Sunday, August 15, 2010


Eli (עלי "to go up, ascend, climb") is the name of one of the last Israelite Judges before the rule of kings in ancient Israel.  He was also the main priest and trained the young prophet Samuel.

His sons (Hophni and Phinehas) were considered to be very wicked and were eventually struck down by God for the inreverence they showed in doing their priestly duties. God's judgment fell on Eli himself when hearing that Israel lost the Ark of the Covenant to their enemies. After he was told this he fell over in his chair and died.

Hannah, is the wife of Elkanah. He also has another wife Peninnah who bore children with Elkanah. Penninnah at every chance needles Hannah about her barrenness to the point that brings Hannah into deep despair. Her husband sees her distress and tries to uncover her deep despair with these questions.
"Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?" 
The story indicates that Hannah gave no answer to the questions and rose and presented herself before the Lord weeping bitterly in the temple. When she is found in the temple by the priest she is praying silently, but her lips are moving. The priest witnesses this odd posture and concludes she is drunk. In her despair she prays to the Lord for a child and if her prayer is granted she will give the son back to the Lord. After Hannah's explanation of her sobriety, Eli blesses her with peace and a guarantee that the God of Israel will grant her request. She went home ate and drank with her husband and was filled with hope. Subsequently Hannah becomes pregnant; her child is named Samuel. The time had come to offer the yearly sacrifice at the temple but Hannah stayed home. She promises to go with him to the temple when Samuel is weaned and planned to leave him with Eli to be trained as a Nazirite. The book of 1 Samuel 2 records Hannah's beautiful prayer to the Lord. She rejoices and exalts the Holy One, "There is none holy like the LORD [Yahweh,"[1]] therefore, the nation should rejoice also in this Holy One. This story of Hannah intertwines itself with the culture of the nation of Israel. Eli is the high priest of Shiloh, the last Israelite judge before the rule of the kings, therefore, the Shiloh tradition will become an old and lost tradition that,  when the prophet Jeremiah comes on the scene in the history of the Lord's people, he will seek to renew and to bring back the way of the Shiloh tradition to the people of Israel because the kings have become wicked and defile the temple and tradition of Yahweh.


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