Some of the best gospel singing I ever heard was done by the Greater Shiloh Baptist Choir in Jasper, Alabama. Shiloh.
It’s a word that evokes Genesis 49:10 and the Messianic promise.
But, when I’m talking about Shiloh, I’m not talking about the North American Baptist choir, and I’m not talking about the Messianic prophecy. I’m talking about a place. A place that looked something like this.
This picture is a view from the grounds of ancient Shiloh. It’s the setting of the opening of I Samuel.
Chapter 1 opens with a story about the Hannah. It opens with a story about a woman and her prayer. That’s significant.
Hannah groaned. She didn’t whine. She didn’t pout. She was tough, and she went to the right source. Her hearts desires were fulfilled. Let’s see what we can learn.
Here are some questions that jump out at me about Chapter 1:
- Why did Elkanah have two wives? I mean, if he loved Hannah so much, why have another one? Did it have to do with child bearing?
- What did it mean that Elkanah gave Hannah a double portion of the sacrifice? What in the world would this have to do with BBQ? Why was this not very effective? Can you imagine giving your depressed wife a double helping of BBQ to “make it all better”?
- Which festival does this seem to be? Hint, I think it’s Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).
- Verse 9 – “the doorpost of the temple of the Lord?” – What are we talking about here? Isn’t this in Shiloh? Why a “temple” here?
- What is the significance of the title “Lord of Hosts” that is used repeatedly in this chapter? What might it have to do with the overall story and Hannah’s prayer?
- How is Hannah’s prayer a daring one? How would you describe it?
- What do you think about making promises to God? How was it viewed in the Old Testament?
- How does her prayer remind you of a story in Judges?
- Verse 13: Is there any irony that Eli would accuse Hannah of drunkenness? Do you know what happens with his sons?
- Verse 15: “Pouring out my soul before the Lord.” Can you think of a time when you did that? What happened?
- Hannah describes herself as a a tough woman. Do we think of the Bible as teaching women to be tough? To plead their case with God?
- What should we learn from Hannah’s prayer?
- What should we learn about God from answering Hannah’s prayer?
- What will become of the child?