Hannah and her husband, Elkanah, had been to the tabernacle at Shiloh to worship the Lord. And Hannah had prayed for a baby. Old Priest Eli had asked God to give her what she had prayed for. Back home at last, Hannah watched the children chase each other, playing games.
Hannah smiled at the noisy, out-of-breath children. She smiled at their mothers. She was finally going to be a mother too! And then one day Hannah’s baby boy was born. Hannah looked at her beautiful baby’s dark, curly hair and his cute little ears. She touched his soft skin and counted his tiny toes. Hannah named her baby Samuel because that name means “heard of God.” She had asked God for a son, and He had heard her.
The next year when it was time to go to worship the Lord at Shiloh again, Elkanah went, but Hannah stayed home. “I will wait until the baby can feed himself,” she said to her husband. “Then I will take him to the tabernacle. And he will stay there and serve the Lord.”
So when Samuel grew old enough to eat regular food, Hannah took him to the tabernacle, just as she had promised. “Do you remember me?” she asked Eli. “I stood here and prayed to the Lord for a son. He gave me this beautiful boy, and now I am giving him back to the Lord. My boy will belong to the Lord all his life.”
Little Samuel looked up at Priest Eli. He was not afraid to stay at the tabernacle with him. Even though he was still a little boy, he could help God’s leader, Priest Eli.
Hannah missed her boy very much! Now she looked forward all year to going to worship at the tabernacle. Every year Hannah took a new coat to Samuel. And every year Priest Eli would bless Hannah and Elkanah. “May the Lord give you more children,” Eli said.
God did bless Hannah and her husband. In the years that followed, God gave them more than she had asked for—three more sons and two daughters. They lived at home with their mother and father. But little Samuel lived at the tabernacle and helped Priest Eli.
Hannah missed little Samuel but she kept her promise to God. She had given her son to the Lord, to be Priest Eli’s helper. She would see him only once a year, when the family went to Shiloh again. But that was all right, because she loved the Lord and she was happy to have Samuel serve Him. Samuel was very special and Hannah always loved him.