger Nam
A mother's prayer results in an unlikely beginning to kingship.
The monarchy of Israel begins with a narrative of despair and humility. Hannah, from Ephraimite country, is a childless wife, thereby making her one of the more excluded figures of ancient Israel. Unlike today, when the average child costs about $227,000 to raise, in a patriarchal, agrarian society, parents considered children as major financial assets to the families. They provided future labor from an early age, ensured the continuation of the family name, and guaranteed possession of the patriarchal estate. Children symbolized hope for the future well-being of the family.
So one can easily emphasize with Hannah's sadness, particularly as she had to share her husband with another wife, who already bore multiple sons and daughters. Hannah wept publically and plentifully. She cried so much that her husband gave her double portions to comfort her, and even pleaded with her, "Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?" (1 Samuel ...
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2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 049: Samuel
October 14, 2012
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Craig Koester for "I Love to Tell the Story," a weekly conversation on the narrative lectionary. This week's readings are: 1 Samuel 1:9-11, 19-20; 2:1-10, and Luke 1:47-55.