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Hannah Dedicates Samuel to the Lord
From the Hebrew Scriptures, 1 Samuel 1:10-17, 20, New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.
Hannah was a very religious woman. She spent her days praying and trying to serve God by being a good woman and good wife. She wanted to be a good mother, too, but she did not have children. This made her sad.
One day, she went to the temple, her house of worship, to pray to God for a son. She sat outside the temple, crying and praying. She prayed to God, reminding God that she was God's servant and wanted but one thing only. Then she made a promise. She said: "Oh, God Almighty, if you will only see my misery and remember me by giving me a son, then I will give my son to serve you, God, for all the days of his life."
A priest at the temple, Eli, saw her sitting outside. Because she was behaving strangely, he thought she was a vagrant. "Why are you hanging around the temple?" he asked. Hannah replied, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief, asking God to grant my prayer." Eli was moved by how earnestly she was praying and said, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him."
Several months later, Hannah gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, "Because I asked the Lord for him."
Baby Samuel lived with his family and they loved him very much. But when Samuel was old enough, Hannah made good on her promise to dedicate him to God. She took Samuel to the temple to live with the priests and Eli promised to take good care of him. Every year, Hannah and Samuel's father visited him at the temple. Samuel did not want his mother to be lonely, so he blessed her and prayed for her. She had more children, and was a good mother to them. Samuel, who had been dedicated to God, became a prophet of his people and a leader of Israel.