It’s time to get ready for our trip to the tabernacle at Shiloh,” Elkanah said to his wife Hannah one morning. “It’s almost time for the feast.”
Hannah smiled. “I’ll pack everything we will need,” she said.
Each year Hannah and Elkanah traveled to Shiloh to worship at the tabernacle there. But every time they went to Shiloh, Hannah felt a bit sad.
Hannah thought back to the early days of their marriage and how much she wanted children. But years had gone by and Hannah had not had any babies. Oh, how much she and Elkanah would love to have a baby.
Finally Elkanah and Hannah began their journey. The road was crowded with other families. And it seemed as if every family had children. How Hannah wished she had a child.
At Shiloh they worshipped in the tabernacle. When it was time for the special feast meal, Elkanah gave Hannah an extra serving. He wanted to make up for the child she didn’t have. Hannah closed her eyes tightly, but little tears leaked out.
“Hannah,” Elkanah said, “don’t be sad because you have no children. Isn’t having me better than having 10 sons?” he teased.
After the meal Hannah slipped away to the tabernacle. “O Lord,” she prayed, “if You gave me a son, I would give him back to You. He would serve You all his life!”
Eli, an old priest, watched Hannah closely. She hugged herself tightly and rocked back and forth. Her lips moved, but no sound came out.
The old priest was sure she had been drinking wine. “What are you doing coming in here drunk?” he demanded.
Hannah was shocked. “I’m not drunk!” she exclaimed. “I was just pouring out my problem to the Lord.”
Eli’s frown disappeared. “In that case, cheer up!” He smiled. “God has heard your prayer. May the God of Israel give you what you asked for.”
Hannah suddenly felt her great cloud of sadness disappear. “Oh, thank you! Thank you!” she said to Eli.
Hannah walked slowly back to Elkanah. Hannah just knew God was going to answer her prayer for a son! She couldn’t wait to tell Elkanah about her visit with the old priest. Eli had given her hope.